Friday, February 23, 2024


February 19, 2024

Speaker Therese M. Terlaje

Guam Congress Building

Hagatna, Guam

Dear Speaker Terlaje:

Bill No. 162-37 is deceitful and a lie and needs to be rejected.

The first sentence of page two says: “It is essential to recognize that women and pregnant individuals have the right to make informed decisions about their own bodies, including the option to terminate a pregnancy.”

It is deceitful to say “terminate a pregnancy” without also adding “…and kill the living child inside her.” For the fact is, it is not just the woman’s body involved in every pregnancy. There is also another living, breathing body of a child within the pregnant woman. To allow a woman to “terminate a pregnancy” is to allow one human the right to terminate the life of another human. Yet the proposed bill ignores this fact all together. If this is the intent of the bill sponsors, to grant a woman the right to determine the fate of another human being, then the bill should be amended to clearly state this reality.

It is even more deceitful, rising to the status of a lie, to say the intent is to allow a woman to “make informed decisions”. Section 2 removes the 24 hour informational requirement, which a previous legislature found was essential to allow the woman ample time to weigh the critical decision she will make on another human beings’ life or death. But even more contrary to the stated intent of this bill, the authors spend most of their effort to eliminate vital information  which is currently required by law. They propose to strike the age and anatomical features and development of the child, but desire only to retain the risks to the mother should they choose to not abort the child. Such an imbalanced approach to this grave decision is completely contrary to the stated intent of an informed decision. Section 3 of the current law advises the mother of various medical and public assistance available to both the mother and the child, but the authors of this bill want to repeal this section in its’ entirety. And Section 4 provides information in a written form so there will be no misunderstanding about the decision a mother needs to make before going ahead with an abortion. Section 6 currently requires a written certification by both the mother and the doctor that the required information was received/provided, but, again the authors of the bill wish to remove proof that any informed consent was provided to the mother. And, many citizens and voters are curious as to why Section 7, (which outlines responsibilities for material production required in the “informed consent”) is also eliminated. Obviously, if the true goal of Bill 162-37 is to actually provide informed consent, then none of these sections should be eliminated. Maybe the authors should suggest even more informational requirements in this bill to conform to their stated intent. But that is clearly not the case.

Speaker Therese M. Terlaje

Page Two of Three

Therefore, I suggest the intention of the bill, on page two, be rewritten as follows:

“It is essential to recognize that women and pregnant women have no right to make informed decisions about their own bodies, including the option to terminate a pregnancy and kill the living child within her.” This would at least be an honest and straightforward statement of the actual intent of the bill and its’ modifications to existing law.

But, unfortunately, the deception does not end here. The second paragraph on page two says the Legislature wants “…to eliminate the risks posed by unsafe, clandestine procedures and provide a regulated environment with qualified medical professionals.” Are they saying that current abortions are basically unsafe? Are they saying more regulation is required, implying that the current regulations are inadequate? Well, I must have an incomplete version of Bill 162-37, because no where in my copy do I see language providing for more regulations to make abortions safer. If unsafe and clandestine abortions are taking place in our Territory (where abortions are still currently legal) why are there no current laws to protect our mothers and children? Perhaps you can ask the authors of this bill to provide a true solution to the unsafe/clandestine procedures they imagine happening.

The next few paragraphs discuss the importance of reproductive healthcare for all, the need for comprehensive sex education and contraceptives, the importance of personal choice, and religious freedoms. That all sounds very nice, but again, there appears to be nothing in the bill to try and achieve these goals. Just deceptive comments to eventually eliminate information crucial for a pregnant mother’s decision to have her baby killed or carried to full term.

If reproductive health care were essential, then why don’t the authors provide mandatory and free pre-natal care so that mother and baby are protected? The authors’ use of reproductive healthcare seems to imply that pregnancy is a disease of some sort, or inherently unhealthy. However, mothers of more than 300 million US citizens might not agree with this implication.

Lastly, as far as personal choice is concerned, the government has restricted a woman’s right to choose in many instances, and those restrictions have been unchallenged. 

  1. A woman cannot drink alcohol until she is 21. What happened to her right to choose?
  2. A minor woman cannot have bariatric surgery, but a 16 year old woman can have an abortion without her parents’ consent. What happened to the obese minor’s right to choose?
  3. A woman cannot drive at 50 miles per hour on Guam. What happened to her right to choose?
  4. A woman cannot drive a car at any age without wearing seatbelts. What happened to her right to choose?
  5. Smoking in public places is banned, viewing R-rated movies below a certain age is banned, voting rights…and the list of government restrictions goes on and on.

Speaker Therese M. Terlaje

Page Three of Three

So why doesn’t the government also restrict a woman’s right to choose when it comes to abortion? Especially when her decision to have an abortion gives a death sentence to an innocent child. If the “right to choose” is really an essential tenet of governance, then there are many laws and regulations that should be immediately amended or abolished. Is this really the conversation that needs to take place? Or perhaps the “my body/my choice” argument is nothing more than a deceptive lie as well.

As far as Bill 162-37 is concerned, for the many reasons stated within, I urge the Legislature to reject the bill in its entirety.



Stephen Wm. Martinez

Mongmong, GU

1 comment: