After end of Roe v. Wade, broad coalition seeks to expand abortion access in Hawaii

Ever since the overturn of Roe v Wade, a group of more than 50 stakeholders have been meeting to talk about the problems with reproductive care in Hawaii.
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:33 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 23, 2022 at 5:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Khara Jabola-Carolus is part of a new coalition called the Hawaii Abortion Collective that’s trying to shed light on the lack of abortion care access in Hawaii.

The executive director of the state Commission on the Status of Women says it’s one of the first times that she’s seen the faith, medical and advocacy community come together to improve access to reproductive health care.

A related mission: Helping to overcome the the stigma of abortions.

“When you find out that you’re pregnant and you know that for whatever reason you can’t continue the pregnancy, it is one of the heaviest moments and lowest moments of your life,” said Jabola-Carolus.

“We bury girls and women under all the shame, guilt and secrecy,” said Jabola-Carolus.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade in June sent decisions about abortion rights to the states. While abortion is legal in Hawaii, doctors say the decision exposed gaps in care.

“We mostly have abortion providers here on Oahu, on Maui and on the Hilo side of the Big Island so for anyone who lives anywhere else they have to have the means to travel,” said Dr. Shandhini Raidoo, an obstetrician/gynecologist. “I think that can be a really big problem.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, has convened roundtable discussions on the issue.

“There’s been fear and confusion even in Hawaii,” said Hirono.

“There’s been an increase in the number of requests for permanent sterilization on the part of women, vasectomies and for long-term contraceptive devices such as IUDs,” she added.

State. Rep. Linda Ichiyama says lawmakers and stakeholders are supporting the unveiling of a resource guide next week to help women and girls access reproductive health care.

“I think that’s so important, especially when there are questions over what does Medicaid cover,” she said. “If I’m on a neighbor island and I have to travel, will it cover those costs, and the answer is yes. They will cover those costs.”