Hawaii Senate Approves Emergency Contraception Bill, Rejects Religious Refusal Provision

March 7, 2013 — The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday approved legislation (SB 1109) that would require hospital emergency departments to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors, the AP/Garden Island reports (AP/Garden Island, 3/5).

Lawmakers rejected an attempt by Sen. Sam Slom (R) to add an amendment that would have allowed hospitals to refuse to distribute EC for religious reasons. Slom argued that the underlying bill would violate religious rights.

Sen. Josh Green (D), a physician, said that under no circumstance should rape victims be denied access to EC. He also noted that all hospitals in the state are publicly funded (Eagle, Honolulu Civil Beat, 3/5).

The bill now heads to the House for consideration (AP/Garden Island, 3/5).