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Calvo calls senators into special session

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was one of the very first things he did after being sworn-in as Guam's chief executive, but after languishing in what he calls "legislative limbo" for two years, Governor Eddie Calvo is calling lawmakers into special session. At issue - Bill 52, which is legislation advising women with unwanted pregnancies know of the alternative options to abortion.

Just today it was finally reported out of committee, but pushes it forward to be heard on session floor right before the general election.

It was an all-too familiar scene today at the Guam Legislature. "We're here to bring an awareness to the Guam Legislature that we would like to have this hearing for Bill 52, because so far it hasn't really been exposed," said Patricia Perry. And just like they've done before when Bill 52 first had its public hearing nearly two years ago, the Catholic Pro-Life Committee in Guam hope lawmakers move quickly in finally having the measure also known as the Women's Reproductive Health Information Act of 2011 be heard on session floor before it expires by the end of the year.

Perry, who represented the organization today, said, "They always want to snuff it out and because it's coming up on an election, they want us to hold it off until after the election. But it's very essential that the voters know that abortion is very, bad issue and it's a bad law."

Bill 52 was introduced by Committee on Health chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. on behalf of Governor Calvo in January 2011 and was reported out of committee just today.  The committee voting sheet shows nine of his colleagues signing off, they are senators Adolpho Palacios, Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz, Tina Rose Muna Barnes, Tom Ada, Judi Guthertz, Rory Respicio, Tony Ada and Chris Duenas voting to pass with Senator Aline Yamashita voting to report out only.

Tired of the political games and stall tactics, Calvo called lawmakers into special session saying it's the perfect opportunity to address the bill. "We didn't want to politicize it, that's why we introduced it on my first month as governor. What has occurred is absolutely nothing," he said.

And while he's confused as to why there's been so many roadblocks, if he can save one life with this bill then it's accomplished what it set out to do. Ultimately he says the longer we wait, the longer injustice the people have to suffer. "I think it would not do justice to the people of Guam and more importantly not do justice to the women who need to get this information and it would not do justice to our unborn," he said.

Meanwhile Senator Rodriguez notes how he spoke with Speaker Judi Won Pat on the importance of hearing the bill before the end of the term where she had scheduled a session for the week of November 13 - after the general election - and had graciously agreed to ensure Bill 52 be placed on the next session agenda. The Guam Alliance for the Defense of the Unborn meanwhile sent out an inquiry to Guam's senatorial candidates today on their position not particularly on Bill 52, but on informed consent legislation.

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