Guam may soon begin enforcing a long-standing law that requires doctors to provide in-person consultations for abortions, following a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law, in place since 1990, has been challenged by abortionists in Hawaii who want to sell abortion drugs online. A federal judge had previously blocked the law’s enforcement. However, the appeals court overturned that ruling, stating that online consultations are a “poor substitute” for in-person medical care.
The court emphasized that Guam has the right to enact laws that it believes are in the best interest of its people. They also highlighted the role of legislatures, rather than judges, in deciding whether to allow, ban, or regulate abortions. The judges further asserted that in-person medical care is generally superior to online consultations.
Although Guam has not had an abortionist on the island since 2018, two Hawaii doctors who are licensed there want to sell abortion drugs to residents through mail orders. However, they cannot provide in-person consultations due to their geographical distance, leading them to challenge the in-person requirement.
The ruling has drawn responses from both sides of the abortion debate. The ACLU, representing the abortion providers, gave the usual empty phrase that the in-person requirement harms women’s health. Conversely, Guam’s Attorney General, Doug Moylan, affirmed that residents of the territory support laws that protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion.
The exact implementation time frame of the ruling remains uncertain, and the ACLU is expected to appeal. Additionally, a senator recently introduced a bill to repeal the in-person requirement, arguing that such consultations are unnecessary.
However, the truth is that ending the in-person requirement could potentially increase risks to women’s health, as studies have shown that the use of abortion drugs is associated with more complications than often claimed by abortion activists. The FDA has linked the abortion drug mifepristone to multiple deaths, and there has been a rise in emergency room visits due to abortion-related complications. Some doctors have also reported distressing experiences where women deliver aborted fetuses at home after taking abortion pills.