In a lengthy letter to the Daily Post on Feb. 18, Dr. Ellen Bez attacked Guam’s abortion laws for forcing women to seek off-island abortion providers.
None of Guam’s abortion laws force women to seek off-island abortion providers. What forces women to seek off-island abortion providers are doctors like Bez who refuse to provide abortions right here at home despite publicly advocating for abortion services, well, “right here at home.”
Bez tries to get around this contradiction by blaming the Catholic Church, the usual straw man. But unless you want to count the four or five people who stand out in front of a particular clinic in Tamuning once a week with signs and rosaries, the Catholic Church is wholly absent from this matter.
In fact, it was Catholic senators who saw to it that Guam remained the easiest place in the nation to procure an abortion for more than 30 years. And it is Catholics Lou Leon Guerrero and Jayne Flores, who, while presenting themselves to receive Holy Communion without censure, are Guam’s most powerful and visible promoters of abortion.
So much for the Catholic Church being the boogeyman here. In fact, a recent Pew Research poll demonstrated that 48% of Catholics support abortion for any reason. And given that local abortion reports show that more than two-thirds of abortions are procured by women identifying their ethnicity as “Chamorro” (and thus probably Catholic), the facts on the ground line up with the poll.
Perhaps the biggest demonstration of Guam’s acceptance of abortion is our recent election of a governor who has been Guam’s biggest and most public proponent of abortion for more than three decades, who, in fact, credits her pro-abortion beliefs to her Catholic education:
"Lou also attributes her becoming pro-choice to her Catholic education. … The pro-choice advocates (referring also to Anita Arriola) drew strength from the encouragement received behind the scenes from other women, including nuns, who could not express their support publicly …" - Vivian Loyola Dames, in “Chamorro Women, Self-Determination, and the Politics of Abortion on Guam,” (Asian/Pacific Islander American Women - A Historical Anthology)
Indeed, in a June 2019 email to Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, Jayne Flores, the governor’s director of the Office of Women’s Affairs, wrote: “… Over half of the voting public cast ballots in favor of our first female governor … Lourdes Leon Guerrero, in November 2018, despite her openly pro-choice stance. So there is hope.”
But back to Bez. If Bez believes all she stated in her letter to the Post then Bez only has to hang out a shingle saying “Abortions Here!” But she won’t. And she won’t NOT because Bez fears the four or five people on her sidewalk, but because Bez and other doctors know what a filthy business abortion is and don’t want their names on it.
So what the ACLU lawsuit is aiming at isn’t the ability to “telemedicine” abortions, but Guam’s abortion reporting law, which attaches the number of abortions to the name of the facility at which the abortion was performed.
And Bez is probably not sure she wants a sign that says “Abortions Here” on a building that purports to be a “birthing center.”
Tim Rohr is a resident of Agat