Yesterday, September 11, 2015, I and others testified in support of Bill 168-33. The bill (introduced by Senators Frank Aguon, Jr., and Dennis Rodriguez) attempts to close the enforcement loopholes in the abortion reporting law.
In 2008, as the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history was starting to make news and look like he might get elected, I began to wonder what his election might mean for the protection of unborn life on Guam.
My friend, Chuck White, who shared my concern, brought to my attention a recent survey by Americans United for Life which ranked states according to legal protections for the unborn.
The AUL study ranked the state of Oregon last in the nation with only 20 of 50 points. But when Chuck and I compared the survey with the legal protections in place for the unborn on Guam, Guam scored only 4 points, 16 points behind last place Oregon. In other words, Guam was by far: the most dangerous place in the nation for the unborn and the easiest place to get an abortion.
We decided to do something about it and we started The Esperansa Project - a grassroots group aimed at effecting more legal protections for the unborn and their mothers as well as increasing the awareness of the abortion problem on Guam.
Our first step was to assess the abortion data. At the time, GMH was required to publish the annual statistical abortion report. We requested copies of reports for every year since 1994 when the law was first enacted.
This was in 2008, so the reports from 1994 through 2007, or a total of 14 reports, should have been available. We received no reports for 1994 through 1999, a completely blank report for 2002, 2 reports for 2004, a hodgepodge of documents for 2007, and generally incomplete reports all around.
We approached GMH about the missing reports and the severe amount of missing data from the reports we did receive. We were advised that GMH was only authorized to collect and publish only what was collected. They had no authority to enforce the law.
Thinking that there needed to be some consequence for not reporting, the Esperansa Project saw to the inclusion of a penalty for not reporting in an upcoming bill banning partial-birth abortion which we had also requested to be introduced.
Both the partial-birth abortion ban and the penalty for not reporting passed the legislature and were signed into law, effective as of calendar year 2008.
It appeared that the threat of a penalty ($10,000 to $100,000 per offense) provided some motivation for the abortionists to begin obeying the law as the following chart demonstrates:
The nearly 1000% increase in the number of abortions (from an average of about 40 abortions per year prior to the penalty to over 300) is evidence that we cannot assume abortionists will police themselves.
This is important to note because at every turn in our multi-year effort to protect the unborn we have been criticized by the pro-aborts for trying to mix politics with medicine.
We were told that physicians are professionals and there was no need for regulation or enforcing compliance with existing law. We were told that "of course they already do that." We were told that there was no need for a law requiring abortionists to fully inform women of the risks associated with abortion because there is no reason to believe they don't already do it.
However, the huge increase in reporting in 2008 shows that the assumptions of the pro-aborts are wrong. It is quite obvious that abortionists needed some "help" in following the law.
But there's more.
In the following chart I demonstrate that even with the penalty in place, abortionists continued to leave out data required by law. In yesterday's testimony, I detailed 3,136 instances where required data was left out of the abortionists' reports since 2008 when the penalty for non-compliance went into effect.
Every year since 2008 we have collected and analyzed this data. We always contacted the department or agency which the law authorized to collect the data. And we always asked them "why the missing data." We were always given the same answer: "no authority to enforce compliance.
Also, at the end of the testimonies and the questioning by the senators, I asked if I might make one more point and was given the go ahead to do so.
I asked the senators to take a look at the abortion report for 2007 (copied below):
I asked them to note the section labeled "Facility" and the blank space next to GMHA (Guam Memorial Hospital Authority). I then asked them to look at one of the documents submitted by the Polyclinic for the same year (copied here):
I asked them to take note of the entry at the bottom of the document
and then compare it to the BLANK SPACE next to GMHA in the statistical report for the same year.
I also noted that year after year, GMH reports ZERO abortions, and that its administration has publicly stated in the news at different points that it does not "do abortions." Yet, the Polyclinic reports TEN saline abortions performed at GMH in 2007.
Saline abortions are typically performed after 16 weeks when the child is too large to vacuum or cut out. The child is killed with a saline solution and delivered whole after labor is induced - which is why the Polyclinic report says "DELIVERED."
|16 week old fetus. www.babycenter.com|
In 1990, on the Floor of the Legislature, the late Senator Elizabeth Arriola estimated that there were between 400 to 600:
Let me tell you, at the rate Guam Memorial Hospital is aborting children, between 400-600 a year, and most of them are not even reported. Where are the lives that we are going to protect and preserve? Here we go talking about indigenous rights and self-determination. What good is all that if we don't have our followers to follow and enjoy the fruits of our labor, of this generation's labor, of your labor and my labor to fix this island and have autonomous rights to govern our people? - (quoted in: Asian/Pacific Islander American Women: A Historical Anthology, pg. 372, edited by Shirley Hume, Gail M. Nomura)In my address to the senators, some of whom have fought our efforts to protect unborn life at every turn (see www.GuamOpenGovernment.org), I stated:
- that while we may disagree as to what extent abortion should be regulated, I believe we all agree that abortion is not the desired end of pregnancy, and
- that whether one is "pro-life" or "pro-choice," we should all agree that addressing the underlying societal factors that lead women to seek an abortion should be our common concern.
- That lawmakers should not be in the business of making laws that can be easily ignored - as is the current abortion reporting law.
- That there can be no serious investigation into the underlying societal factors which lead to aboriton without reliable data - which we demonstrably do not have.
- That whether or not it is the present bill or some variation thereof, the competent agency or department must be given the appropriate enforcement tools to ensure that reliable data is produced.
(In addition, there was further testimony by some of the above at another bill later in the day relative to the effects of second hand smoke. While the bill did not address the effects of second hand smoke on the unborn, Marilu Martinez and others used the opportunity to testify to bring this fact to the attention of lawmakers. More details on their testimony later.)
Maria Espinoza also submitted testimony here.
My testimony was oral with exhibits. A copy of the the exhibits can be downloaded here.
Following are some facts about abortion on Guam. More information can be found at www.Esperansa.org and www.GuamOpenGovernment.org
|Number of abortion since 2008|
|Number of abortions by Ethnicity 2014|
|Number of abortions by age 2014|
|Number of abortions by marital status 2014|
|Number of abortions by method|
Note that there were 15 abortions by Dilation and Extraction (D&E), a procedure that is currently seeing many bans in the states because of the incalculable pain experienced by the child as she is torn apart alive - as per the diagram below:
Bill 51-32 was introduced in January of 2011 to ban this procedure on Guam. No one paid attention to it. Maybe now someone will. Let's see which senators now vote for Bill 168-33. And then "remember in November."
Meanwhile, submit your testimony in support of Bill 168-33 as soon as possible. It can simply be a statement in support of the intent of the bill. Send to:
Honorable Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr.
176 Serenu Ave.
Tamuning, Guam 96931
Committee on Health, Economic Development, Homeland Security, and Senior Citizens