Access to abortion in U.S. territories post-Dobbs is just as difficult as before, and those concerns aren’t even a discussion within the mainstream reproductive rights movement
by Cecille Joan Avila
November 7th, 2022
In June, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively eliminating the federal right to abortion, but in Guam, it’s been four years since the last surgical abortion provider retired, leaving the small island territory without anyone who can perform the procedure. Pregnant people seeking an abortion can either receive abortifacients by mail, or, if they are beyond the timeframe where it’s possible to have a medication abortion, they have to travel to Hawai‘i. That is only feasible if they have the means to—and many do not.
For many in U.S. territories, getting an abortion hasn’t just depended on the procedure being legal. People have had to rely on community networks and whatever resources were available to get or pay for an abortion. The common factor is that in U.S. territories, they need to know the right people to ask for assistance, information, and resources, which is ultimately an unsustainable way to access a key component of reproductive health.
Ella Lee, Rachel Looker, USA TODAY
Aug. 11, 2022
The reproductive rights of Americans across the country were thrown into question with the Supreme Court's decision to dismantle the landmark case Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to have an abortion. But people residing in the continental United States alone weren't the only U.S. citizens affected.
Without constitutional protection of abortion rights, the legislatures
of U.S. territories are able to decide for themselves whether abortion access
is guaranteed, and to what extent, unless Congress intervenes.
"People in Guam were already living in a post-Roe world," an ACLU deputy director said. "This is what we will see again if extremist politicians enact new abortion bans and force women into second-class status."
Aug 10, 2022
By Claire Wang
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had made abortion a constitutionally protected right, could have a chilling effect on reproductive rights in Guam.
Advocates say women have already been living under a de facto ban in the largely Catholic U.S. Pacific Island territory and fear it could get more restrictive.
By Audrey Mcavoy, The Associated Press
Fri., May 27, 2022
HONOLULU (AP) — Women from the remote U.S. territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands will likely have to travel farther than other Americans to terminate a pregnancy if the Supreme Court overturns a precedent that established a national right to abortion in the United States.
Hawaii is the closest U.S. state where abortion is legal under local law. Even so, Honolulu is 3,800 miles (6,100 kilometers) away — about 50% farther than Boston is from Los Angeles.
John O'Connor | The Guam Daily
May 2, 2022
There have been 11 abortions performed in Guam from January through March of this year, all induced via medicine, according to data obtained by The Guam Daily Post. The listed facility is the Queen's University Medical Group Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic in Hawaii.
The data doesn't explicitly state that the abortions were administered via telemedicine but the only women's health providers with the Queen's University Medical Group who hold valid licenses to practice in Guam, are Dr. Shandhini Raidoo and Dr. Bliss Kaneshiro.
Hawaii Public Radio | By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER - Associated Press
Published September 24, 2021
Guam’s government is appealing a judge’s ruling that removed a barrier to women
in the U.S. territory accessing telemedicine abortions.
American Civil Liberties Union attorneys fighting for abortion access on Guam
said the appeal is alarming because it comes as the island is grappling with
the deadliest wave of the pandemic.
BY MARIA DOLOJAN, Teen Vogue
MARCH 17, 2021
In 2019, when news broke that a 12 year-old girl in my island community on Guam was raped and impregnated, reality set in for me and many women and girls. It was the first time some of us realized that we did not have any abortion providers in Guam, and it would take extraordinary measures for someone from our island to get an abortion. She would have to fly thousands of miles to Hawai‘i — and because she likely comes from a poor family who does not have the financial means to pursue abortion services elsewhere, she would not able to end the pregnancy.
It was a wakeup call.
It’s been impossible to get an abortion on the island since 2018, and the closest legal clinic is in Hawaiʻi
Michelle Broder Van Dyke in Honolulu
Wed 10 Mar 2021
Guam has taken a significant step toward restoring abortion access, after the ACLU scored a victory in a lawsuit that seeks to ensure residents of the US territory can turn to remote healthcare providers for abortion medication.
Getting an abortion on Guam has been impossible since 2018, when the last abortion doctor retired and moved off the island. Before then, at least 200 abortions occurred on Guam every year. Today, accessing the closest legal abortion clinic requires a flight to Hawaiʻi, an expensive and difficult undertaking especially during a pandemic.
The ACLU is suing the US territory over restrictive laws that block people from accessing telemedicine medication abortions
Michelle Broder Van Dyke in Honolulu
Mon 22 Feb 2021
Getting an abortion on Guam, a remote US territory in the Pacific Ocean, has never been simple. Before 2016 there were only two abortion doctors on the entire island, and anti-abortion protesters would often stand outside their clinics with signs.
But since 2018, it has been impossible. That year Guam lost its last abortion provider when Dr William Freeman retired and moved away, and the doctor who took over refused to conduct them. This means that the closest US abortion clinic is now in Hawaiʻi, an eight-hour and $1,000 flight away. The number of abortions on Guam dropped from more than 200 a year in 2017 to zero.
Guam Catholic group protests recruitment of abortion doctors
by The Associated Press
Posted Jun 15, 2019
HAGATNA, Guam — A Catholic group is protesting the governor of Guam’s plan to recruit abortion providers to the U.S. territory where no doctors are currently willing to terminate pregnancies.
The Pacific Daily News reported Friday that Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero’s recruitment idea has drawn criticism and support from residents.