Top Democratic candidates for governor support strengthening Hawaii’s abortion law

Democratic candidates for governor blasted the ruling; one Republican candidate issued a statement in support.
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 5:29 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 25, 2022 at 1:03 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The leading Democratic candidates for governor pledged to support strengthening Hawaii’s abortion law while the leading Republican candidates remained mostly quiet after Friday’s Supreme Court decision.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green says he’s disgusted by ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Women all across the country and I hope men will join them need to protest this decision,” said Green.

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, who is in Washington, D.C., said police lines and barricades are up as thousands either protest or celebrate the ruling. He said people should remember Hawaii Gov. John Burns’ decision allowing Hawaii’s abortion legislation to become law without his signature in 1970.

“He was a devout Catholic, but he didn’t allow his personal religious beliefs which were opposed to abortion get in the way of his duties,” said Kahele.

Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano says she remembers the days before the 1973 Roe v Wade decision.

“There were women who bled to death because of botched abortions. It’s not something we should every consider going back to,” said Cayetano.

HNN asked the Democratic candidates what their message is to those who consider Friday’s decision a victory.

“I believe in a women’s right to choose. They should have that opportunity in private with their partner to consult with her physician make their own choices,” said Kahele.

Cayetano replied, “If you are opposed to it, that’s fine and it’s something that you should live by, but you cannot impose that on others.”

Meanwhile, Green said, “They should do what they believe, but other people should not have their rights diminished by anyone and not at all by the Supreme Court.”

This year, state lawmakers considered bills clarifying Hawaii’s abortion law. But those bills didn’t pass.

Abortion rights advocates now say Hawaii should consider a constitutional amendment specifically guaranteeing abortion access. The candidates agree.

“We must do everything that the women in our state have their reproductive rights protected at all time,” said Cayetano.

Green added, “I was the chairperson of health for more than a decade, not a single bill ever got near passing that would erode a woman’s right to chose.”

And Kahele said: “What will be next is going after contraceptives. What will be next is going after same sex marriages.”

Hawaii News Now reached out to the leading GOP candidates; Duke Aiona, BJ Penn and Heidi Tsuneyoshi.

By early evening, only Aiona responded with a statement: “I have always supported life from conception to death,” he said. “In Hawaii, our laws regarding abortion are clear and the Dobbs decision will not have any effect on our abortion laws.”

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