(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi island residents rallied in Hilo early Friday evening in protest of Friday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and ending the constitutional right to abortion.
State law in Hawaiʻi already protects the right of individuals to seek abortion care, officials say. However, residents like Shannon Matson – a co-organizer for the Hawai’i Island Women’s March – have been preparing for the “Decision Day Protests” since the draft Supreme Court decision was first exposed.
“Through experiencing numerous miscarriages I have found healing and solidarity in standing up for all of our reproductive healthcare freedom and choice,” Matson said in a written statement ahead of Friday’s demonstration fronting the Kamehameha Statue. “Ultimately while this SCOTUS decision is devastating I am hopeful that it will motivate people to be more politically active and get involved in working towards expanding the Supreme Court, and electing pro-Choice leaders. We still have much work to do here in Hawai’i to ensure safe and accessible abortions are available for anyone who may need them.”
Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige, a Democrat, said the “extreme US Supreme Court ruling is outrageous and a huge step backward for women’s rights.”
“Despite the ruling, I can assure you that women in Hawaiʻi will continue to have access to the healthcare they need, and that includes abortion,” the Governor stated. “Hawaiʻi law already protects the right of individuals to make their own deeply personal reproductive health decisions, including the right to seek abortion care. I will do everything in my power to ensure that women retain control over their own reproductive choices.”
The office of the Hawaiʻi Attorney General backed the Governor’s statement.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s deeply disappointing and profoundly wrong decision today strips away a fundamental right, causing immediate and devastating consequences for those seeking access to safe reproductive health care,” said Gary Yamashiroya, the Special Assistant to the Attorney General.
“Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, abortion care remains protected under Hawaiʻi law,” Yamashiroya said. “In the State of Hawaiʻi, individuals have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies and futures; these decisions are profoundly personal. The Department of the Attorney General will continue its work in the fight to protect and strengthen reproductive rights.”
Pro-life advocates in Hawaiʻi are also sharing their feelings on the SCOTUS decision. For example, this statement from Hawaiʻi Family Forum President Eva Andrade was released today:
“Since our establishment in 1998, Hawaii Family Forum has had an unwavering commitment to build a society that strengthens marriages and families while supporting the medical and resource centers that serve women facing an unplanned pregnancy. The decision made by the court today is only the beginning. The pro-life movement must continue to work to protect life as a basic human right for every single life, born and unborn.
“In Hawaii, state law establishes an affirmative right to abortion even now that Roe is overturned so the battle is not over for us. While we are grateful for the work of all those across the nation who have stood beside mothers and children, from churches and pregnancy resource and medical centers, social service organizations that promote life, and to the legislature and courts of law, we acknowledge there is still much work to be done.”
“Instead of fanning the flames of division in the community, we all must work towards healing wounds and for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue. We need to practice radical love and compassion toward expecting mothers who are in difficult situations. Churches and their members need to offer help and hope to abortion-vulnerable women and men. We must encourage donations to pregnancy resource and medical centers that offer resources to pregnant women who choose to keep their babies, give directly to mothers in need, or simply walk with those that are hurting by providing the resources they need the most.
“We must also speak the truth in love about the unborn and create a culture of deep care for all life. Debates surrounding this issue will become more intense, and we need to be equipped with the facts and prepared to always advocate for the sanctity of life, as always, in a spirit of charity and aloha.”