August 1989 Home   Newsletters

September 1989

October 1989

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Public Records Report
Honolulu Convention Center
Advocating for the Voter: Campaign Finance Reform
Planning and Zoning (Astrid Monson)
General Membership Meeting: Pro-Choice (Jean Aoki)
LWVUS Publications
LWV Presents (Linda Chinn)
Recycling (Dorothy Turnbull)

General Membership Meeting: Pro-Choice

Excellent! This word was heard repeatedly at the conclusion of the pro-choice meeting held on Saturday, September 9, at the Hale Koa Hotel. The panel members left most of us, if not all, with the conviction that our position on the issue is the right one -- that pregnant women need to have all the options available in making the decision which would best meet the needs of their particular situations.

Each panelist spoke eloquently on the issue, drawing on rich experiences unique to his/her professional and personal background, and nothing said was repetitive.

The Reverend Ashon Nelson, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Hawaii, emphasized that it is the individual woman who has to live with the consequences of her decision, and therefore, the decision should be hers to make. The responsibility of the clergy, she stated, is to give spiritual support by their physical presence, their empathy -- not the forcing of their own views regarding the solution.

The Reverend Samuel Cox, Director of the Hale Kipa Youth Shelters, stated that reproductive choice was a frequent problem facing the troubled teen-ager. Parental sympathy and aid were not always available to many of the teen-agers. The schism between the teen-ager and parents often-times could not be bridged. The requirement for parental approval for abortion for those under 18 could create impossible situations for many of them.

Ah Quon McElrath, who retired as social worker with the ILWU, and has remained actively involved in numerous public and private organizations, and who is currently on the Committee on Welfare Concerns, hit hard on the stand that lack of financial resources should not be a barrier to a woman's having access to all the options available to the pregnant woman, whether it be in the form of funding of an abortion or the means to support the child.

Patsy Mink, former Congresswoman, current Chair of the Hawaii Chapter of the Americans for Democratic Action, and President of the Public Reporter, insisted on the need for taking the offensive in our campaign to keep Hawaii's abortion laws intact. Bit, by bit, she said, our right to abortion may be eroded unless we take proper action.

She recommended that we all send to our legislators, hand-written individual letters. She suggested that different organizations send questionnaires to all candidates in the next election, on various issues including abortion rights, and then work to help defeat those who do not support our positions.

The section in our State Constitution on the Right to Privacy does not specify abortion. We could make an attempt to add the words "including abortion". The question she posed was that if we failed in this effort, would that automatically result in the exclusion of abortion as one of the rights under Privacy.

Jean Aoki

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