Wednesday, March 27, 2024


LINK to online version (Reference links and notes added)

Note: 167-37 is incorrect. The correct number is 162-37.

Reading through Bill 162-37 brought back memories. The legislation was introduced by Senators Parkinson and Fisher to “update” The Women’s Reproductive Health Act of 2012, otherwise known as “informed consent for abortion.”

The Parkinson-Fisher bill is a funny exercise in black lines. After the first couple pages setting out the intent and definitions, the rest of the 13 pages is a copy of the 2012 Act with about 90% of it struck-through, black-lined, cancelled, quashed, etc., with no substitute language inserted. So much for “updating.”

Parkinson and Fisher aren’t the first senatorial chair-warmers to draw endless black lines through legislation aimed at providing women information about abortion and its alternatives. That dishonor goes to former Senator Rory Respicio who did it twice.

Respicio’s first black-line slashing of informed consent legislation was Bill 54-30, authored by then-Senator Eddie Calvo. After almost a two year delay in moving the bill through the legislature, a delay, in part, orchestrated by Respicio, Respicio, during a late-night debate on the session floor, introduced a substitute bill, which, like Bill 162-37, was page after page of black lines.

Laughably, the only thing left of the original bill was language which warned the expectant mother of the risks of giving birth instead of the risks of procuring an abortion. Incredibly Respicio’s substitute bill - which accomplished exactly the opposite of the original - passed!

(Note: Respicio's black-lined bill is not available. However, the effect of Respicio's black lines is demonstrated by comparing the original bill to the bill that was substituted and passed [See §3218.1 (b)(1)(B)].)

The next day, I got busy to convince then-Governor Felix Camacho to veto it. He did, and there was no vote to override.

(Note: Govern Camacho's veto letter.)

After Senator Eddie Calvo became Governor Eddie Calvo, he used his organic act authority to introduce Bill 52-31 - another attempt at legislating informed consent for abortion. Once again Respicio played spoiler for the better part of two years.

Finally, the bill had a public hearing.

During the hearing there was an altercation between Respicio and myself. I had handed a note to a friend who was testifying in favor of the bill and Respicio yelled at me. I yelled back and the committee chairman (then-Senator Dennis Rodriguez) had to jump in to “restore decorum.” Things went downhill from there. The fiasco is memorialized in the bill’s committee report.

Despite the contentious hearing, Bill 52-31 received a committee “go” vote. However, the next stop was Respicio’s Rules Committee. Expecting more eleventh hour chicanery like what Respicio pulled with Bill 54-30, I made sure to watch the meeting via video.

Sure enough, when it came time to discuss Bill 52-31, instead of proceeding with the discussion, Respicio began distributing copies of a mystery document to the other members.

After receiving his copy, Senator Chris Duenas attempted to ask a question and Respicio cut him off when he called  over an aid. After whispering something to the aid, the aid disappeared off camera and a moment later the video feed stopped.

I learned later that the mystery document was another Respicio strikethrough of nearly the whole bill. This time the only thing left of the original bill was a 24 hour waiting period.

The waiting period provided time for the mother to review required information in order to make an informed decision. However, Respicio had struck out all the information provisions, so the end effect of Respicio’s black lines was to require a woman seeking an abortion to go to the doctor and then be sent home for 24 hours with nothing.

I got a copy of Respicio’s second slash and burn job and called into a local radio talk show. I was ripping into Respicio when Respicio called in and started ripping into me. It made for great talk radio for a few minutes. But it ended when Respicio angrily hung up. The host and I had a good laugh about that.

The yelling and screaming wasn’t over though. In an attempt to get the bill passed, Governor Calvo called the legislature into a special session to try to force a vote. The session was only a few weeks before the next election and some of the senators were wild with rage at being forced to take a position so close to an election. Some were even sobbing. It was a real spectacle.

(Note: LINK to the video recording of the special session.)

Bill 52-31 passed but not without more eleventh hour shenanigans which delayed enactment of the bill for another year. I’ll write about that next time.

Tim Rohr has resided in Guam since 1987. He has raised a family of 11 children, owned several businesses, and most recently been active in local issues via his blog,, letters to local publications and occasional public appearances. He can be contacted at

Relevant Links:

History of Bill 54-30 (Then-Sen. Frank Aguon, Jr., whose committee controlled the bill, was, with Respicio, the nexus of the nemesis which tried to deep-six the bill. Later, Aguon had a change of heart and helped champion the legislation through to enactment.)

Bill 54-30 has been accepted (Nov. 26, 2010)

Conspiracy in the Guam Legislature, July 7, 2011

Bill 52-31 COR Mtg 03/28/11 (Notes on Respicio's Committee on Rules Meeting. The video recording of the meeting is no longer available. I'll see what I can do to fix that.)

Rohr vs Respicio on K57 (The recording is no longer available, however the text of the call is transcribed here.)

Continued at Part 2

Thursday, March 14, 2024


Bring back the Agat Post Office

On May 28, 2022, the Guam Daily Post reported that the Agat Post Office, which serves approximately 800 box holders, would be temporarily closed due to safety concerns.

Quoting the Guam Postmaster, the Post reported: “We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this temporary closure. We will provide an update on the status of this facility as soon as more information is available.”

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned two years isn’t “temporary,” and I am unaware of any “updates” other than seeing what was the Agat Post Office demolished and hauled away.

I moved to Agat in the mid-90’s which was about the time the Post Office was built. It was a sturdy wooden structure and withstood Typhoons Paka and Pongsana. However, the post office, like so many government buildings in Guam, fell victim to “Typhoon No-Maintenance.”  

Maintenance would have been simple. The only real problem with the building, at least from what I could see, was the rain gutters. Over the years, the gutters filled with dirt and debris, backing up the rainfall onto the roof, eventually destroying the building beneath it.

Anyone with a home with a roof knows that clogged rain gutters and drains are the usual cause of roof leaks and that roof leaks lead to lots of other problems.

I didn’t personally conduct an inspection, but the jungle growing out of the rain gutters was easy for all of us 800 box holders to see every time we checked our mail.

After the Agat Post Office was “temporarily” closed, we box holders were instructed to pick up our mail “over the counter” at the Hagatna Post Office.

Thinking that this was just temporary, I put aside the fact that now instead of a ten-minute, two mile round trip to check my mail, it was now a 35 mile journey. But more than the miles - and since I had to get in line to check my mail “over the counter” - checking the mail morphed from a mere ten minutes into at least a two hour ordeal.

At first, it wasn’t so bad because the Hagatna Post Office gave us southerners an “Agat line,” an express line to bypass the regular Hagatna line. However, there is no longer an “Agat line,” and we Agat box holders must fall into what are normally very long lines just to see if we have mail or not.

An Hagatna box holder can check for mail by just opening his or her box, and then if necessary, line up to do business at the counter. Not so for us southerners. We must get in line just to check to see if we even have mail.

And maybe it’s just my luck, but I’ve rarely been in a Hagatna Post Office line that didn’t take at least a half an hour to get to “the counter;” and, a few days ago, I was in line for an hour and a half only to find that I had two pieces of “junk mail.”

Perhaps the Guam Postmaster believes we Agat box holders are being compensated for our troubles by not being charged for our “boxes.” However, I, and I’m sure many others, would gladly pay the full box fee just to have our Agat line back.

But of course, what we really want back is our post office. Maybe one of those faces on all the new campaign signs in Hagat will be smart enough to see how to pick up an easy eight hundred votes. I can guarantee at least one.