Sunday, 21 February 2010

Way to Go, Hawaii!

Unlike the rest of the Excited States, Hawaii seems a remarkably sensible place.
The House of Representatives yesterday paved the way for Hawaii to become the first state in the nation to repeal its abortion law.

The repeal bill passed by a 31-20 vote and is expected to breeze through the Senate on Tuesday.
The current law says a woman may get an abortion only when her life is in danger.

The bill would repeal this and make abortion a matter of conscience between a woman and her physician.

That may have been the law, but it seems it hasn't been enforced. Here's what the respected Guttmacher Institute has to say about abortion in Hawaii:
• In 2005, there were 39 abortion providers in Hawaii. This represents a 24% decrease from 2000, when there were 51 abortion providers.

• In 2005, 20% of Hawaii counties had no abortion provider. 0% of Hawaii women lived in these counties. In the West census region, where Hawaii is located, 18% of women having abortions traveled at least 50 miles, and 5% traveled more than 100 miles.

• In Hawaii, no metropolitan area lacks an abortion provider.

* Hawaii does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions—such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions—often found in other states.

Goodness. Hawaii -- with the notable exception of the weather -- seems quite Canuck-like. It has employer-paid health insurance, even for part-time workers.
Imee Gallardo, 24, has been scooping ice cream at a Häagen-Dazs shop at Waikiki Beach for five years, and during that time the shop has done something its counterparts on the mainland rarely do: it has paid for her health care.

Ms. Gallardo cannot imagine any other system.

“I wouldn’t get coverage on the mainland?” Ms. Gallardo asked. “Even if I worked? Why?”

Since 1974, Hawaii has required all employers to provide relatively generous health care benefits to any employee who works 20 hours a week or more. If health care legislation passes in Congress, the rest of the country may barely catch up.

Lawmakers working on a national health care fix have much to learn from the past 35 years in Hawaii, President Obama’s native state.

But will they? Unlikely.

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