Residents speak up about abortion bill - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Residents speak up about abortion bill

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - As lawmakers head into session next week, it remains to be seen what bills will be discussed. However, following a favorable public hearing regarding Bill 323, which requires parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion), several in the island community hope this and similar bills see the light of day.

"We're not asking him or anybody else to be pro-life or pro-choice or whatever, we're just asking them to do their job and allow legislation to move forward," said Tim Rohr, referring to Committee on Health chairman Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. and other members of the Legislature regarding proper action on abortion regulation legislation. He hopes similar bills will see its day on session floor without being totally amended to a point where the intended legislation is basically destroyed.

Someone who can speak of that nature is Governor Eddie Calvo, who earlier this year introduced Bill 52, the Women's Reproductive Health Information Act, which was drastically amended.  In his address this morning, Governor Calvo noted how several bills he introduced aimed at reducing abortion on the island have been stalled in the legislature like no other measure has.

"Senators and members of the Rules Committee, it is beyond me how zoning bills get to the front of the agenda, yet legislation to protect the lives of innocent children have languished for months and years," he said. "I beg of you to prioritize your time. Every day that goes by without your action is another day where another child's life is at risk."

Calvo pleaded with senators to pass his bills along with Senator Rodriguez's into law when they head into session next week. Calvo's other related bill titled the unborn child protection act is still waiting on opinion from the attorney general before it moves forward with lawmakers. Rodriguez has since requested for them to be put back into his committee and will push for its original version. Like Governor Calvo, he hopes Bill 323 will be heard on session floor as well.  

"I cannot speak for anyone else in the Legislature, I can only speak for myself, but any legislation that I put forward, I'm going to make sure that we handle it from beginning to end and there's no difference from these legislations that I'm pushing through with Bill 323," he said.

Rohr admits every committee has the right to amend bills, but doesn't want action where language is completely ignored and replaced entirely and is passed off as the same exact bill to occur again. He hopes senators will follow their own rules and process and when it goes on session floor that it resembles the bill that was published for the community.

Committee on Rules chair Senator Rory Respicio is currently off-island but says a rules meeting will be held on Friday at which the session agenda for next week will be adopted.

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