Sunday, January 15, 2023


CHamoru activists like Michael Bevacqua and the governor herself have maintained that abortion is historically consistent with Chamoru values. 

In his declaration in support of the current ACLU lawsuit challenging Guam's informed consent for abortion law, Bevacqua writes:

...ensuring access to safe and legal abortion in Guam is consistent with Chamoru values, culture and history and, indeed, there is substantial evidence that Chamoru women have long exercised autonomy and moral authority to make decisions about their pregnancies.

Bevacqua leans on the cultural phenomenon of matriarchal power for the historical roots of abortion in Chamorro culture:

Ancient accounts tell us that Chamoru women in Guam were more than merely vessels for their communities but were empowered to make decisions about their bodies and families. We see a matrilineal focus, where lineage and symbolic societal power resides primarily with women, in many traditional Micronesian Island cultures, but in the Chamoru culture of the Marianas, that it has historically being the strongest. This is something which the earliest accounts of contact with Europeans highlight. Chamoru women in ancient times had authority over themselves and men in many ways that frankly appalled the early Catholic missionaries, who saw as part of their evangelism the reduction of this social and cultural power.

Bevacqua goes on to support his view by referring to research by Dr. Donald Rubinstein describing "ancient" Chamoru abortifacients: 

Dr. Rubinstein has found historical, ethnographic and linguistic evidence dating back to the 18th century showing that, over time, women in Guam and throughout the region have utilized a variety of methods to induce miscarriage or end their pregnancies, as well as to use birth control and other methods to control their fertility.

However, Bevacqua fails to reference a significant entry in Rubinstein's research that traces abortion in CHamoru history - at least on a genocidal scale - to the Spanish period, which means that abortion in CHamoru culture is not so "ancient," and also reveals that abortion was not an exercise of matriarchal power but a desperate response to colonial subjugation.

In a paper titled "Culture in court: notes and reflection on abortion in Guam," Rubinstein recounts a journal entry by a Jesuit priest historian in 1751 describing what Rubinstein labels: "the catastrophic depopulation of the Chamorro people:"

[T]hey cannot abide the yoke of the Spaniards because of their great pride and haughtiness, and that they would like to live as they did in the past, in freedom and [following their] barbarous customs. Because of this, many hang themselves and others kill themselves [each other?]…The women, likewise, purposely sterilize themselves; or if they conceive, they find ways to abort, and some kill their children after birth in order to save them from the subjugation of the Spaniards. 

Later, in 1788, the same Jesuit historian, as quoted by Rubinstein, writes:

The very large diminution of population comes from the subjugation imposed upon them by the force of arms. As lovers of liberty they could not tolerate a foreign yoke. This became so painful for them that, not being able to free themselves of it, they preferred to lose their lives by hanging and by other desperate means. The women purposely sterilized themselves, and they threw their newborn children into the sea, convinced that an early death would free them of travails and a painful life…[in death] they would be fortunate and happy. Subjugation was so despicable that, for them, it was the ultimate and most deplorable calamity.

Regarding the reference to “purposely sterilized themselves," Rubinstein writes that it "is usually interpreted to refer to intentional abortion."

At least according to the above observations from the 18th century, abortion in CHamoru history was not and is not an "ancient" indigenous value but a relatively recent response to colonial subjugation wherein self-genocide was preferable to a "foreign yoke." 

But is that the reason today's Chamorros still kill their babies at many times the rate of other ethnicities? 




  1. Bevacqua and his friends are trying to superimpose Western hyper-individualism on indigenous culture. It's inane. Whose interests are really being served?

    1. You said it well. What culture or society anywhere in the history of the world thrives by killing its own?

  2. Abortion is inconsistent with all pacific island cultures who see power in their birth rates and thrive on extended family structures. What an asshole indigenous. I swear he annoys the heck out of me.

  3. sorry i just cant with this guy

  4. He is an intelligent man, but this weak abortion argument betrays him.

    1. Obbergruppenfurher Rheinhart Heidrich, the architect of the final solution was an intelligent man, but he was also a monster. Bevacqua, through his flimsy revisionist, reprehensible, banalisation of mass murder is on a slippery slope of becoming a monster himself.....

  5. Bevacqua has two major problems:
    1) he lacks intellectual honesty, because he is willing to argue any which way to further his narrow and flawed sense of history, and his revisionist understanding of said history
    2) His lack of deep research on issues of ethnology, civilisations, and again history, makes him conclude wrongly on the reasons of certain events. Not surprising, since this is not his background of studies.

    In the history of the world, it has been underlined that societies living in highly challenging environment, mostly desert settings, tend to be matriarchal. Within these very few matriarchal societies, IE: the Touaregs of the Sahara, the Tubus of the Tibesti, or to a lesser extent the Bushmen of the Kalahari, it has been established that the lack of food and liquid resources has led these tribes to regulate the number of births in the tribe according to the annual living conditions. These are exceptional conditions, which cannot be superposed to other civilisations and/or situations.
    Dr Rubinstein never equated these known examples of population control to the situation in the Marianas, which were very different.
    The situation facing Chamorros then, are more in line with the aborigines on larger islands like Taiwan, which also faced a brutal military colonisation, and subsequent subjugation. In this case, it was noted the same high ratio of suicide and infanticide as a form of refusal of their loss, rather than a matriarchal enlightened approach to population control. Bevacqua is here again being petulant and dishonest.

    Bevacqua's tactic of trying to fit a political argument to an historical narrative is not new, but it is certainly highly reprehensible.

  6. I posted this article to Bevacqua's "Guahan Politics) page over a week ago. He eventually responded, of course denying Tim's points in his opinion piece (without offering serious evidence refuting Tim's points).

    I responded to that and then he responded again; and then, for some reason he (or, he says, one of his co-administrarors) kicked me off of the site and took down the article.

    I messaged him asking him for his reason for kicking me off of the site and takilng down my post (and our comments). He messaged me back that it was one of his co-administrarors that did it. Possible but I'm skeptical.

    He said he would look into it and try to get me back on the site as soon as possible.

    He came back and said that he needs a copy of the post because FB won't let him see it. I don't have a copy of it. It was taken down . Lol. SMH.

    I just sent him a link to Tim's above article refuting Bevacqua's argument that abortion was accepted and considered positive by indigenous Chamorros.

    I don't understand why he criticizes America and other Western capitalist countries but invests so much energy trying to make us copy those countrie's practice of killing innocent, unborn infanats (62M+ in America alone since Roe v Wade in 1973).

  7. After I posted this article on Fanmannokand and started discussing/debating it with Michael Bevacqua my post was taken down and I was unceremoniously booted off the site.

    Because the title of the website includes the words "Guahan Politics" I felt I'd done nothing wrong; MB and I were discussing the article.

    I protested and was allowed back in Fanmannokan but my post and comments were never brought back; so I reposted the article with more extensive introductory comments.

    Will I be booted off again and my post taken down (again)? We shall see.

    1. I'm not familiar with his site and I really don't care to go there. Much prefer to just deal with the stuff he publishes in the papers, etc. If you haven't already asked him, perhaps find a way to ask why, even if there is some cultural root for abortion, why does he want to advocate for abortion now given the ongoing decimation of the CHamoru population pursuant to the abortion reports.