In a historic proposition, the lawmakers of Hawaii have advanced a bill, demanding an exclusive permit for nurses to perform abortions. The bill has been extolled by the medical community worldwide. The House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee’s decision, pending on March 11, 2021, will now advance the highly lauded legislation to the full state House for further consideration. The Hawaiian court’s affirmation will open avenues for nurses to broaden their scope of knowledge, skills as well as potential, at large. Furthermore, the bill will ameliorate the financial condition of nurses in Hawaii.
The progressive bill will sanction advanced practice-registered nurses to terminate pregnancies by exclusive medications or aspiration, a highly-advanced medical procedure that makes use of suction to carry out the termination. The right to abort and the ways to access abortion facilities have been the subject of extensive deliberation in recent history. However, with advancements in medical science and the indispensable labor of nurses and doctors, abortion has become relatively accessible. The proposed bill by the Hawaiian lawmakers asserts that the concerned nurses must possess prescriptive authority, a verified license, and a specialization in the related medical practice to conduct abortions.
Hawaii has legalized abortions as early as the 1970s, however, the limited availability of abortion facilities in several regions of the state renders many helpless. The lack of exposure also entails women in need of an abortion to travel long distances for the highly risky and complicated procedure. If the Hawaiian judicial body approves the bill, the state would be a part of the pre-existing twelve states in the United States which have passed the extremely progressive bill. A recent study conducted in a span of six years by the University of California, San Francisco suggested that first trimesters abortions conducted by nurses produced safe results. This further fortifies the lawmakers’ claim that is yet to be approved.
However, the bill has been met with a plethora of criticisms by several parties in Hawaii. Hawaii Life Alliance has publicly opposed the highly controversial bill, citing the bill’s potential possibility to amplify the rate of abortions in the state, as a genuine concern. The organization has released a testimony stating, “We strongly urge you to prevent this from happening by making it clear that it is not within the scope or independence of practice of lower health care professional to provide abortion”. The bill must brave through the criticisms, one at a time, to be approved into law.
The proposition has gained the support of many, including the likes of Planned Parenthood, which voiced their support, stating the plight of women in Maui who have access to an abortion specialist merely twice every month, who would have to be brought in from another island. The organization further highlighted the limited availability of abortion centers in Hawaii. Currently, Hawaii houses only one abortion provider. In its testimony, Planned Parenthood has publicly asserted, “Being forced to travel, particularly by air or by ferry, to reach care can be an insurmountable barrier for people who already face systemic barriers to care, especially survivors of intimate partner violence, people of color, people with low incomes, people who live in rural communities and young people”. The proposition has opened doors for further conversation regarding women’s plight in matters concerning child-birth and pregnancy. The Hawaiian lawmaker’s bill is no short of a symbol of hope for women as well as nurses worldwide.