1970 Roe Decision – Hawaii’s Leadership Role Relevant Again

2 mins read



The church/state separation issue is now in the courts in Florida where Faith Based groups are suing to overturn the state’s 15 week  ban asserting it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. It argues that the State may not legislate the primacy of one Church’s views over another’s. 

The Statewide Indivisible Hawaii Network strongly supports the separation of church and state. We are proud of the fact that Hawaii was one of the first states in the union to legalize abortion. The year was 1970 and the Chairman of the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Health was a devout Catholic named Vincent Yano.

The story of how he chose state over church is a powerful one.  For ease of reading we’ve attached a typed copy of an interview he gave the National Catholic Reporter  (original article  here) on why the two should remain apart. In it, he says “there should be no law regulating who is eligible for an abortion … I felt I had a higher duty to those who elected me than to my private religious convictions … All I did was to get rid of a bad law. The question of when life begins is another matter. Let the theologians argue that out.”  The wisdom of this position becomes obvious when we connect it to the analogous religious views about contraception, LGBT, interracial marriage, and privacy for private sexual practices. 

The Florida case could end up in the Supreme Court where the Court would have to decide whether or not to allow one particular religion decide these sensitive issues.

From Margie Merryman, Indivisible Kauai. Hope you can join in and please feel free to share and help get the word out to the community.


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