Hawaii Governor David Ige has issued an executive order protecting women who travel to the islands for abortion as well as abortion providers from prosecution in other states where abortion has been restricted or criminalized.
As abortion tourism to Hawaii is unlikely considering the costly and lengthy journey from the U.S. mainland and no U.S. state has laws that would punish a mother for seeking abortion when enforced, the move appears to be largely symbolic.
“We will not cooperate with any other state that tries to prosecute women who receive abortions in Hawaii,” the governor said during a press event on October 11. “And we will not cooperate with any other state that tries to sanction medical professionals who provide abortions in Hawaii.”
“We are going to work continuously to ensure that we have access, especially on our Neighbor Islands,” said Hawaii State Rep. Linda Ichiyama, who also spoke at the press conference. “And that our sisters, our daughters and our granddaughters deserve to grow up in a world where they have more rights, not less.”
Governor Ige has also requested that the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer affairs coordinate with the physician’s board of professional licensure to protect Hawaii’s abortionists.
Ichiyama said that medical professionals licensed in multiple states might otherwise face a loss of their license for performing abortions in Hawaii.
“When we have medical professional doctors and nurses that are licensed in multiple states, if they, for some reason, are sanctioned or disciplined in another state like Texas or Arkansas … that disciplinary action on their license could have affected their license and ability to practice in Hawaii,” she said.
As the Live Action Network noted, Hawaii’s lawmakers have aggressively pursued protections for abortion access in recent years; in 2021, the state legislature passed a bill that would allow non-abortionists to perform abortions, for example.
Meanwhile, Hawaii Senator Maize Hirono (DA) recently declared a “call to arms” against the pro-life movement.
“When I hear my colleagues talking about how, you know, it should be states’ rights, or government should not be telling us what to do, the word ‘hypocrites,’ it doesn’t even go far enough to call them out on what they’re doing,” she said while giving remarks on the Senate floor in the wake of the Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe v Wade.
“This is an outright attack on women in this country,” she continued. “That is how I see it. That is how more and more women and those who support our right to make decisions about our own bodies, that is how we see it,. And why? Because that’s what’s happening….clearly, you know, this is a — literally call to arms in our country…”
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