HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Govenor Ige signed a new law Monday that expands abortion services in the state.
House Bill 576 allows Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to prescribe medication to end a pregnancy. They can also perform aspiration abortions, a type of minor surgery.
The law is in response to Hawaii’s doctor shortage. Most Hawaii physicians who perform abortions are on Oahu. which limits healthcare options on the neighbor islands.
Gov. Ige said the bill is specifically for abortions of non-viable fetuses. Viable fetuses are not included in the bill.
“The bill holds APRNS to the same standards as licensed physicians and surgeons,” Ige said.
Advocates for the measure say it helps ensure treatment for those who need it.
“A woman called our office on Oahu several times to try to make an appointment,” Dr. Reni Soon, a family planning practitioner said. “She had a medical condition where pregnancy was endangering her health and she was concerned about COVID exposure when she traveled.”
“(She) was worried about COVID when returning home, and as a mom with kids depending on her, she couldn’t afford that. She never came to Oahu for her treatment and I don’t know if she ever got the healthcare that she needed. This law will help make that a reality,” Soon added.
The bill was opposed by right to life groups, who say women need more options other than abortion.