Guam Governor Vetoes Bad Informed Consent Abortion Bill

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 13, 2010   |   2:22PM   |   Hagatna, Guam

Governor Felix Camacho of Guam has vetoed a bill that would have properly allowed women to know of abortion’s risks and alternatives before having one had it not been watered down with amendments.

Bill 54-30, also known as the Woman’s Reproductive Health Information Act of 2009, received approval from lawmakers after getting amendments based on recommendations from the attorney general’s office.

The bill was sent to the attorney general’s office in October for legal review by Sen. Frank Aguon Jr., chairman of the Committee on Economic Development, Health and Human Services and Judiciary, to ensure that the bill would stand up to constitutional legal challenges.

“Now that we have received the necessary opinion of the attorney general’s office, it will allow us to move forward,” said Sen. Aguon in a press release issued in November. “This legal guidance will be (of help) to lawmakers once the question of constitutionality is raised during the deliberation of Bill 54 before the legislative body.”

However, the Esperanza Project, which initially supported the measure, called on the Governor to veto the revised legislation and accused Democrats in the legislature of adding too many amendments watering down the intent of the legislation.

In his veto message, the Governor cited insufficient “informational requirements which would inform a woman’s decision whether to undergo an abortion.”

Project team leader Dr. Marjorie DeBenedictis said women considering abortion should receive all the information they need and Bill 54, had it not been amended, would have help them as it would address numerous concerns on how Guam abortion centers are conducting their business.

DeBenedictis accused Aguon and Democratic Sen. Rory Respicio, who chairs the Legislature’s Committee on Rules, Natural Resources and Federal, Foreign & Micronesian Affairs, of hurting the legislation.

Senator Eddie Calvo supported the measure as well before the amendments, and had said: “A child dies in the womb every day and a half.”

He urged the adoption of legislation to “provide accurate and important information to women considering an abortion, so they can be well informed of the potential harm, both medical and psychological, that result from an abortion.”