Esperansa Group lends support to bill - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Esperansa Group lends support to bill

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was introduced at the beginning of last year and now The Esperansa Group along with the Legislative Committee on Health and Human Services hope Bill 52, otherwise known as The Women's Reproductive Health Information Act of 2011, finally gets its day on session floor before it expires at the end of the year.

It's a measure that requires women with unwanted pregnancies be advised of the alternatives to abortion such as adoption services along with using their rights to seek financial assistance from the father of the child. If it sounds familiar, it's because Bill 52 was introduced back in January 2011. "What this bill does is for anyone who intends to have an abortion is given information on what procedures she's about to undertake and what the other options may be out there," said the legislation's author, Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr.

Bill 52 was introduced by Rodriguez on behalf of Governor Eddie Calvo. It had its public hearing last year, was substituted by the Committee on Rules, referred back to the committee then further substituted by the Committee on Health a second time. And with all the ups and downs the bill has had, The Esperansa Project's Tim Rohr hopes it's finally heard this year. "But the fact is the legislative term expires in the next couple of months and this bill just dies and we have to start from scratch again," he said.

Rorh has helped the Committee on Health with the supporting literature and had asked Senator Rodriguez to once again try to report it out of committee. This week, Rodriguez circulated the report receiving enough support, with eight of his colleagues signing-off. "It's one thing to get it out there in committee and its another thing to get it out on the floor and we'll wait for that to happen," he said.

Rohr meanwhile thinks it's best the bill be heard before the election, saying, "We've never had abortion as a true conversation here on Guam during an election cycle, we seem to bury it whereas on the national stage its always front and centered and we never get to talk about here."

Ultimately, he hopes to get the conversation started. "We've been trying over a long period time to get this in just on the floor to have an honest debate vote yes or no, up or down, just an honest debate," he said.

Rodriguez meanwhile says he doesn't want this to be political, telling KUAM News, "At least I don't want to make it a political issue. I just want to make sure it's done and look at why it's being done. It's the right thing to do."

Rodriguez adds he's not sure when session will be called.

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