OK of abortion bill consistent with Hawaii sentiments
The governor has signed a measure that modifies the state's law.
WHEN Linda Lingle put her signature on a bill amending Hawaii's abortion law
, the act was in keeping with her personal stance on the issue.
In doing so without fanfare or comment, the Republican governor avoids provoking the most conservative of her party who are fiercely anti-abortion, while acknowledging Hawaii's long-standing support of a woman's right to privacy.
The governor's conduct is commendable in that she did not cast the controversial issue as a political matter to stir up party loyalty, but rather as a law that appropriately allows women to make deeply personal decisions without government interference. Lingle also is savvy enough to know that her bid for re-election does not hinge on her view of the polarizing issue.
The changes should not have drawn opposition since they simply reconcile state law with U.S. Supreme Court rulings, removing a 90-day residency requirement and allowing abortion procedures in medical clinics and doctors' offices.
Nonetheless, anti-abortion activists would not let the measure go through without a fight. Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican who opposes abortion, said that the state would become the "abortion capital of the world" if the changes were approved, predicting women seeking to end pregnancies would flood the islands.
Despite such alarmist claims, lawmakers and the governor properly recognized that Hawaii residents overwhelmingly favor a woman's right to privacy.
Legislators were spurred to amend the law to avoid legal challenges after President Bush's appointment of two conservative justices to the high court. Other states, such as South Dakota, have passed laws banning abortion in hopes that the new members of the court would flip rulings that affirm privacy rights and individual liberty.
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