HONOLULU (KHON2) — Legal experts said Hawaii will see minimal if any immediate impacts from the possible U.S. Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, but the long-term effects are yet to be determined.
The Hawaii Legislature voted to legalize abortions in 1970, a law in place even before the 1973 Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision. The ACLU Hawaii Legal Director Jongwook Kim said it is a law that will remain in place even if the federal right to access an abortion is overturned.
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Kim said, “The immediate impact on access to abortions here in Hawaii is fairly minimal if not, non-existent, just because again Hawaii has strong protections currently.”
But in this mid-term election year, abortion remains a political issue. The Publican Party State Chair Lynn Finnegan anticipates it becoming a part of this year’s campaign platform for candidates.
Finnegan said, “A decision like that should be done from the legislative branch and not the judiciary, so I am in agreement with the supreme court should they make this decision, and I think it’s the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, Democrat State Senator Rosalyn Baker said now more than ever, voters must advocate for the right to choose especially for the states in danger of losing access to an abortion.
“I grew up in the state of Texas, and they don’t have those rights there,” Baker said. “And so what’s going to happen to somebody who is a victim of incest, somebody who’s been raped, somebody who just can’t afford to have another child.”
But even if Hawaii state laws continue to protect a woman’s right to choose, a possible overturn of Roe v. Wade from the SCOTUS could open a can of worms, with possible implications on other decisions that are too considered settled.
Hawaii Pacific University Professor of Communication Dr. John Hart said, “In this draft, it directly attacks several other rights to privacy cases that would have direct impacts, such as same sex marriage cases several, other cases like that.”
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An overturn of Hawaii’s abortion laws would require an about-face from the state legislature. Hart said that is unlikely to happen.