Senator Frank Aguon, Jr. and the death of Bill 309-30

Note: This post recounts Senator Aguon's actions in 2010. As of September 2013, Senator Aguon has since introduced two pro-life bills: Bill 191-32 and 195-32 (see www.guamlegislature.com)

01/06/10: Bill 309-30, THE CHILD'S RIGHT TO LIVE ACT, introduced by Senator Eddie Calvo
02/10/10: Public hearing for Bill 309-30
The End.

Upon passage of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban in November, 2008, the Esperansa Project, because of its high profile in gathering public support for the ban, was approached by several people who wanted to share their stories of abortion. Abortion had not been in the news on Guam since 1990 when the island's leadership ventured into an ill-fated and ill-advised total ban on abortion. And after a nearly 20 year silence, both the Partial Birth Abortion ban, and the election of the overtly pro-abortion Barack Obama appeared to stir the local conversation.

Some were women who shared stories of their own abortions and their regrets, others, stories of family and friends who chose abortion and wish they hadn't. Some, also had stories of having to choose between abortion and giving birth, and despite great cost, chose birth, and gladly shared their joy in having done so. 

But one story caught our attention more than the others. A physician, on duty in the emergency room at GMH, was called to tend to a young woman in labor. The woman gave birth, but the child she delivered had most of his skin burned off. According to the physician's description, the newborn baby was a blackened mass of flesh, the victim of a saline abortion. The only problem was, the child was still alive.

A saline abortion is a procedure which replaces amniotic fluid with a saline solution. The baby ingests the solution which burns his lungs and  strips away the outer layer of skin. The baby has a heart attack and dies. Labor is then induced and the dead baby is delivered...usually. (To learn more go here.)

The death of the baby can take several hours and delivery is usually induced the following day. In this case, the woman did not return to the abortion clinic as instructed, but, for whatever reason, to the GMH emergency room. According to the physician who tended the girl, the abortionist apparently got wind of what happened and showed up at the emergency room to finish the job, but was not allowed in.

Medical care was given to the baby but he was so badly damaged there was little the hospital staff could do but ease his suffering and allow him to die, which he did, three days later. The physician who shared the story asked not to be named. 

Upon hearing the story, members of the Esperansa Project decided to approach the Legislature about passing a bill that would mandate normal medical care for children who survive failed abortions. The issue had received national attention several years earlier after congress heard testimony from abortion clinic nurses who had witnessed children who had survived failed abortions. The children were either drowned, decapitated, or left in another room to finish dying. 

In a rare act of full bi-partisanship, Congress voted unanimously for the Act. Even hard-core pro-aborts Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy voted for it. President Bush then signed it into law in August of 2002. 

A federal law like this one applies to all federal institutions but does not affect state law. States must pass their own law, and many soon did. 

Given the federal and national precedent for a Born Alive law, and the public horror invoked by  the thought of killing living children on a delivery table, members of The Esperansa Project were hoping for quick passage of the bill. Then-Senator Calvo agreed to author and sponsor the bill, and a public hearing was soon held. 

On February 10, 2010, the public hearing room was filled to capacity and included several students in uniform. All spoke in favor of the institution of a law that would provide normal medical care for children who survive failed abortions. Senator Frank Aguon, Jr., chaired the Committee on Health to which the bill had been referred, and conducted the hearing.

But despite the overwhelmingly positive testimony, the bill was never heard from again. Over the course of the next several months, members of  The Esperansa Project inquired as to the status of the bill. After many months of no answer, suspicion arose. Esperansa took their inquiry public through Letters to the Editor and calls to radio talk shows. Still nothing. 

In the end, the legislative term expired and so did the bill, leaving it legal for Guam's abortionists to drown, decapitate, or otherwise kill any baby who might survive a failed abortion.

Because Aguon was running against Senator Calvo in the gubernatorial election, it is reasonable to assume that Aguon didn't want Calvo to score any pro-life points with the voters. But in the end, it doesn't matter why he did it. The fact is: he did it - or more specifically, did nothing. Aguon's burying of Bill 309-30 means any child that might survive an abortion on Guam may be killed. 

NOTES

The main findings and intent of Bill 309-30

  1. All children, no matter their age, have the right to life. Guam has a paramount interest in protecting all human life. 
  2. If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of this Territory.
  3. Guam must assert its interest in protecting an infant whose live birth occurred as the result of an abortion. 
  4. Without proper legal protection, newly-born infants who survive abortions could be denied proper life-saving or life-sustaining medical treatment and left to die.

Accordingly, it is the purpose of this Act to ensure the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of all infants born alive in this Territory. Therefore, this Act mandates that healthcare providers give medically appropriate and reasonable life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatment to all born-alive infants.

Why Wait for the Feds? (PDN, October 19, 2010, call for action on Bill 309-30)

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Timothy Rohr,
Oct 19, 2012, 4:20 AM
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