The Star Bulletin called it down-to-the-wire in Veto overrides create 13 laws. In Hawaii governor vetoes 41 bills on final day; Legislature overrides on 13 the Honolulu Advertiser focused more on explaining the process (and some drama) to vetoes and overrides.

At any rate, one bill connected to mothers and health care was vetoed and then overridden.

» HB 2761: Allows for extension of post-partum care and care between pregnancies from eight weeks to at least six months for women in the Hawaii QUEST program.

According to data on 52,932 women in Hawaii who gave birth to children from 2004 to 2006, women enrolled in the Hawaii QUEST health insurance program were, compared with other women who have recently given birth but were covered under other health insurance:

(1) Three times less likely to access prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy;

(2) Just as likely to have their infants receive their first well-baby check, but twice as likely not to have received the recommended post-partum check for new mothers;

(3) One-and-a-half times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy;

(4) At three to four times and two to three times higher risk of being abused before becoming pregnant by their former and current spouses, respectively;

(5) At three to four times higher risk of experiencing intimate partner violence while pregnant;

(6) One-and-a-half times more likely to require dental services during pregnancy;

(7) Three times more likely to smoke during the last three months of pregnancy;

(8.) Three to four times more likely to use illicit drugs during pregnancy;

(9) Twice as likely to experience post-partum depression;

(10) Twice as likely not to have initiated breastfeeding; and

(11) Ten per cent more likely to have a low birthweight or premature infant.

That is a risk-factor-dense list for potential perinatal mood disorders! Is it really only 2x as likely a woman being abused will experience perinatal mood disorders, aka “post-partum depression”?

An additional reason this bill is important relates to the Compact of Free Association, a … an … agreement … between the US and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), which allows citizens of FSM to freely associate/move to, around within, or move from the US back to FSM. –that came about from some testing the US did does still on Kwajelein. So they are not “immigrating.” But they are arriving. And they are arriving in Hawaii. Congress looked at the impact of this migration 5 years ago and you can read more about it here

Honestly, had I not spent some time working in a shelter I may have missed it all. But FSM citizens are here, and they are here because the US made arrangements that they can be here–so they have come. Some need health care, some due to that testing.

Apparently though Congress may be aware of the impact on Hawaii, as one of the first places people from FSM move, Congress has been perhaps a bit slow in $upporting Hawaii as more people do move here. Health care and social services are stretched.

It’s for these women the override was the right thing to do. For them, and for all Hawaii’s moms who also need maternal care. Eight weeks is just not long enough.