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Legislation amends informed consent law

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It was about a year ago when informed consent legislation was passed by lawmakers and eventually signed into law. And despite the hurdles pro-lifers had overcome, the law has still yet to be fully implemented.

It was in November last year when the Women's Reproductive Health Information Act of 2012 was signed into public law. The measure mandated no abortion be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of a woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed except in the case of medical emergencies.

"Well, informed consent actually puts pictures of fetal development in front of the person seeking abortion," said Tom Rohr with The Esperansa Project.

The measure was only passed last year but it was actually introduced years before back when Governor Eddie Calvo was first inaugurated into office. And while getting the bill signed was a major step forward, the law has yet to be fully implemented. Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. explained, saying, "There was a section in the law that required the Department of Public Health to go through the administrative process, the triple-A 0848 to get the materials that are presented to a women prior to having an abortion 0853however we're in receipt of a letter data from earlier this year from the Attorney General's Office indicating that these materials are not and cannot be defined as a rule of regulation so with that we had moved forward and amend the law so that we can finally get this informed consent implemented."

The Committee on Health chair says Bill 193 introduced just yesterday does just that. And for pro-lifers like Rorh, he says Bill 193 is legislation he can support and hopes swift action is taken. In fact, The Esperansa Project has since reached out to senators on their support in which Rohr says seven have responded with written commitments. He further states informed consent laws are gateway legislation. "We can't overturn Roe V. Wade, but the Supreme Court has opened up a way for a pro-life legislation to be implemented that can provide certain protections," he said.

And while the Department of Public Health is tasked with providing the information pamphlets, Rohr says The Esperansa Project is willing and has already prepared booklets to be distributed if need be. "This booklet, will actually put a phone number in a person's hands that will give her an alternative to an abortion," he said.

We should add that Governor Eddie Calvo in his transmittal letter to the Legislature had indicated concerns over the provision added by lawmakers regarding the rule-making process of the Administrative Adjudication Act that was not in the original bill. 

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