The Ninth Circuit ruled that Hawaii doctors may no longer provide the abortion pill to their patients in Guam through telemedicine.
August 1, 2023
(CN) — A Ninth Circuit panel on Wednesday voided an injunction granted in 2021 that allowed Hawaii physicians to prescribe medication abortion to their patients in Guam without an in-person consultation.
The three-judge panel cited both the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision and Guam’s Women’s Reproductive Health Information Act in its opinion, authored by Judge Kenneth K. Lee.
The tiny U.S. territory in the western Pacific Ocean is thousands of miles from the nearest state, and has no resident doctors who perform abortions. Court decisions could cut access to pills, the only legal option left.
By David W. Chen
Photographs by Noriko Hayashi
June 26, 2023
For decades, the Pregnancy Control Clinic, tucked inside a squat, beige building around the corner from a bowling alley, handled most of the abortions on Guam, a tiny U.S. territory 1,600 miles south of Japan.
But the doctor who ran it retired seven years ago, and the clinic now appears abandoned. An old medical exam table stands near a vanity with a dislodged faucet, and a letter from Dr. Edmund A. Griley is taped to the front door: “My last day of seeing patients is November 18, 2016,” he wrote. “I recommend that you begin looking for a new physician as soon as possible.”
Case: Guam Society of OBGYNs v. Guerrero
March 24, 2023
HAGÅTÑA, Guam — A federal district court in Guam today denied Attorney General Douglas Moylan’s request that it lift a decades-old permanent injunction and allow a total abortion ban to take effect. This ruling means essential, life-saving abortion care will remain accessible on the island, and doctors and their patients will not face potential criminal prosecution for providing or accessing care.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and attorneys Anita Arriola and Vanessa Williams filed a brief earlier this month in opposition to reinstating the ban on behalf of three Guam-licensed physicians, including the only two physicians providing abortions to patients in Guam, and Famalao’an Rights, a Guam-based reproductive justice group
Guam is a hub for medical services in the region, often the first stop for patients seeking care before coming to Hawaii.
By Anita Hofschneider
Dec 23, 2022
This political moment feels familiar to Anita Arriola. Thirty-two years ago, the attorney filed a lawsuit to stop what would have been the most restrictive ban on abortion in the United States from going into effect in her home island of Guam.
It was a bill sponsored by her mother, then a local senator, and unanimously approved by Guam’s unicameral Legislature. Arriola had been a public interest attorney in San Francisco before returning home to the U.S. territory. She took on the case, despite the family tension and the threat of excommunication by Guam’s archbishop.
Dec. 16, 2022
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam's Legislature on Friday passed a bill prohibiting most abortions, a measure modeled after a new Texas law that leaves enforcement up to private citizen lawsuits instead of criminal prosecution.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, who favors abortion rights, is expected to veto the measure.
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.