Hawaii to permit some nurses to perform first-trimester abortions

by Kaelan Deese, Breaking News Reporter | April 13, 2021 11:22 AM

[Read full article in Washington Examiner]. Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed legislation on Monday allowing some nurses to perform first-trimester abortions due to a doctor shortage.

The signed bill, HB576, "provides enhanced access to w

omen’s health care, particularly in rural areas and on the Neighbor islands where residents usually need to travel long distances and at high costs in order to get the medical care they need," Ige wrote in a Facebook post.

"It’s important to note that the legislation only allows the intentional termination of the pregnancy if it involves a non-viable fetus," the post continued.

The law will allow advanced practice registered nurses to prescribe medication that terminates pregnancies as well as perform aspiration abortions in the first trimester, a type of surgery in which a vacuum is utilized to empty a woman's uterus.

Under the new legislation, aspiration abortions can be performed at a hospital, clinic, or nurse’s office.

Several states allow these nurses to conduct first trimester abortions, including California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia.

“This act will enable people who desperately need reproductive healthcare services to receive healthcare from very high-quality healthcare providers, including advanced practice registered nurses, where they need it, when they need it, and ... in their own communities,” director of the Hawaii State Center for Nursing Laura Reichardt said during the bill signing ceremony.

A majority of testimony to the legislature was in support of the measure, aside from a minority of right-to-life groups who have historically opposed abortion more broadly in the state.

The Hawaii Life Alliance, an affiliate of the National Right to Life nonprofit organization, opposed the measure. The group raised concerns about patient safety and an absence of a framework to ensure parental permission for minor patients, the group told Civil Beat.


Hawaii became the first state to allow abortion at a woman's request in 1970.

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