Catholic Church condemns partial settlement of ACLU lawsuit

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Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes (PNC file photo)

The Catholic Church has released a statement reacting strongly against the partial settlement of an abortion lawsuit.

The statement comes after two Guam-licensed physicians, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and Guam-based attorney Vanessa L. Williams, secured a partial settlement in the January 2021 case that will restore abortion access in Guam.

The settlement ensures that one of the two laws challenged in the filing, a 1978 law that requires abortions be “performed” in a clinic or hospital, cannot be used to restrict access to medication abortion. Until now, ACLU stated that residents of Guam were not able to access abortion care without leaving the island and flying nearly 4,000 miles each way to Hawai‘i — or even further — just to receive care.

According to ACLU, the settlement clears the way for people in Guam to obtain medication abortion through telemedicine without having to leave the island.

Guam Archbishop Michael Byrnes, reacting to the settlement, said every person who has known the joy of seeing the beauty of a baby and hearing the laughter of one so precious should be saddened about the developments being thrust upon our island today.

“The fact of the matter is that a child in the womb is a living human being. Even abortion supporters acknowledge that. Their rights as human beings in the womb are no less important than those of the rest of us. It is therefore up to all of us to protect the most vulnerable and tiniest among us. Life is a gift from our Creator that none of us have a right to destroy,” Byrnes stated.

The ACLU case is not over yet and will continue, with arguments on March 18 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Guam regarding the second law challenged in the suit, which prevents patients from using telemedicine to obtain certain state-mandated information prior to an abortion.

Meanwhile, If you or someone you love would like to know more about alternatives to abortion, the archdiocese is recommending that you visit https://archagana.org/crisis-pregnancy-resources-1.

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