Where To Get An Abortion
While abortion is legal in Hawai‘i, it is not easily available to many women. There are parts of Hawai‘i that do not have an identifiable abortion provider. If you feel comfortable doing so, you should always check first with your doctor (Ob/Gyn are the types of doctors who are most likely to provide abortion services) to see if he or she offers abortion services to patients. Many do provide the service but do not publicize it. They may also refer you to a physician that does provide the service.
Planned Parenthood of Hawai‘i has a clinic in Honolulu, one in Kona, and one on Maui. Visit our Resource Directory for their contact information.
PROVIDER REFERRAL RESOURCES
Hawai‘i does not have a publicly disclosed late term abortion provider. Call Planned Parenthood of Hawai‘i at (808) 589-1149 for referral. A new website, www.latetermabortion.org, provides a list of clinics in the U.S. that provide abortions after 24 weeks.
National Abortion Federation (NAF) is a professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada that provides referrals and financial support to women who need help paying for their procedures.
ABORTION FUNDING RESOURCES
Abortion Fund Information – Abortion funds provide financial assistance to women who need help paying for their abortion. In addition, several funds provide additional support services such as short term housing for women seeking abortion services. Check online at www.nnaf.org/help/html
Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRAPP)
This organization provides funding direct to clinics. Residents of any state demonstrating financial need and over 10 weeks pregnant are eligible. Please ask the clinic you visit to call WRRAP to request financial assistance. If the clinic is not familiar with the Fund, the clinic may call the National Network of Abortion Funds at (617) 524-6040 to obtain the number for you. If the clinic is unwilling to call the Fund, you may call the Fund; leave your name, clinic name and number and a clinic contact person that is aware of the situation.
If you cannot afford the procedure, the possibility of qualifying for Medicaid or a loan fund is discussed.
Myths About Abortion
Deciding whether or not to choose an abortion can be a difficult decision. There is a lot of misinformation—some of it spread by anti-choice groups that can make the decision even harder. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about abortion and the real facts behind them.
MYTH: Abortion is more dangerous than natural child birth.
FACT: Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures performed in the United States and one of the safest. The risk of complications such as heavy bleeding or infection is less than one percent. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 88 percent of women who seek abortion do so before 13 weeks of gestation. Of these women, 97 percent have no complications, 2.5 percent have minor complications that can be easily treated in the office, and less than 0.5 percent experience serious complications that require surgery or hospitalization. The risk of death is very small: only one death per 500,000 legal abortions occurs when performed before eight weeks. The risk of death associated with child birth is actually eleven times higher than those associated with abortion.
MYTH: Abortion causes breast cancer.
FACT: In 2003, the National Cancer Institute brought together a panel of 100 of the world’s experts on women’s health to evaluate the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer. They looked at dozens of studies on the subject that have been conducted since 1981 and found that the scientific evidence clearly demonstrated that there is no association between abortion and increased breast cancer risk. Unfortunately, anti-choice activists have tried to scare women into thinking there is a link in order to prevent them from choosing abortion.
MYTH: Abortion risks a woman’s future fertility.
FACT: There is no scientific evidence that having an abortion will affect your ability to have a baby in the future. Only when a woman experiences serious but rare complications, such as a very bad infection or damage to the cervix, is future fertility affected. Medical studies show that having an abortion will not make it more difficult to become pregnant. It will not increase the risk of having a miscarriage or an ectopic or tubal pregnancy. It will not cause birth defects, premature labor and birth, or low birth weight.
MYTH: Abortion is very painful.
FACT: Pain management is used in all abortions. Most women experience cramping similar to menstrual cramps during the abortion, especially during a medical abortion. For surgical abortions, you will be offered anesthesia to minimize pain during the procedure.
For medication abortions, you will be offered pain relievers that reduce cramping. Women who have had an abortion report very different levels of discomfort: some say it is quite uncomfortable, some say it is moderate, and some experience very little discomfort.
MYTH: Abortion is expensive.
FACT: The average first-trimester abortion costs around $415. If you have insurance, your health plan may cover some or all of the costs. If you do not have insurance, you may be eligible for Medicaid. In Hawai‘i, Medicaid pays for abortion for low-income women. Many clinics also offer a sliding scale fee system, based on your income, so that the procedure will be more affordable. They may also allow you to use credit cards or work out a payment plan. For more information on payment, see Section VI. Paying for Your Care.
MYTH: Women who have abortions suffer from Post-Abortion Syndrome.
FACT: It is rare for women to suffer long-term emotional problems after having an abortion—in fact; studies show that the rate of post-partum depression (depression after child birth) is higher than the rate of serious depression after abortion. However, anti-choice activists have invented “post-abortion syndrome” and claim women who have had an abortion suffer from a set of emotional symptoms such as severe depression, anxiety, and guilt, in order to scare women and prevent them from choosing abortion. In 1989, the American Psychological Association convened a panel that found no evidence that such a condition exists. Instead, they found most women experience the most stress before choosing abortion. Every woman and every situation is different. You might experience a range of emotions after the procedure. Some women feel relief or a sense that they did the right thing after having an abortion. Others may feel anger, guilt, or sadness for a short time after having an abortion. See An Unplanned Pregnancy: Your Choices for questions that will help you explore your feelings and make the best decision. Anti-choice activists have also sought to attack women’s rights to choose by offering so-called post-abortion counseling that promotes anger against the health care provider, rather than helping women explore their feelings about their situation in an unbiased, supportive atmosphere. The Oakland-based group, Exhale, offers unbiased post-abortion counseling to women nationwide. They can be reached at 1-866-4-EXHALE or at www.4exhale.org
BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT ABORTION CLINICS
Over the past two decades, the anti-choice movement has set up thousands of fake abortion clinics across the country, referring to them as “crisis pregnancy centers.”
Here are some warning signs that a clinic might be fraudulent:
When you call to get more information or to set up an appointment, beware of places that tell you they will only give you information if you come into their office. It is your right to ask questions and they should provide you with any basic information you need over the phone.
Beware of clinics that advertise free pregnancy tests and counseling but are ambiguous about other health care services including availability of abortion services. These fake clinics do not provide health services for women.
If you are seeking counseling to decide whether or not to continue your pregnancy, you have a right to compassionate, professional, and honest advice about all the options that are available to you. Hawai‘i Planned Parenthood is a good place to start. Call (808) 589-1156 on O‘ahu or visit their website www.pphi.org for clinics on the neighbor islands.
The Portland, OR based organization Backline runs a free talk line that provides unbiased counseling to women about their pregnancy options. They can be reached at 1-888-493-0092 or www.yourbackline.org
Talk to your doctor, friends, and family so that you can find a reputable, trusted place to get help.
If you are unsure about the information you receive from a website or any other source, please call Hawai‘i Planned Parenthood at (808) 589-1156 or NARAL Pro-Choice New York at (212) 343-0114 and you will be provided with clear information about the choices available to you.
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.