Abortion in Hawaii

Fam Plann Perspect. 1973 Winter;5(1):54-60.


PIP: Abortion experience in Hawaii, which was the first state to legalize induce abortion (in March 1970), at the request of the patient, is reviewed after its first year in terms of the number of abortions performed, the demographic and social characteristics of women seeking abortion, implementation of the law, and medical and legal complications. 3643 abortions were performed in 15 hospitals during the first year of legalized abortion. The ratio of abortions to live births was 1:45. Of the patients, 42.9% had been born and lived in Hawaii, 19.8% had lived in the state for less than 1 year, and the 90-day residency requirement was unfulfilled by 13.0%. Comparisons of women seeking abortions in Hawaii are similar to the statistics for the U.S. as a whole as reported by the Joint Program for the Study of Abortion. 20% were teenagers, 51% had no prior pregnancies, and 54% had never been married although 71% indicated involvement in a continuing relationship. Ethnic distribution showed 47% Caucasians, 21% Japanese, 10% Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian, 8.4% Filipino and 5.0% Chinese. Marital status by ethnic origin at the time of conception suggested that Filipin o women are more likely to use abortion to limit family size (69% were married) than the others. The abortion patients were considerably better educated than the state's population of women of childbearing age although 66.5% of the women reported lack of contraceptive use as the reason for having to seek abortion to terminate their pregnancies. This figure suggests a group of women in need of contraceptive information and services. Most frequent complications were cervical laceration (22.5% of all complications), hemorrhage (19.5%), and infection (16%). Hawaii's law stipulates that abortion must be performed in hospitals by licensed physicians prior to viability of the fetus (undefined but generally regarded as after the twentieth week of gestation). Women under 18 experienced the most frequent frustration in delay, largely because of the required parental consent. Legal and financial barriers appeared to be the greatest cause of delays with most other patients. Average abortion costs were about $350, and 57.5% of the abortions were paid for by personal funds or loans obtained by the patients. Recommendations based on the year's experience suggest greater assistance to the patient through state and private agencies in covering abortion costs either through subsidies or low-interest loans with minim al delay. Improved procedures to provide lowest cost service while maintaining standards of good health and increased efforts in disseminating information on family planning, contraception and sex education are also necessary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Abortion, Legal*
  • Birth Rate
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnicity
  • Family
  • Female
  • Hawaii
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Marriage
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Quality Control
  • Religion
  • Rural Population
  • Single Person
  • Time Factors