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HONOLULU – Today, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii (PPVNH) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the legalization of abortion in Hawaii. On March 11, 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationwide, Hawaii passed historic legislation making it the first state in the country to allow safe, legal abortion care. 

“On this day 50 years ago, Hawaii’s lawmakers decided that Hawaii was going to lead the nation in advancing reproductive health and rights,” said Laurie Field, Hawaii State Director at PPVNH. “We are proud of this significant milestone and we are continuing to build upon this important right, currently under threat. It is more important than ever given the national and state level attacks on abortion access to protect and advance our health, rights and freedoms here in Hawaii. The people of Hawaii do not want to lose access to a right they've worked so hard to maintain.”

To celebrate this historic moment, PPVNH staff, volunteers, and youth will be at the Hawaii State Capitol for Lobby Day today raising awareness about the necessity for meaningful access to reproductive health care, including safe, legal abortion care across Hawaii. Recent polling conducted by Planned Parenthood shows that “85 percent of Hawaii voters intensely believe it is important that women have access to all of the reproductive health care options available, including abortion.”

By June, the Supreme Court will rule on June Medical Services, a case about a dangerous abortion restriction in Louisiana. This case is big: it could decide the future of abortion access in this country. Less than four years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that medically unnecessary laws like the one in Louisiana were unconstitutional. With 77 percent of people in this country supporting safe, legal abortion, the Supreme Court's decision has the potential to go against established precedent and the will of the people.

“Legal and safe abortion is meaningless if people don’t have access to it,” Field said. “We must preserve the spirit of our lawmakers from 50 years ago and continue pushing for innovative leadership and robust support for access to abortion. We must put our money where our mouth is, and close the gaps on access to abortion, in the name of our reputation as leaders in this country.”