One key frustration for abortion activists right across North America has been the fact that even where abortion is legal, very few medical professionals are actually willing to perform abortions. This is true in Canada, where so-called “barriers” to abortion are often nothing more than a shortage of doctors who wish to kill rather than to heal, and it is true in the United States, where there is the additional factor of pressure from pro-life groups, which has frequently caused physicians to abandon the practice of abortion for less controversial work. And now the pro-abortion governor of Guam has run into the same problem:
Guam Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero has run into a serious obstacle in her desire to see abortion rights thrive on the island–doctors who refuse to perform the procedure. The U.S. territory, located in Micronesia in the western Pacific, is over 80% Catholic and no doctors have agreed to offer abortions since the island’s last abortion provider retired last year.
Abortion is legal in Guam up to 13 weeks, but doctors can deny the service unless there is a medical emergency. However, no abortions have been reported to Guam’s Office of Vital Statistics since last June. Women who terminate a pregnancy without a doctor’s aid could be charged with a felony.
Guerrero, Guam’s first female governor, advocated for expanding abortion rights during the campaign and continues to push for them in office. She told the Associated Press during a phone interview that, “I truly believe that women should have control over their own bodies,” adding, “I’m very sad and very nervous about what’s happening across the nation.”
Guerrero called Guam’s current abortion law “very restrictive” and is concerned that women who do not want to carry a pregnancy to term will seek out potentially life-threatening alternatives. She said, “I’m concerned about it going underground because then we can’t really control it, we can’t really monitor, we can’t really make sure that the women are doing it in an environment that is conducive to a healthy recovery. According to Time, Guerrero is working to recruit doctors to move to Guam and establish abortion clinics…
Women on Guam who desire abortions typically make the eight-hour flight to Hawaii. However, University of Hawaii professor and OBGYN Dr. Bliss Kaneshiro said that very few women from Guam have sought an abortion in Hawaii and that none of the procedures were elective. In speaking with Time Magazine, Dr. Kaneshiro expressed her displeasure with the lack of abortion providers in Guam and repeated the pro-choice mantra that abortion is a women’s health issue. “Abortion care is pretty basic care – we know that many women will need an abortion during the course of their reproductive years. We know that making abortion inaccessible doesn’t eliminate it, it forces women to seek unsafe measures to end a pregnancy.”
During last year’s campaign for Governor of Guam, former Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio took issue with Guerrero’s desire to expand abortion rights. He argued that “Life begins at conception, period, Ladies and gentlemen, right to life. We must protect every life.”
Abortion activists like to insist that they are “pro-choice” rather than “pro-abortion,” but one consistent indicator that this is not the case is that even where there appears to be very little demand for abortion, they never cease pushing for the expansion of abortion availability. In their worldview, there is no such thing as too many abortions—only too few. Thankfully, the majority of the residents of Guam do not appear to be interested in their governor’s crusade against the pre-born.