HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an executive order Tuesday that aims to prevent other states from punishing their residents who get an abortion in the islands and stop other states from sanctioning local doctors and nurses who provide such care.
“We will not cooperate with any other state that tries to prosecute women who receive abortions in Hawaii. And we will not cooperate with any other state that tries to sanction medical professionals who provide abortions in Hawaii,” Ige, a Democrat, said at a news conference.
Ige is the latest Democratic governor to take such a step in response to conservative states that have adopted bans and tight restrictions on abortion. The push for more abortion restrictions accelerated after the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade which had guaranteed a federal right to abortion for nearly 50 years.
Hawaii law allows abortion until a fetus would be viable outside the womb. After that, it’s legal if a patient’s life or health is in danger. The state legalized abortion in 1970, when it became the first in the nation to allow the procedure at a woman’s request.
Hawaii officials don’t expect many people will travel to the islands solely to get abortions, given how far it is from the continental U.S. and how expensive it is to fly here.
Even so, Dr. Reni Soon said since the Supreme Court’s ruling, she has already provided abortions to residents of Texas, Georgia and Louisiana.
She noted Hawaii gets a large number of tourists. The order could also protect college students and military personnel and their dependents who maintain residency in other states while they are in Hawaii temporarily.