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Church asks Guam legislature to vote on Heartbeat Act

Archbishop Michael Byrnes

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Archbishop Michael Byrnes urged Guam senators to vote on a bill that would place restrictions on access to abortion on Guam before the 36th Guam Legislature ends its term.

Byrnes wrote to Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes asking that

The Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022 be placed on the legislative agenda for December.

"No matter what position one holds regarding this important legislation involving the lives of innocent unborn children, the fact remains that hundreds of people devoted much time and effort discussing the act, also known as Bill 29-36," the Archdiocese of Agana said in a statement.

"They did so in front of and with esteemed members of this legislature in two separate public hearings through live, oral testimonies as well as

written messages seven months ago last May," the statement reads.

Modeled after stateside anti-abortion laws, the Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022 prohibits doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. It provides exceptions for medical emergencies “where a pregnant woman would lose her life or her health would be severely impaired.”


The bill was introduced Sen. Telena Cruz Nelson, who did not see another term in the legislature. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for Guam's congressional seat.

The legislature has paused discussion on the divisive bill, which was a political hot potato for candidates seeking office in the last elections.

"That a portion of our senators will no longer hold office in the upcoming 37

the Guam Legislature should not negate the earnest work that they devoted in reviewing all commentaries," the archdiocese said. "They are the appropriate group of lawmakers to act on this bill. Most especially, the efforts of the people to express their viewpoints should not be disregarded."

Byrnes urged Muna Barnes to reconsider her early position to skip the bill.

"We urge all lawmakers to support its placement on the agenda and to vote for its passage," the archdiocese said.

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