Bipartisan bill seeks to expand access to abortion on Guam
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Democratic Sen. William Parkinson today introduced a bill that would expand access to abortion on Guam by removing several prerequisites and requirements prior to obtaining and performing the procedure.
Bill 162-37, co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Tom Fisher, replaces Bill 160-37, which Parkinson has rescinded.
Bill 160-32 proposed to eliminate the requirement for in-person consultation between the doctor and the patient seeking abortion and to allow a remote process.
The replacement bill would strike out more provisions from Guam’s Reproductive Health Act, removing the requirement for physicians to provide women seeking abortion with printed materials containing medical information related to the procedure, prenatal, childbirth and neonatal care programs that are available on island, paternal obligations and adoption options.
Parkinson introduced the legislation following the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to reinstate a Guam law—previously voided by a federal judge—that requires in-person consultation prior to abortion.
According to the Archdiocese of Agaña, pro-life advocates scored only a partial victory when an appeals court reinstated a barrier to abortion on Guam.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court quashed Roe v. Wade and ruled that policy decisions on abortion must be left to individual states and territories.
Parkinson said the current landscape of reproductive rights on Guam has “raised concerns about the erosion of individual liberties and the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities.”
"I firmly believe that every person should have the right to make informed decisions about their own body and healthcare," Parkinson said.
He said the bill would repeal “outdated and harmful laws that place unnecessary obstacles in the way of accessing abortion services” and remove “a lot of unnecessary procedural requirements that abortion patients go through when having a consultation.”
"Restrictive abortion laws have disproportionately affected our island community, impeding their ability to access safe and legal healthcare services,” Parkin said. “It is imperative that we take action to ensure that all individuals have the freedom to make the best choices for themselves and their families."
“Not only would it allow for virtual medical consultations for those seeking abortion, but it also removes the requirement that physicians must inform the patient of unnecessary information such as the possible sex of the fetus, the anatomical makeup of the fetus, and other information that aims to essentially guilt-trip a patient into not getting an abortion.”
He said the proposed legislation was “carefully crafted with input from legal scholars and advocacy groups” and would “create a more inclusive and compassionate approach to reproductive health.”
By removing unnecessary barriers to abortion services, the senator aims to empower individuals to make decisions that are aligned with their personal values and circumstances.
“In a world where reproductive rights are being attacked more and more every single day, it is important to show our community that there are leaders on both sides of the spectrum who are willing to fight for them,” Parkinson said.
“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this bill, which provides a significant step to protecting the reproductive rights of both women and men,” Fisher said. “I congratulate Senator Parkinson for having the foresight of bringing this forward.”