Monday, August 8, 2005

JOAN E. HAYES / 1916-2005

Isle lobbyist helped lead
charge to legalize abortion

Joan E. Hayes, a former state representative and key lobbyist for the legalization of abortion in Hawaii, died Saturday at her San Francisco home. She was 89.

"She was a very active citizen and a very brilliant woman," said friend Helen Puhl.

Milton Diamond and Patricia Steinhoff, authors of the book "Abortion Politics: The Hawaii Experience," credited Hayes and the late Sen. Vincent Yano as the two people mainly responsible for the 1970 action by the state Legislature that repealed most of the state's anti-abortion laws.

"Joan Hayes and Senator Yano were publicly identified as leaders of the repeal campaign," according to the book.

"The abortion law was very effective in Hawaii and other states that followed suit in getting abortion decriminalized," said Chuck Frankel, friend and former Star-Bulletin assistant city editor and news editor. He said Hawaii was the first in the nation to repeal the anti-abortion law.

"They helped organize the testimony to make abortion available legally for women in Hawaii," Frankel said.

Hayes, born Feb. 29, 1916, later served as state representative for the Waikiki district for three terms during the 1980s.

Hayes was active in leasehold conversion for houses, "so people can buy their leasehold for fee simple," Frankel said. She was also an advocate for breast cancer prevention and noise issues.

Before she served as representative, Hayes founded an organization called Citizens Against Noise.

"She had a sense of purpose of what to do to help the lives of ordinary people who were troubled in pregnancy, troubled with noise and troubled with leasehold property," Frankel said.

Hayes moved to San Francisco in 1992.

She is survived by her husband, Robert B. Hewett, and two sons, Anthony David and Steven David.

A funeral service was to be held today at Sinai Memorial Chapel in San Francisco.

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