The first anti-abortion bill in 20 years was heard today by the state legislature in a standing-room only committee room.
House Bill 1184 mandates that all infants born alive would receive reasonable life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatment. Supporters of the bill, like Rita Kama-Kimura, lined up to testify.
“The abortion has already been performed. We are not talking about the rights of a woman and what she does with her body. The abortion she requested has already been carried out. The end result was the miraculous birth of an independent life, a human child.”
But, Hawai’i Women’s Coalition co-chair, Ann Freed, strongly opposed the bill.
“This is an attempt to solve a non-problem. It doesn’t happen. It doesn’t exist. But, what is notably absent from these types of discussions around abortion – any kind of abortion – or any kind of birth control, is that the woman, herself, is absent from these discussions.”
More than 360 written testimonies were submitted to the House Health Committee, with strong opposition from doctors and medical service providers. But, more bill supporters showed up at the hearing with emotional pleas, like Seth Jeremiah.
“I don’t care if the mother if the mom chose to abort the baby or not. It was born and it’s a life now and you need to take care of it.”
House Majority Leader, Della Au Belatti, supported a decision to hold the bill in committee and not advance it.
“There’s an implication by this bill, that perhaps, healthcare providers act callously in a criminal manner when they are delivering care and medical treatment. The very real concern of criminalizing healthcare that this is an arena in which, if we do tread, we tread carefully.”
The introducer of the bill, Republican
Minority Leader, Representative Gene Ward, reviewed the opposition testimony and conceded defeat.
“I vote ‘aye’ but the votes for that are not here.”
House Health Committee chair, John Mizuno, thanked the House leadership for allowing the bill to be heard.
“It’s very controversial but I’m glad we had the discussion.”
House Bill 1184 will not advance this session. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.