Saturday, April 10, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021


To read up on what is going on with the ACLU law suit and other matters relative to abortion on Guam, go to The Esperansa Project Blog

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Destigmatizing abortion and hypocrisy Governor LG style

 Posted by Bob 

" will always triumph over death..." from the Governor's Easter greeting.

"...She [the Governor]  said abortion is an essential part of a woman's choice for reproductive health,..." from the front page of today's [April 4, Easter] Daily News.

Governor supports women's reproductive rights, advocates for access to abortion

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero expressed her continued support for women's reproductive rights during a talk with Famalo'an Rights this week.

The governor spoke to Kiana Yabut, Famaloa'an Rights' chief development officer, on Instagram Monday as the group's last Famala'on Talks speaker for Women's Month.

According to the group's website Famalao’an Rights is a reproductive justice initiative focused on:

  • addressing the lack of reproductive health care within the island community;
  • de-stigmatizing discussions surrounding abortion, contraception and sexual education; and
  • ensuring accurate, fact-based and data-driven information is being shared regarding social, economic and other implications on the lack of accessible abortion services within the island community.

The governor expressed her thanks to the group for being courageous and moving forward in addressing the rights of women for their reproductive health including access to abortion.

"It's just encouraging for me that more people are involved," she said.

Long history

Leon Guerrero shared her long history of fighting for women's reproductive rights on Guam after coming back from the states from college. She said when she left for college in the 1970s and became a nurse, she was stricken at the women coming into the emergency room hemorrhaging because of a self-inflicted abortions or botched underground abortions.

Leon Guerrero said at the time access to safe abortions wasn't available. She said abortion is an essential part of a woman's choice for reproductive health, that women have choices including adoption and contraception, but abortion also should be another choice.

"We keep it legal, we keep it safe, and that we make sure it's done under a very good hygienic environment," she said.

The governor said being pro-choice doesn't mean being pro-abortion, but allowing women the right to choose what is best for their reproductive health.

When she came back to Guam, a law was passed that severely restricted access to abortions on Guam, which was later deemed unconstitutional. She and other local women created People for Choice, a group that fought for reproductive rights. Leon Guerrero said there was a lot of support for the organization and she was grateful to be part of a group of courageous women who fought to make sure women had their right to choose.

Silent advocacy

She encourages other women to be courageous but understands the fear and anxiety of being public about being pro-choice. She said silent advocacy — talking to their children, friends and husbands about the importance of reproductive health — also helps.

"It's a big risk to be publicly known, but it's something I truly believe we women have to fight for. No one else will, but ourselves," Leon Guerrero said.

Since the last doctor who provided abortions on the island retired in mid-2018 there haven't been any doctors who provide the service. There have been no abortions reported to the government of Guam since then.

More Guam news:UOG gets clean audit for sixth straight year

Lawsuit filed

A lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Vanessa L. Williams on behalf of two Guam-licensed physicians who are based in Hawaii. They sued government of Guam officials, challenging the part of Guam’s abortion law that requires information about abortions be provided in person. The ACLU said doctors can give that information to patients through live video conference.

The doctors, Shandhini Raidoo and Bliss Kaneshiro, said in their complaint they are authorized to provide other patients telemedicine medication abortion and could provide that service to patients in Guam if it weren’t for the “in person” requirement in the law.

A medication abortion generally involves a person taking two pills, prescribed by a doctor, to end a pregnancy up to 10 weeks into the pregnancy, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Raidoo and Kaneshiro said they are authorized by the FDA to prescribe the medications through the TelAbortion project.

Leon Guerrero said a short-term hope for her is that the community allow medicated abortion and allow it through telemedicine, or train doctors on the island to be certified to prescribe the medication.

Long-term hope

A long-term hope is to have a reproductive health center to support women and provide them needed services that include abortion, she said. The center can be a place where women could get pregnancy tests, counseling, pap smears and other beneficial services for the island community, she said.

Leon Guerrero said the island needs to do better at talking about sex and contraception. She said many parents tell their kids not to have sex and avoid talking about contraception, but they shouldn't.

Parents should recognize their teenage children could be having sex and they need to be educated about what could happen. Parents should give their kids the means to prevent pregnancy with contraception, she said.

Open communication helps prevent the need to terminate a pregnancy, she added.

Leon Guerrero thanked Famalao'an Rights for helping educate the communicate and help correct misconceptions.

"I'm very much encouraged with the work that you do," she said.

Famalao’an Rights is focused on de-stigmatizing discussions surrounding abortion and embraces terms like women's reproductive rights, reproductive health, reproductive justice and  pro-choice. 

When the question is posed as, "When is it alright to take the life of an innocent, helpless human being?" no amount of sophistry a la Famalao’an Rights provides any answer except NEVER.

Graphic anti-abortion flyers upset east Toronto residents |