Bill 323-31: History


Bill 323-31, which would require parental consent for abortion, was reported out of the legislative committee chaired by Senator B.J. Cruz, on 12/13/11. A news report states that no changes were made to the measure.

The next step is for the bill to go to the Committee on Rules which will vote on whether or not to place it on the next legislative agenda and where it may also be amended. (The meeting is scheduled for Friday, 12/16/11.)

In regards to bills relating to greater regulation of Guam’s abortion industry, the record shows that, for those who support such legislation, the standing committee to which these bills are initially referred, is the least of their worries. The record shows that the real damage done to this type of legislation occurs when it reaches the Rules Committee which is chaired by Senator Rory Respicio.

In the case of Bill 54-30, which would have required informed consent for abortion, the bill was stripped of all the relevant informational requirements by the Committee on Rules and substituted on the floor during the legislative session of 11/26/10, and, in violation of legislative procedure, rammed through by Speaker Won Pat without a motion to accept the substitute bill on the floor. (For a full history go here.)

In the case of Bill 52-31, which also would have required informed consent for abortion, the bill was again stripped of all the relevant informational requirements, not by the Rules Committee, but by Senator Respicio himself, who had no authority to act alone in such a manner.

At the Rules Committee meeting on 3/28/11, relative to Bill 52-31, Senator Respicio ignored the work of Senator Dennis Rodriguez’ Committee on Health, which had reported the bill out, ignored a request by Senator Chris Duenas for Senator Respicio’s evisceration of the essential information requirements, and then got the majority of the other members of the Committee to vote to place the now worthless bill on the legislative agenda. (For a full history go here.)

Because of the public outcry against Senator Respicio’s unethical actions, the bill was withdrawn from the agenda and sent back to the Committee on Health where it still remains.

Senator Respicio’s past actions give us every reason to suspect that he will treat Bill 323 no better than Bills 54 or 52. And with Bill 323, there is even more reason to believe that intrigue has been afoot from even before the public hearing which was held on November 8, 2011.

On the morning of November 9, Senator B.J. Cruz, who had held the public hearing the night before, called the K57 radio station, and before he could say anything, seems to have been apparently caught off guard by the host Ray Gibson’s reference to having received Senator Cruz’s “note”. The conversation went as follows:

Gibson: Senator BJ Cruz grabbing our call right now. Good Morning, Senator, How ya doin’?
Cruz: Well, pretty good, thank you. Good Morning.
Gibson: Good Morning. You sent me a note here on Public Law dash 22-84 on HIV testing. What is this that you wanted me to read up on?
Cruz: Well, no, I..., in the news, in both the Marianas Variety and the um, Pacific Daily News, they both make mention about there is current law that, uh...explicitly prohibits a minor from consenting to uh....anything that induces abortion. And so, I just wanted you to see that...where that section of the law came from and how...and the legislative history behind it.
Gibson: Ah, I see, I see, and this goes back to 22-84.
Cruz: Correct.
Gibson: Okay. Keeping the comment period open for 30 days so if there are people out there that might want to reconsider their testimony, they’re able to do all of that.
Cruz: Yah.

(A recording of the conversation can be heard here. The article in the Pacific Daily News can be found here. The article in the Marianas Variety can be found here.)

It’s quite easy to see why Senator Cruz is caught off guard. His intention was apparently to act as if he had just happened to come across the story in the news. Anyone who knows anything about the news and how these things get into the news, knows that the news people were not busily searching the Guam Code (between the time the public hearing ended and the time they went to press) for the obscure provision to which Senator Cruz refers so that they could have a story.

A much more likely scenario is that Senator Cruz, immediately after the public hearing, sent (or directed someone to send) to the media, the information about the supposed preexisting provision regarding parental consent for abortion in an attempt to discredit the bill’s sponsor (Senator Rodriguez) and humiliate its supporters.

It seems he also directed the newspapers not to quote the source since neither newspaper does, which is unusual when news writers are weighing in on legislative matters, particularly when the provision is so obscure. And because the provision is so obscure, that both papers would, on their own, find it at exactly the same time and print it in unison, is even more of a give-away that they were tipped off, and strategically so.

Senator Cruz’s pretense on K57 is not just disingenous, it is “par for the course” when it comes to the persistent undermining of any legislation that attempts to regulate Guam’s abortion industry by the Democrat majority of this and the previous Legislature.

But beyond that, it is almost unfathomable that a former Supreme Court Justice could be so ignorant about the law he swore to uphold. The section of the law to which Senator Cruz refers is found in Title 19, Section 1111 of the Guam Code, a section with the heading: Legal Capacity of Minor Regarding Medical Care. (See attachment below for a complete copy of Title 19 GCA.)

I am not an attorney, so I consulted two attorneys about Senator Cruz' assertion that this section of the law already “prohibits a minor from consenting to anything that induces abortion”.

Both attorneys were amazed that Senator Cruz, a former Supreme Court Justice, would make such a claim. Simply put, the section does NOT deal with parental consent for abortion but with creditors’ remedies when contracting with a minor for medical services.

This is why the provision occurs in a section of the Guam Code dealing with Minors and NOT abortion. For a more detailed explanation go here.

One has to believe that a former Supreme Court Justice could NOT have misunderstood the intent of this section since the right of minors to disaffirm a contract is common in most jurisdictions.

Thus if we are not to assume that Senator Cruz is ignorant, then we must assume that his attempt to mislead the public, discredit Senator Rodriguez, and dishonor those who poured their hearts and souls into their testimonies at the public hearing, was intentionally malicious.

It is quite possible that Senator Cruz got wind of our intention to blow his cover and publicly discredit him based on either his ignorance or his attempt to undermine the bill, and decided to divest himself of the troublesome thing as soon as possible, which may account for his quickly reporting it out of committee without changes.

The fact that “no changes were made to the measure” is even more striking when one considers the hostile testimony of Attorney Anita Arriola, someone who normally gets her way with the Democrats (as per Bill 54-30).

It is also possible that Governor Calvo’s address of 12/12/11, criticizing the Legislature for persistently delaying or killing abortion legislation, while pushing zoning legislation to the head of the line, had something to do with Senator Cruz’ immediate action.

In any event, regardless of Senator Cruz’ motivations for reporting the bill out immediately after the Governor’s address, his attempt to deceive the public the morning after the public hearing on Bill 323, is an omen of the ill-intent that every piece of legislation relative to the regulation of Guam’s abortion industry has faced in a Democrat controlled legislature. (Read The Pro-Abortion Conspiracy in Guam’s Legislature here.)

The only hope for those who wish to see greater legal control of Guam’s abortion industry is, unfortunately, exposing and shaming the likes of Senators Cruz, Respicio, and Won Pat, whether they consider themselves pro-abortion or not, into respecting the legislative procedures they swore to abide by and the people they promised to represent.

(Go here for the next part of the story.)