Parkinson bill lets Legislature vote on abortion legality

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

A new piece of legislation that would protect abortion rights in Guam was introduced by a Democrat lawmaker on May 3. 

Democrat Sen. William Parkinson introduced Bill 111-37, which he said would protect abortion rights in Guam.

“The main emphasis for doing this was that the Guam Legislature needs to make these decisions by passing it on as a legislative submission to the people, the legislature is abdicating its responsibility on making hard decisions when that is our job,” said Parkinson. “Well the way it will protect abortion rights on the island is it will protect doctors and make sure that doctors aren’t being pulled from providing medical services by removing the … on how they give abortions to people.”

Parkinson told the Pacific News Center 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.

Parkinson shared the legislative submission on this issue is unnecessary.

Meanwhile, PNC reached out to Fisher, who said, “He took the language and it is identical to my bill.”

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

He added, “I appreciate what Sen. Parkinson is doing. I am pro choice but I don’t want to make this about me. I don’t think Parkinson’s bill will go far enough. I want to ensure constitutional rights are preserved in the best possible way we can. I want to give the best possible foundation. The right will remain long after we are gone. I look forward to the people deciding on this issue.”

Parkinson responded to Fisher’s statements.

“Well it is identical to his bill except the only thing is we don’t do a legislative submission and vote up and down by the legislature,” Parkinson said. “I took his bill as a template and starting point so if he feels that it doesn’t go far enough then we can certainly address that through the amendment process.”

These legislative acts are 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.