AP/Star-Adv: ‘Singles left out of Hawaii fertility law’

By Cathy Bussewitz
Associated Press, Star-Adv 5/2/14

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.

[Sen. Shimabukuro introduced both the bill and the resolution to expand coverage for fertility treatments.]

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.

Read the entire article on the Star-Advertiser site.

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