An open letter to the governor of Guam

By Peter R. Sgro, Jr., esq.

Merry Christmas, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero!

Celebrating Christmas, we are yet again blessed that most of us are able to call Guam our home. Surrounded by some of the most creative, intelligent hard working and honest people, I look forward to a prosperous Guam in 2023.

Gov. Leon Guerrero, the new year is days away. Opportunities will present themselves including various economic initiatives through public-private endeavors. Our community is ready for economic prosperity and the beginnings of the development of a healthcare economy of Guam. I only foresee this working if we can work collaboratively in accordance with all laws applicable to those that do business on Guam especially those doing business with the military and those doing business with the government of Guam.

Governor, as a former senator, you are trained to first look at the legislative intent of any current or past legislation to get a better understanding of the legislature’s intent. For more than 14 months before the government of the state of Texas ever enacted the Texas Heartbeat Act, the governor of Texas, the Texas Senate, the Texas attorney general and non-profit organizations all agreed it was their responsibility to fund state-wide education forums for its 39 million residents. These state-wide education forums proved to work, resulting in 17,500,000 women supporting the act. One of the reasons was the distinction that the Texas Heartbeat Act did not criminalize abortion. It was a preferred alternative to any legislation that would send women to jail for getting one done.

Guam is in that predicament today, where we are days away from the inauguration of the new attorney general, who has vowed to follow the law and seek the lifting of an injunction placed on a 1990 law that still is on the books. Once that injunction is lifted on the late Sen. Elizabeth Arriola’s anti-abortion statute, any person (including the pregnant mother) who procures an abortion, or aids and abets in such an abortion, can face third degree felony charges. Why not support the Guam Heartbeat Act, which does not subject anyone to any criminal action?

Governor, it took close to seven years before an attorney in Texas first wrote the Texas Heartbeat Act. It took me close to 15 months before first starting to write it as a referendum.

Governor, I ask that prior to you making a final decision on the disposition of “The Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022,” if we can meet for no longer than an hour. As it’s drafter, I want to inform you about the fact that statutes like this proposed one have been tested and found very much constitutional. As a matter of fact, this statute empower people. I also want to share ideas for a public education campaign for our people on this matter.

The Late Senator Elizabeth Arriola

I knew the late Sen. Arriola well. She was close friends with my parents. If she was alive today, she would not want to send women to jail, given the new information science has prevailed upon us, and the historic changes in the law of the land. Her Guam law is now more 30 years old. There were not very many options back then. Medical technological advances have blossomed over the past 20 years. Vetoing “The Guam Heartbeat Act of 2022″would result in consequences I believe you firmly oppose. I am willing to answer any questions you and your staff would like to ask me.

And in the spirit of Christmas and the mandate you have received from our people, I stand ready to work with your administration on issues ranging from the protection of babies and children to the growth of our economy.

God bless you, governor.

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