10.13.13 BILL 195 LEON GUERRERO & ARRIOLA'S ERRONEOUS CLAIMS


From The Esperansa Project
October 13, 2013

 Dear Friends of the Unborn, 
  

Below is a copy of my testimony in support of Bill 195-32, the INFANT CHILD'S RIGHT TO LIFE ACT of 2013. In addition to supporting the bill, I take issue with some very erroneous claims made by Lou Leon Guerrero and Anita Arriola at the public hearing, held on October 10. Because of the credence many lawmakers give these two women, Bill 195-32, which would mandate normal medical care for a child who survives a failed abortion, is in danger of being shut down and shut out. It is hoped that with the information provided in this testimony, members of the legislature will endeavor to do their own research and reject the erroneous claims of Leon Guerrero and Arriola.

*****

Tim Rohr

PO Box 9001, Agat, GU 96928

timrohr.guam@gmail.com

 

October 13, 2013

 

Honorable Frank B. Aguon, Jr. 

Suite, 104 

155 Hesler St.

Hagåtña, Guam  96910             

Chairman, Committee on the Guam US Military Relocation, Homeland Security, Veteran's Affairs and Judiciary

 

 

RE: TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF BILL 195-32

 

 

Dear Senator Aguon:

 

 

I write in support of Bill 195-32 and urge its prompt passage. 

 

I also want to address the erroneous claims by Lou Leon Guerrero and Anita Arriola made at the recent public hearing.

 

Lou Leon Guerrero was reported as saying: "I am aware that there is always (sic) federal legislation that addresses the issue at hand, thus making this legislation unnecessary."  And Anita Arriola reportedly claimed that the measure is "unnecessary since Guam and federal law already protect born alive infants, whether or not they are born alive as a result of an abortion." 1

 

Both statements are incorrect. Section (a) of the federal Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) 1 USC § 8 reads:

 

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words "person", "human being", "child", and "individual", shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

 

As is clearly evident, the law only applies to acts, rulings, regulations and interpretations  to bureaus and agencies under federal control. Also, the law goes on to only define the term "born-alive" and does not mandate medical care nor impose a penalty for not doing so as does Bill 195-32. (See attached copy of the complete statute.) 

 

Under 1 USC § 8, norms of medical care and penalties for failing to provide such care could certainly be affected by the definition of a "born-alive infant" found in 1 USC § 8, but again, only relative to the "various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States. 

 

The Territory of Guam is neither an administrative bureau nor an agency of the United States which means that 1 USC § 8  does not apply, nor does it apply to the other territories and states.  

 

Thus, twenty five states, so far, have seen fit to enact their own born-alive laws and the introduction of Bill 195-32 is an effort to do the same. (See attached illustration of states which have enacted born-alive legislation similar to Bill 195-32)

 

Note: Arriola also believes that Bill 195-32 is also unnecessary because Guam law already criminalizes homicide. Arriola is wrong about this too. See footnote.2

 

HAS THERE BEEN ANY INCIDENCE OF A CHILD SURVIVING AN ABORTION ON GUAM? (i.e. IS THIS LAW NECESSARY?)

 

Yes. I can give you the name and number of a happy adoptive father whose beautiful young daughter survived a failed abortion and was rescued by a compassionate nurse. The father shared this story at a pro-life event here in Guam in December of 2010. 

 

There is also another name I wish I could give you, a local doctor who recounted to me - without naming the persons involved - the gruesome consequences of a failed saline abortion. He happened to be on call at the GMH emergency room. For professional reasons he has asked not to be identified. However, given the challenges voiced at the public hearing, I am going to speak to him again to see if he will share what he knows with you, if only personally.

 

But aside from personal witness and confidential anecdotes, coming up with actual data on abortion survivors on Guam is next to impossible. There are two reasons why:

 

1. Abortions gone wrong usually don't stay in the clinics. They end up in the hospital. But because the hospital does not officially do abortions, the case - whether the child lives or dies - is not recorded as abortion-related. The one case we do know of a child surviving an abortion and being adopted was a case which ended up at the hospital. Because the child survived, it was recorded as a live birth and not a failed abortion or even a complication resulting from abortion. The hospital should be required to record any abortion-related cases as "abortion-related". Perhaps the Health Chair can look into this soon.

 

2. Guam's abortion reporting law does not have a gestational age requirement. This makes it difficult to know the true figures on later term abortions for which there is a higher probability of a child surviving an abortion procedure. To address this deficiency I am attaching the draft of a bill requiring the reporting of gestational age. It was drafted by a local attorney and is ready for insertion into the GCA upon enactment. You have only to introduce it and see it through to passage. 

 

LEAVE IT TO THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS?

 

According to the same news report, Leon Guerrero went on to criticize you (as the author of the bill) for taking "away the discretion, the responsibility, the acumen, and judgment of those medical professionals who is (sic) on the ground experiencing the circumstances and is (sic) more equipped to make a decision."

 

Her assessment is incorrect. Your bill does not prescribe the treatment. You bill only mandates that there BE "medically appropriate" treatment, and that the child not be immediately discarded as medical waste. In fact the very phrase "medically appropriate" fully implies that the "medical professionals" are in full control of what treatment to prescribe. 

 

Leon Guerrero's comments also bring to mind the recent trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia physician who was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive after an abortion process that involved jabbing them in the neck with scissors, and whose clinic was described by investigators as a "house of horrors". 3 

 

Contrary to what Leon Guerrero thinks, apparently not all medical professionals are equipped with the kind of "discretion, responsibility, acumen, and judgement" we hope they would have. It is the duty of our government to protect the public from people like Gosnell. (By the way, when is the last time Guam's abortion clinics were inspected?) 

 

For those who require more evidence that children can and do survive abortion procedures, you are encouraged to visit the ABORTION SURVIVORS NETWORK and read their stories. The site also provides many useful facts relative to this legislation.4

 

A FINAL THOUGHT

 

Even "hard core" abortion advocates such as Senators Barbara Boxer, John Kerry, and the late Ted Kennedy voted to define a "born-alive infant" as a legal human being deserving of all the legal protections and rights normally accorded to fellow humans. The measure passed the senate in a rare unanimous vote. What a sad commentary on Guam should we not find it in ourselves to do the same.

 

Truly, Senator, even if we cannot know the actual number of children left to die or killed after surviving a failed abortion, isn't the intentional killing or the negligent death of even one child who has survived a normally deadly abortion procedure, laying on a table and gasping for life, ENOUGH? And even if we cannot completely enforce such a statute, is it not worth something to us to enshrine into law - by the provisions of Bill 195-32 - that which we, the people of Guam, are NOT WILLING TO TOLERATE?

 

Let us hope so.

 

 

 

Tim Rohr

Resident, Agat

 

Footnotes

 

1. Losinio, L. (2013, October 11). Bill 195 gets some opposition in hearing. Marianas Variety.http://www.mvguam.com/local/news/31746-bill-195-gets-some-opposition-in-hearing.html

 

 2. BORN-ALIVE INFANT is a special legal designation of a human being, a designation that required the enactment of the federal BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT of 2002 (BAIPA). The reason the BAIPA was introduced in the first place was to address the gray area between an abortion and a homicide. Guam has no such "born-alive infant" designation. Relative to homicide, Guam law simply defines a human being as a person who "has been born and is alive" [9 GCA § 16.10 (a)]. Since there is no intent to birth a human being via an abortion procedure but to kill it, the definition of a human being in Guam law, at least relative to homicide, is deficient.

 

In addition, it must be noted, that because the abortion procedure was initiated with the intent to kill the unborn child. ("Unborn Child" is a legal term in Guam law.) Should the child not yet be dead upon extraction from the mother, the killing or neglect of the child at that point could be considered a "continuing act" - the completion of the procedure - and not a homicide. As already noted, the federal government and, to date, twenty five states, have legislatively addressed the same deficiency. Bill 195-32 simply intends to do the likewise. 

 

Curiously, if Arriola was held to be correct about the federal law and Guam's homicide law already applying, then according to Dr. Bordallo's testimony, criminal homicide is standard operating procedure at GMH. In a written statement read by another doctor, Bordallo stated that physicians at the ob-gyn and pediatrics department at GMH "reviewed current medical data regarding survival rates and subsequent morbidity and determined a gestational age of 24 weeks and a weight of 500 grams as a threshold of viability, where resuscitation is mandated." If the federal law already applies to Guam, as Arriola holds, then once expelled from the mother's body, the infant is, according to 9 GCA § 16.10 (a), a "human being" regardless of its age or weight, and leaving the child to die without any attempt to save it would be considered negligent homicide under 9 GCA § 16.10 (a).

 

By the way, the youngest child to be born prematurely and survive was born at 21 weeks and 5 days and weighed 453 grams. At GMH, the child would have been discarded. *Rochman, Bonnie. "Incredibly, World's Tiniest Preterm Babies Are Doing Just Fine." Time Magazine. Dec. 12, 2011)

 

3. Hurdle, J. (2013, May 15). Doctor Starts His Life Term in Grisly Abortion Clinic Case. New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/us/kermit-gosnell-abortion-doctor-gets-life-term.html?_r=0

 

4. ABORTION SURVIVORS NETWORK. http://www.theabortionsurvivors.com/

 

 

 

Attachments

 

A. 1 U.S.C. 8 - PERSON", "HUMAN BEING", "CHILD", AND "INDIVIDUAL" AS INCLUDING BORN-ALIVE INFANT (onlinehere)

 

B. Americans United for Life. "State of the States. Where are we now?. Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Chart (attached)

 

C. Proposed bill mandating the inclusion of the reporting of gestational age in the abortion reporting law.

 



 

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