Here’s what the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion means for Hawaii

Most legal experts say the decision will not affect access to abortion in Hawaii.
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 11:57 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 24, 2022 at 4:39 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii is one of 16 states that protect abortion rights, which means the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will have no immediate impact in the islands, experts agree.

Colin Moore, HNN political analyst, points out that in 1970 Hawaii became the first state to pass a law decriminalizing abortion.

The state Constitution also protects the right to privacy. And while it doesn’t specifically mention abortion, the right to privacy is broadly interpreted to including protecting the right to an abortion.

“The right to privacy is often interpreted as including reproductive rights, sexual health rights,” Moore said.

The Supreme Court’s decision essentially leaves it up to states to decide whether they’ll allow abortions.

State Attorney General Holly Shikada called the ruling “disappointing and profoundly wrong.”

“Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, abortion care remains protected under Hawaii law,” she said. “In Hawaii, individuals have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies and futures; these decisions are profoundly personal.”

Moore added that most people in Hawaii support abortion rights.

“It has been a longstanding right here. It predates Roe v. Wade,” Moore said. “So I don’t see any possibility that that would change as a result of a change to our state Constitution.”

Onlookers have noted that the end of Roe v. Wade could establish Hawaii as a state where people from elsewhere seek abortions.

There is also concern that Roe’s death could mean other rights are in danger, including legal protections for same-sex couples.

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“There are a lot of things that were tied to Roe v. Wade, everything from rights to contraception to same-sex marriage. Those may be under threat, I don’t think immediately, but potentially they could be,” Moore said.

“But ... I don’t think they’re under threat here in Hawaii.”

He added the takeaway message for Hawaii is this: “As troubling as this is, it doesn’t affect anyone’s right to an abortion here. And you know, that I hope is the message that people remember.”

University of Hawaii Law Professor June Adrea Freeman said she was “disappointed but not surprised” following the ruling.

“We saw the Trump Administration putting in justices that were pretty much guaranteeing this result,” she said.

“So I think, for me, it would have been very naïve and optimistic to think that it might have changed or gone another way.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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