New Bill Could Force Churches To Refer Women to Abortion Clinics


The Hawaii Senate approved a bill that will force all pregnancy centers to post signs with abortion referrals—even pro-life centers housed in churches.

“They want to mandate all pro-life centers to put an abortion referral sign in our reception areas,” said Derald Skinner, pastor at Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor. “Now our particular pro-life center is in our church. So it’s very important to realize that they are dictating to us what we can and cannot say. Will they give me my sermon next and tell me what I can preach?”

The bill, State Bill 501, specifically reads:

Thousands of Hawaii women are in need of publicly-funded family planning services, contraception services and education, abortion services, prenatal care and birth-related services. In 2010, 16,000 Hawaii women experienced an unintended pregnancy, which can carry enormous social and economic costs to both individual families and to the state at large. Yet, many women in Hawaii remain unaware of the public programs available to provide them with contraception, health education and counseling, family planning, prenatal care, abortion and birth-related services.

Because family planning decisions are time-sensitive and care early in pregnancy is important, Hawaii must make every possible effort to advise women of all available reproductive health programs. In Hawaii, low-income women can receive immediate access to free or low-cost comprehensive family planning services and pregnancy-related care through Med-QUEST and the department of health’s family planning program. However, only providers who contract with these programs are able to immediately enroll patients in these programs at the time of a health center visit.