Hawaii Lawmakers Push for a “Reproductive Rights Awareness Week”

Judiciary approves Emergency Contraceptive bill during proposed women’s reproductive rights awareness week

Representative Cindy Evans, along with the support of other state lawmakers, has introduced a resolution (HCR 12) that would declare a “Reproductive Rights Awareness Week” in Hawaii.  The resolution would apply to the week beginning Jan. 22, coinciding with the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

Co-sponsoring the resolution are Reps. Cindy Evans, Della Au Belatti, Tom Brower, Pono Chong, Isaac Choy, Denny Coffman, Faye Hanohano, Bob Herkes, Linda Ichiyama, Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Chris Lee, Marilyn Lee, Sylvia Luke, Barbara Marumoto, Angus McKelvey, Dee Morikawa, Mark Nakashima, Marcus Oshiro, Karl Rhoads, Scott Saiki, Calvin Say, Roy Takumi, Cynthia Thielen, Jessica Wooley, Kyle Yamashita, and Joe Souki.

“We want to encourage public awareness, conversation, and support for women’s reproductive rights,” said Rep. Cindy Evans, the primary introducer of the resolution. “It’s important that all women have access to family planning services, including contraception, prenatal care, and comprehensive reproductive health education. When it comes to decisions on contraception and abortion, it’s a personal matter that should be decided by women with their families, health care providers, or clergy members.”

The resolution states that when pregnancies are planned, women and their partners are more likely to maintain positive health behaviors, but nearly 45 percent of all pregnancies are unintended in Hawaii. It also states that contraception enables women to better prevent unintended pregnancies and plan for pregnancy when they want to have a child, and publically funded contraceptive services and supplies could prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions.

Similar resolutions are being introduced in 14 other states. The push to establish Reproductive Rights Awareness Week in states around the U.S. is led by the Center for Women Policy Studies, based in Washington, D.C.

During the week of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the House Committee on Judiciary passed out a measure (HB127) that would require hospitals and health care providers to provide information about emergency contraception to women who have been sexually assaulted, and to dispense the medication when requested.

“It’s ethically and morally imperative that we provide all women, especially sex assault survivors, with the nationally accepted standard of care,” Rep. Evans said about the approval of the emergency contraceptive bill. “Victims should be given all the basic information and choices available to them. This is a human rights issues and I hope this measure moves forward so that we can provide access to all victims.”

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