SB 501, HB 552, SB 514 Among Legislative Wins for this Session

This legislative session, we’ve helped to pass bills regarding the clear disclosure of reproductive health services, mitigating any negative effects a repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act and allowing pharmacists to administer vaccines.

Senate Bill 501 regulates Limited Service Pregnancy Centers, which (despite their names) are non-medical centers, typically staffed by people lacking medical credentials who pretend to have medical expertise.

These facilities often provide their clients with medical misinformation. Women visit these locations in times of personal duress, when they are considering abortions. But the goal of the centers is to limit women’s access to abortions, through lies, trickery, and manipulation. In addition, they sometimes leak women’s health status.

The new bill clearly defines these centers, typically organized by churches or religious groups, stating they must keep visiting women’s information private. They are also required to provide information about true reproductive health services to women. If they refuse to cooperate with the law, the “clinic” can be hit with civil penalties and actions.

House Bill 552 was passed in the final days of the legislature, when the possibility of losing national health provisions was heightened. The goal of this legislation is to set up an Affordable Health Care Working Group to mitigate the negative effects if/when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed by Congress.

Senate Bill 514 is important since it could diminish the large numbers of unvaccinated young people in Hawaii. It should increase rates of vaccination for HPV, Tdap, meningococcal illness, and influenza, by allowing licensed pharmacists to administer the shots to young people, aged 11 to 17 years.