Flores: Abortion already legal on Guam; hopes to work with lawmakers

Jayne Flores, the director of Guam Bureau of Women's Affairs, talks about abortion with the Pacific News Center on May 5. Photo by PNC's Isaiah Aguon

Jayne Flores, the director of Guam Bureau of Women’s Affairs, said that she hopes to work with Guam lawmakers on the matter of abortion.

“We appreciate the bills that have been introduced as there are a lot of things in play right now with regard to the issue of abortion,” said Flores, during an interview with the Pacific News Center.

This is in response to Bill 111-37, which was introduced on May 3 by Democrat Sen. William Parkinson. He said that this piece of legislation would protect abortion rights in Guam as the 37th Guam Legislature would be abdicating the decision on whether abortion should be legal on Guam.

Sen. William Parkinson. Photo by PNC’s Isaiah Aguon

“The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration stance is that the right to choose to have an abortion is a personal private healthcare choice,” Flores said. “We want to work with Sen. Parkinson and all lawmakers to protect that right for the people of Guam. We just would like to be able to work with all lawmakers.”

Parkinson told PNC that the bill was introduced in response to Republican Sen. Thomas Fisher’s Bill 106-37, also known as the “You Decide” legislation, which will allow the people of Guam to decide on whether abortion should be legal on Guam.

Fisher’s bill is a legislative submission, meaning it will go before the 37th Guam Legislature. If enacted, it will appear on the ballot at the next general election, scheduled for November of 2024. It was introduced on April 28 and is co-sponsored by Democrat Vice Speaker Tina Barnes.

Republican Sen. Thomas Fisher held a press conference for Bill 106-37 on May 1 at his office in Hagatna. Photo by PNC’s John Duenas

Both Flores and Parkinson have said that the legislative submission on this issue is unnecessary.

These legislative acts were introduced as Guam recently joined the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, a non-partisan coalition of U.S. Governors committed to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom in their jurisdictions.

Flores said this is good for the island’s healthcare providers.

“We just joined the alliance to protect that right and on Guam we also want to have a climate where Guam healthcare providers feel protected enough to offer people a full range of reproductive health options on Guam including the right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Flores pointed out that abortion is already legal on Guam.

“But the main thing to remember is that abortion is legal on Guam and we want to protect that right for people to be able to choose,” she said. 

Guam Public Law 31-20 allows an abortion to happen 13 weeks after the commencement of the pregnancy or within 26 weeks after the commencement of the pregnancy if the physician has reasonably determined necessary.