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Singles left out of Hawaii fertility law

By Cathy Bussewitz

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:50 p.m. HST, May 02, 2014

Do you want to get fertility treatments in Hawaii? If you're married, there's a good chance that the treatments will be covered by insurance.

But if you're not married, you're probably out of luck.

Insurance companies in Hawaii are only required to cover fertility treatment for married women, not for their single counterparts. And treatments must use sperm from the patient's spouse.

Piilani Smith, a Native Hawaiian hula practitioner who also happens to be single, sought to change that law, saying it discriminates against all varieties of unmarried women including Native Hawaiians, who historically did not observe marriage in the traditional Western sense.

"In Hawaiian culture, there's nothing sacred about the institution of marriage," Smith said. "It doesn't exist. What exists is the respect for family, and ultimately ancestral genealogy."

But a push in the Legislature to expand coverage for fertility treatments to unmarried women died Thursday with the end of the session.

Hawaii is one of 15 states that have insurance mandates for fertility treatments. And the state is not alone in excluding single women from the benefit. Maryland has a similar law, according to Resolve, an organization that tracks fertility policies.

"The goal here is to not cover people," said Barbara Collura, president and CEO of Resolve. "The goal here is to exclude as many people as possible, so that your actual coverage is pretty minimal.

Smith helped craft legislation during the 2014 session that sought to expand the classes of women that are left out of the insurance mandate. Two bills were introduced that sought to expand the mandate, but both proposals died. Then she pushed for a resolution that asked the state auditor to study the possibility of expanding the insurance mandate, but that also failed.

"If it can't be offered to everybody in a non-discriminatory manner, than repeal it," Smith said. "Because it's a bad law, and it's the wrong message to be sending to families."

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Pocho wrote:
This should not fly. Only married women, what about married men? I'd say this is discrimination against men! Where's the NAACP
on May 2,2014 | 03:57PM
MariaBetty wrote:
"In Hawaiian culture, there's nothing sacred about the institution of marriage," and "If it can't be offered to everybody in a non-discriminatory manner, than repeal it," Welcome the LGBT in our community where its all about me.
on May 2,2014 | 04:19PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
MariaBetty -- you are WRONG to insult the LGBT community when there is a complaint about only about married people only getting fertility treatments covered by insurance. LGBTs can get married. It's the WELFARE CHEATERS who are complaining. They don't get married because if they get married their WELFARE gets cut off. Most LGBTs have double coverage because both people in the relationship work, not loaf and wait for the welfare check.
on May 2,2014 | 06:14PM
8082062424 wrote:
she was referring to the LGBT community attitude . and she not far off. welfare cheaters have no problem having one child after another just look around. and they do not seem to need medical help to have one child after another.And there are some people who do not wish to get married and there nothing wrong with that either, The LGBT are very much welfare cheater also it is more the women then men. you will have two women who are a couple each with a kid or two living together. but they do not report they are a couple because it mean less benefits. . welfare cheater come from all walks of life
on May 2,2014 | 06:45PM
JusInsane wrote:
What is Ms. Smith talking about... though it wasn't called 'marriage" in ancient Hawaii, a marriage like bond between a man and a woman, was called ho'ao pa'a. Single woman in old Hawaii couldn't support a child - because the men did the hunting and fishing.
on May 2,2014 | 05:00PM
soundofreason wrote:
They still can't support a single child because they have all the other TAXPAYERS hunting and fishing for their entitlement $$.
on May 2,2014 | 06:50PM
onevoice82 wrote:
on May 3,2014 | 06:14AM
soundofreason wrote:
I miss the days when having children out of wedlock was considered a DISGRACE. And now "they" want it paid for?
on May 2,2014 | 06:52PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
sound, I hear you. My, how times and cultures change. The shame was so great, kids committed suicide because the girl was pregnant. Japanese families sent their kid to Japan for "summer vacation" and an abortion, sometimes more than once for the same kid. Hawaii had special schools for pregnant high school kids. Salvation Army had a shelter that was full of unwed mothers off Pali Highway. Now those kids are grandmothers; I bet they wish they had it as good as unwed moms have it now. Proud pregnant teens and high schoolers bring their kids to school for "show and tell". We had strict rules when my kids were teens. Even the family dog blocked the hallway so the boy friends weren't allowed in the bedrooms.
on May 2,2014 | 07:45PM
onevoice82 wrote:
Retired: you forgot the most glaring difference between then and now...there are far more out of wedlock births now and abortions are sky high! It is ok now to kill your child and social tolerances are obliterating our morals day by day!
on May 3,2014 | 06:19AM
hokumakakilo wrote:
All or nothing. Why is insurance being used for fertility treatments in the first place? If you want a child pay for it out of your pocket. Why is viagra covered by insurance, while many prescription drugs for women are not? Either include all or none. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
on May 2,2014 | 09:26PM
awahana wrote:
No need any of this kine coverage.
If God deemed you childless, and probably of your own making, from too much beach BBQ, and mac salad, and going to the fast food drive thru too much, with your vehicle, instead of bicycle, then so be it.
Why should society have to pay for your lack of personal responsibility? Eat more poi. Go more surfing.
We already have population explosion. And automobile expansion.
All pau.
on May 3,2014 | 09:36AM
calentura wrote:
You are right. This just gives people something more to complain about. Got to stop handouts somewhere.
on May 3,2014 | 09:52AM
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