Letters for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

• Apology for giving Stone too much credit • Writer has it wrong abou SB 501

Apology for giving Stone too much credit

On Sunday, April 2, I had an “Other Voices” article titled “Princeville Beauty — a Tribute to Jeff Stone.”

I wrote the article without proper research and I learned very quickly that I was wrong on many things. I was giving Jeff Stone credit for things he was not involved in. Jeff Stone had no part in the initial creation of Princeville. He came later. He did not create the formal entrance — including the fountain — nor was he involved with developing the Prince Hotel (now the St. Regis) nor the Westin.

For making the errors described above I want to apologize first to the outstanding management and staff of The Garden Island. Second I want to apologize to the readers and third I want to apologize to my friends.

I let you all down.

Respectfully.

Joe Frisinger, Princeville

Writer has it wrong about SB 501

Ms. Ferraro’s April 2nd letter on SB 501 recognizes that women are “more than capable of making their own choice” concerning abortion. She argues that SB 501 interferes with women considering their options in making that decision.

SB 501 finds that many Hawaii women “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.”

The bill requires that a “limited service pregnancy center” — a facility that advertises or solicits clients, performs pregnancy-related medical tests or counseling, and collects health information, but is unable to enroll women in Med-Quest or (state) Department of Health programs — provide their pregnancy clients with a note or sign that informs the patient: “This clinic does not provide abortion services or abortion referrals. Only ultrasounds performed by qualified healthcare professionals and read by licensed clinicians should be considered medically accurate. Hawaii has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services including all FDA-approved methods of contraception, prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To apply for medical insurance coverage that will cover the full range of family planning and prenatal care services, apply on-line at mybenefits.hawaii.gov.”

This requirement applies whether the clinic’s philosophy is pro- or anti-abortion.

Anti-abortion advocacy groups can avoid the reach of SB 501 simply by not collecting health information, or not providing pregnancy counseling or not offering pregnancy-related medical tests. The bill only affects pregnancy centers which hold themselves out as medically based clinics.

The limited service pregnancy center may advocate strenuously against abortion, show pictures of aborted fetuses, threaten the woman with eternal damnation for considering abortion, or employ other dissuasions, if that reflects the clinic’s religious beliefs. None of that is implicated by SB 501. But the letter equates informing a pregnant woman accurately about public-provided family planning services with forcing the center “to promote state-assisted abortion.”

I think the letter is greatly misleading about the purpose and effect of SB 501, and somewhat hypocritical. Women capable of making their own pregnancy choice deserve the basic information needed to exercise that decision, and ought not be misled by a clinic’s purporting to be a medical pregnancy counseling service, but refusing to disclose that vast public services are available relevant to the patient’s situation.

Jed Somit, Kapaa

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