Know The Law and Your Rights in Hawaii
Abortion Is Legal: A woman can legally obtain an abortion up to 24 weeks into her pregnancy. Abortion after this point is only permitted to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.
If You Are Under Age 18: If you are under the age of 18, you can obtain an abortion without having to notify or get permission from a parent. While you may want to seek the advice of a parent or another adult, you are not required to obtain their permission. Further, there is no imposed waiting period to receive an abortion in Hawai‘i.
Privacy and Confidentiality: Your medical records are private and confidential. However, these laws may not apply to insurance records, so while your insurance company should not share your personal medical information with your employer, your privacy is not guaranteed by law. To find out how your insurance reports to your employer, and what type of information about you is provided, call the customer service office of your insurance plan.
If You Are on Medicaid: Medicaid in Hawai‘i covers abortion services. If you are in a Medicaid managed care plan, you have the right to obtain an abortion or contraceptive care from any Medicaid provider who offers these services without a referral or prior approval from your managed care organization.
If You Need Financial Help and Are Not on Medicaid: If you are not on Medicaid already, but are unable to pay for an abortion, you may be eligible for Medicaid due to “presumptive eligibility.” This allows you to quickly and temporarily enroll in Medicaid in order to obtain needed services. Many abortion providers will help arrange this coverage for you.
If You Are Under 18 and Pregnant, You Can Consent to Medical Services on Your Own: In Hawai‘i a pregnant minor has the right to decide for herself whether to continue a pregnancy or have an abortion. In addition, any pregnant woman can consent to medical, dental, health, and hospital services relating to prenatal care. Any necessary medical treatment a pregnant woman receives can be regarded as “relating to prenatal care.” For this reason, a pregnant teen can consent to all or almost all health care services on her behalf.
If You Are Under 18, Using Your Parents’ Private Insurance or Child Health Plus Benefits May Compromise Your Confidentiality: When a minor seeks coverage for services under a parent’s insurance plan or Child Health Plus, itemized benefit statements sent to the family can sometimes reveal confidential information. There is no perfect solution to the problem of confidentiality in the medical billing process. A young person seeking services under a parent’s private insurance plan can contact the insurance company directly to inquire about its policy and thus be aware of the risks of disclosure before choosing this method of payment. Medicaid offers two programs that will enroll teens without counting family income. You may be eligible for coverage under Medicaid’s Prenatal Care Assistance Program. This program covers nearly all health care during pregnancy and, for most teens, will also cover abortion services. Medicaid’s Family Planning Benefits Program covers most family planning services such as contraceptives (including prescriptions), pregnancy tests, STI/HIV tests, and Pap smears. Finally, a teen can also protect medical information confidentiality by paying for care directly, rather than relying on insurance. Because medical care is costly, the teen may have to seek out care with a low-cost provider.
If you have any additional questions, or if you believe your right to abortion has been violated, contact NARAL Pro-Choice New York at (212) 343-0114 or the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i at (808) 522-5905.
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