Pages

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

FROM ABORTION HAVEN TO NO ABORTIONS - GUAM. THE REST OF THE STORY.

By Tim Rohr

For nearly 30 years our “Catholic” island of Guam was the abortion capital of the nation in terms of providing the fewest legal protections for the unborn. A friend and I discovered this sad fact when we compared Guam’s abortion laws to a state by state study published by Americans United for Life in 2008. 

Compared to all 50 states and other U.S. Territories, Guam had the fewest laws regulating abortion; in fact, only two: 1) only physicians could perform abortions, and 2) abortions were supposed to be reported (to GMH Medical Records). 

After the Supreme Court decisions in Webster v Reproductive Health Services (1989) and Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992), states began enacting legislation that increasingly regulated abortion such as restricting the use of state funds, requiring informed consent and parental consent (for minors), requiring abortion providers to have local hospital admitting privileges, and mandating normal medical care for babies who survive an abortion. But Guam did nothing. Why?

The short story is this. 

In 1990, then-Governor Joseph Ada signed into a law a bill banning abortions on Guam. The law was doomed to fail as it directly violated Roe, but Ada wanted to use it as an issue to advance Guam’s sovereignty. 

The bill probably never would have reached the governor’s desk but for then-Archbishop Apuron’s threat to excommunicate any senator who didn’t vote for it. The bill passed unanimously, perhaps because no legislator wanted to go against the archbishop, and perhaps because they knew it would be quickly challenged and found unconstitutional (which it was), so they could vote for it and avoid the heat.

Paradoxically, the passage of the bill and its enactment into a short-lived law (it lasted 4 days), turned Guam into an abortion-providers paradise for the next three decades. Here’s how it happened.

The pro-aborts sued Governor Ada (GovGuam). GovGuam lost and the suit cost the people of Guam a couple million bucks. Now “gun shy” about future abortion related legislation, legislators stayed away from the issue for nearly thirty years. 

During that time there was no shortage of pro-life marches, waves, prayer rallies, public rosaries, sign holding, etc. But Guam’s abortion industry marched on, racking up (according to the late Senator Elizabeth Arriola - Legislative Daily Journal, March 8, 1990) 400-600 plus abortions a year. (Actually no one knows for sure because the abortion reporting law was never policed or enforced.)

Back to 2008. After discovering that “Catholic” Guam was the most dangerous place in the nation for the unborn, a friend and I decided to do something about it. And the first thing we did was to make sure that our efforts had NOTHING to do with “The Church.” 

WE HAD OUR REASONS

First, we had long since sensed that Archbishop Apuron was severely morally compromised, and that any connection to him relative to an effort to curb abortion on Guam was self-defeating. This was in 2008, still several years before the onset of the events that would eventually lead to Apuron’s permanent ouster in 2019 by the pope himself. 

Second, we could see that Apuron had surrounded himself with certain actors who - in our view - appeared to care more about cultivating the archbishop’s favor than curbing abortion.

Third, it was Apuron’s own reckless use of power (and abuse of the people’s respect for the Church), which led to the legal fiasco that led to the killing of thousands of babies over the next thirty years. Interestingly, while Apuron had no compunction about his chest pounding in the legislative hall, his argument for the bill was NOT rooted in Catholic teaching  (i.e. the direct killing of an innocent human being is always gravely contrary to the moral law), but on what was essentially an anti-colonial argument: “our struggle to protect the sanctity of life is tantamount to the preservation of our cultural heritage.” (Asian/Pacific Islander American Women - A Historical Anthology, pg 374.)

And Fourth, and this was the most important reason, we knew that the long-knives of the pro-aborts were laying in wait to destroy anything that smelled like a religious argument against abortion. In a culture where the church had held such sway for generations, the default position on almost every moral matter was to look to "The Church." But by 2008, it was clear to us that such a position would make us sitting ducks for their well-rehearsed (but false) argument for “separation of church and state.”

In fact, it went further than that. The pro-aborts were not only laying in wait for the religious argument, they were taking the initiative to make it about religion before there was any religious opposition at all. 

This is quite evident in the international media coverage of our governor’s current search for an abortion provider to come to Guam. In almost every story there is mention of Guam being a “Catholic” island, which is meant to suggest that Catholicism is the reason Guam currently has no abortion provider. 

The tactic here is right out of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” “Pick a target and freeze it” is the primary mode of operation for the abortion LEFT;  that is: make it about religion and then freeze it with slogans like: “don’t impose your religion on me,” “separation of church and state,” “you can’t legislate morality,” etc. 

The fact, of course, is that nothing could be further from the truth. As already mentioned, despite our “Catholicism,” for nearly three decades Guam was the easiest place in the nation to procure an abortion. And, once we began to get the data, it became clear that, year after year, it was women identifying themselves as Chamorro who counted for two-thirds of the abortions. Given that Guam is 80% Catholic, that means that it was mostly Catholics who were getting abortions. 


So how did we go from an abortion haven to no abortion providers, and if the data is correct, no abortions on Guam? 

In 2008, a friend and I founded The Esperansa Project. Its aim was to reduce abortions on Guam through incremental pro-life legislation. Not that we had any hope that such legislation would ever be entertained by the legislature let alone enacted into law, or even if enacted, ever enforced, but the legislative process would give us the public platform to “turn the light on.” 

By “turn the light on,” we were proceeding on the fact that we knew that where abortion is hidden, abortion is tolerated. The fact is that abortion is very ugly business. There is no doubt that whatever is cut, sucked, or forced out of the womb is a child. And it looks like a child from the earliest weeks of pregnancy. 

We also took our cue from John Paul II. In Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life), the pope had opened the door for an incremental approach to immoral laws when he wrote: 

73….when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects. 

Due to Roe v Wade, it is “not possible to overturn or completely abrogate” abortion, but thanks to the already mentioned cases (Webster and Casey) and the more recent Carhart v Gonzalez (2007) - which upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, the door was open to move forward on incremental legislation. 

And so we did. The opposition was vicious and the fight was often nasty, but by 2015, we had seen eight of our legislative efforts signed into law. And in hindsight, we believe that our strategy to NOT LET the pro-aborts paint us as “religious” is what eventually won the day. 

Our belief is that abortion is so wrong, so ugly, so inhuman, so contrary to natural law, and that it is so scientifically demonstrable that this is a child, that there was never a need to make it about religion. That is not to say that we did not pray. 

Ultimately, our belief is that the abortion war, at root, is spiritual warfare wherein all the forces of Heaven and Hell are warring over the womb. But the facts show that making a public display of religion in battling abortion not only does not work, it has handed the pro-aborts the hammer to beat us with with one hand while they tear children from their mothers’ wombs with the other. 

I cannot say that our incremental legislation strategy is the reason there are no longer any abortion providers on Guam. However, I do remember a physician saying at one of the public hearings for one of our bills that “if this keeps up (incremental legislation), eventually there will be no one here to do abortions.” 





NOTES:


From 2008 to 2017, the years we were actually able to access abortion records, 2652 abortions, or an average of 295 oer year were performed. Using the average and dating the total back to 1990, the total number of abortions under the Apuron bishopric, was 7,695 dead babies, two thirds of whom were Chamorro.

Vivian Loyloa Dames, in “Chamorro Women, Self-Determination, and the Politics of Abortion on Guam (Asian/Pacific Islander American Women - A Historical Anthology, pg. 371) notes that Lou Leon Guerero was the only Chamorro to oppose the 1990 legislation.

Also, in the same book: "Both Anita Arriola (the attorney for the abortionists) and Lou Leon Guerrero...graduated from Academy of Our Lady..." (Pg. 374); "Lou also attributes her becoming pro-choice to her Catholic education, which, she says, helped women like Anita and her to become strong, unafraid to speak out about their beliefs." (Pg. 375),  "The pro-choice advocates drew stenth from the encouragement received behind the scenes from other women, including nuns, who could not express their support publicly..."

GUAM SOCIETY OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGISTS, Guam Nurses Association;  The Reverend Milton H. Cole, Jr.;  Laurie Konwith;  Edmund A. Griley, M.D.;  William S. Freeman, M.D.;  and John Dunlop, M.D.;  on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, and all their women patients, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Joseph F. ADA, in his personal and official capacities, et al., Defendants-Appellants.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

MICHELLE AREMENTA TRIES...

Michelle did a good job here, but she didn't give KUAM the story it was looking for (controversy with the Catholic Church). So they cut her most important comments. 

NOTE: The sad fact is that 80% of this island is Catholic. And this island elected the most openly pro-abortion governor ever. So why is KUAM and the rest of the media trying to make this about the  Catholic Church vs a pro-abortion governor? 

For now, they are one and the same. And they have been for a very long time. 


TIM ROHR W RAY GIBSON ON THE POINT. JUNE 12, 2019



From the 2016 Abortion Report. Every year, it's the same story.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

CNA: GUAM GOVERNOR WANTS TO EXPAND ABORTION

Guam governor wants to expand abortion, but local doctors are unwilling



Hagatna, Guam, Jun 9, 2019 / 04:24 am (CNA).- The government of the island of Guam is offering waivers and discounts for contraception through a public health clinic, and the territory’s governor has said she wants to find a doctor willing to perform abortions, after the retirement of the island’s last abortionist.

Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero, a former nurse who took office in January, recently expressed her wish to expand abortion access in the state, but no doctors on the island are willing to perform abortions. CONTINUED

Saturday, June 8, 2019

UK INDEPENDENT: GUAM'S FIRST FEMALE GOVERNOR BATTLES FOR BETTER ABORTION ACCESS

Guam’s first female governor battles for better abortion access in heavily Catholic US territory


Lourdes Leon Guerrero vigorously defended abortion rights as she campaigned to become the first female governor of Guam. She won, but now no doctors are willing to perform the procedure she fought so hard to defend.

The last abortion provider in the heavily Catholic US territory retired in May 2018. That is forcing women seeking to end their pregnancies to fly thousands of miles from the remote Pacific island — a costly and sometimes prohibitive step. CONTINUED

Friday, June 7, 2019

TIME: THERE ARE NO ABORTION PROVIDERS IN GUAM

There Are No Abortion Providers in Guam — the Governor Wants That to Change


(HONOLULU) — Lourdes Leon Guerrero vigorously defended abortion rights as she campaigned to become the first female governor of Guam. She won, but now no doctors are willing to perform the procedure she fought so hard to defend. The last abortion provider in the heavily Catholic U.S. territory retired in May 2018. That’s forcing women seeking to end their pregnancies to fly thousands of miles from the remote Pacific island — a costly and sometimes prohibitive step. CONTINUED

AP: ABORTIONS ARE LEGAL IN GUAM, BUT DOCTORS WON'T PERFORM THEM

Abortions are legal in Guam, but doctors won’t perform them


HONOLULU (AP) — Lourdes Leon Guerrero vigorously defended abortion rights as she campaigned to become the first female governor of Guam. She won, but now no doctors are willing to perform the procedure she fought so hard to defend.

The last abortion provider in the heavily Catholic U.S. territory retired in May 2018. That’s forcing women seeking to end their pregnancies to fly thousands of miles from the remote Pacific island — a costly and sometimes prohibitive step. CONTINUED

CNN: ABORTION IS LEGAL IN GUAM, BUT...

Abortion is legal in Guam. But the closest provider is a long flight away


(CNN) As states move to restrict abortion and access to it, women in the US territory of Guam already face a greater burden than crossing state lines for the procedure.

They must fly a long way, with Hawaii -- more than seven hours away by plane -- the closest US destination where they can get the Constitutionally protected medical service. CONTINUED

Monday, June 3, 2019

PDN: CONCERN OVER LACK OF ABORTION PROVIDER RAISED

Concern over lack of abortion provider raised

While states in the mainland are challenging access to abortions through legislation, access to abortions on Guam has been restricted due to sheer circumstance.

Abortions are legal on Guam, but since June last year none have been reported to the Office of Vital Statistics. CONTINUED

Saturday, June 1, 2019

PDN: NO ABORTION PROVIDERS ON GUAM

No abortion providers on Guam


For years there were two doctors who performed abortions on Guam. One retired in 2016; the second doctor retired last month, leaving the island without any physicians who will perform abortions.

The lack of abortion providers on island may force women to go to great lengths or go through great risk to terminate unwanted pregnancies, according to attorney Anita Arriola, a longtime advocate for abortion rights. CONTINUED

FROM ABORTION HAVEN TO NO ABORTIONS - GUAM. THE REST OF THE STORY.

By Tim Rohr For nearly 30 years our “Catholic” island of Guam was the abortion capital of the nation in terms of providing the fewest l...