Honolulu – Women from Remote America Guam If the Supreme Court overturns the precedent that established the nation’s abortion rights in the United States, the Northern Mariana Islands may have to go further than other Americans to terminate a pregnancy.
Hawaii is the closest U.S. state where abortion is legal under local laws. Even so, Honolulu is 3,800 miles from Los Angeles—50 percent further than Boston is from Los Angeles.
“For many people who are seeking abortion care, it’s not as good as being on the moon,” said Vanessa L Williams, an attorney active with People’s Choice in Guam.
Abortion is already difficult Guama small but heavy Catholic island of about 170,000 people in southern Japan.
The last doctor who performed a surgical abortion there retired in 2018. Two Guam-licensed doctors living in Hawaii see patients virtually and mail them medical abortion pills. But this alternative is only available until 11 weeks gestation.
Now, even this limited telehealth option risks disappearing.
A recently leaked draft opinion suggests the Supreme Court may overturn the milestone roe v. Wade decided and allowed individual states to ban abortion. Abortion rights advocates say about half of them are likely to do so. Oklahoma took the lead on Wednesday when the state’s governor signed a measure banning all abortions with few exceptions.
All three U.S. territories in the Pacific— GuamBans are also possible in the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, according to a 2019 report from the Center for Reproductive Rights. No one has legal protections for abortion, and they can reinstate the old abortion ban or enact a new one, the report said.
Traveling to the nearest state that allows abortion—Hawaii or the U.S. West Coast—is daunting for many women.
direct flights from Guam It takes nearly eight hours to get to Honolulu. Only one commercial airline operates this route. A recent online search showed the cheapest round-trip airfare in late May was $1,500.
Williams said a lot Guam Residents need vacation time, hotel rooms and rental cars to get abortions, adding to the cost.
Hawaii legalized abortion in 1970, three years earlier roe. States today allow abortion until the fetus can survive outside the womb. After that, it is legal if the patient’s life or health is at risk.
It would be faster to fly to Asian countries that allow abortion, but some reproductive rights advocates Guam Said they hadn’t heard of anyone doing it. First, it needs a passport, which many people don’t have, says Kiana Yabut of Famalao’an Rights.
no roe, Guam A 1990 abortion ban could be reinstated. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the law unconstitutional in 1992, but it was never repealed.
James Cantor, Guam Deputy Attorney General, upon inquiry Guam Senators said this month that if existing abortion laws in individual states and territories would “become laws of the land,” roe was overthrown.
But Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said the Ninth Circuit permanently banned the 1990 law, which meant that GuamThe attorney general must ask the local U.S. District Court to lift the injunction before enforcement can begin.
The 32-year-old statute makes it a felony for a doctor to perform the procedure unless it is to save the woman’s life or prevent a serious danger to her health, certified by two independent doctors, or to end an ectopic pregnancy, which is dangerous in the An abnormal pregnancy that occurs outside the womb.
This makes it a misdemeanor for a woman to have an abortion or for anyone to request or advise her to do so.
The 21-member unicameral legislature unanimously approved the ban after then-Archbishop Anthony Apuron threatened in a TV interview to expel any Catholic senator who voted against it. All but one senator are Catholic, but most said they were unaware of the threat.
The Guam legislature has been considering additional measures to restrict abortion. This month, it held hearings on a bill that mimics a new Texas law that would ban abortion once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks. The Texas law, which has so far withstood legal challenges, puts enforcement in the hands of ordinary citizens through litigation rather than criminal prosecution.
“So you choose. What do you want? Because for me, no matter what, I won. No matter what, the people won. Either way, the anti-abortion movement is going to have a major victory anyway,” he Say.
The possibility that abortion could become more difficult to obtain Guam Mona McManus, executive director of the Island Haven Pregnancy Center, said that has prompted some nonprofits to come together to increase support for pregnant women in need.
Her organization opposes abortion, offering free pregnancy tests, prenatal and parenting classes, and information on adoption and abortion. It recently formed an “integrated services group” with other nonprofits that can help secure housing, foster care for teenage mothers, adoption and other services.
Director of Women’s Affairs Jayne Flores Guam The government agency believes that if residents can still get medical abortions from off-island, if roe was overthrown.but she Wondering if the legislature would also ban it.
“When did you start checking people’s mail?” she Say.
In the Atlantic, lawmakers in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico are considering legislation to ban abortions from 22 weeks, or when doctors determine the fetus is viable, with the only exception that the woman’s life is in danger. That’s roughly in line with most U.S. state law, though more restrictive than the current status of Puerto Rico, which has no term limits.
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