Sunday, April 14, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, February 17, 2023
Ninth Circuit wades into debate on abortion in Guam
By Selected News Articles @ 3:30 PM :: 1598 Views :: Life

Ninth Circuit wades into debate on abortion in Guam

A Guam statute requires that an in-person consultation be provided before virtually prescribing medication abortion — which doctors say is tough to do when there are no doctors on Guam willing to provide abortion services in any capacity.

by Candace Cheung, Court House News, February 16, 2023

HONOLULU (CN) — Guam medical officials took their fight against two Hawaii-based physicians who want to mail abortion pills to Guam residents to the Ninth Circuit on Thursday, arguing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization this past June voided an injunction on the island's abortion restrictions.

Attorneys for the Guam Attorney General and the Guam Board of Medical Examiners, as well as for the pair of doctors argued before the panel consisting of U.S. Circuit Judges Carlos Bea, a George W. Bush appointee, and Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee, both Donald Trump appointees, in Honolulu on Thursday.

The two OB-GYNs, Shandhini Raidoo and Bliss Kaneshiro, sued Guam in 2021 on behalf of their patients, who, after the retirement of Guam’s only abortion doctor in 2018, had no choice but to turn to physicians off-island. Raidoo and Kaneshiro, who both practice in Honolulu but are licensed in Guam, can currently prescribe medication abortion to their Guam patients. Medication abortion, usually referred to as the abortion pill, can be taken by the patient without direct supervision from a physician and without surgery or any other physical means.

The doctors take issue with a Guam statute that requires an in-person consultation be conducted before abortion procedures can begin. With no Guam medical professionals willing to suffer the backlash from formal affiliation with abortion, doctors like Raidoo and Kaneshiro have had to step in from nearly 4,000 miles away, according to the complaint.

Plaintiffs argue the in-person consultation requirement is a barrier to obtaining informed consent from their patients, without which they cannot legally provide an abortion. U.S. District Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood of the District of Guam agreed and blocked enforcement of the statute in September 2021.

Defendants, represented by Jordan Pauluhn of the Attorney General’s office, argued Dobbs entirely changed the premise on which the injunction, granted nearly a year before Dobbs, had been based. They told the panel the standard under Roe v. Wade shifted undue burden to the government, whereas in a post-Roe world, rational basis review is now proper.

“There is no real barrier to following the in-person requirement, nothing is prohibiting them from doing this themselves,” Pauluhn told the panel.

Arguing for the plaintiffs, ACLU attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas said the in-person provision is irrational and contrasts with statutes facilitating abortion in general.

The panel of judges questioned the attorneys about the use of some sort of proxy or delegate to sidestep the in-person stipulation, highlighting one of the main controversies between the parties.

Pauluhn noted that there was the option to find a professional in Guam who could offer to the patient the required information about abortion, the pregnancy, and other options available to the patient, suggesting that nurses, psychologists, or even social workers could do the consultation, with the physician able to attend the meeting virtually if needed. Kolbi-Molinas countered by saying that there would not be anyone legally qualified to provide this information to patients.

Judge Bea asked how, in all of Guam, there could not be an adequate physician to do this consultation.

Kolbi-Molinas said that although there are doctors qualified to offer pre- and post-abortion care — processes that are no different from care for miscarriages or standard pregnancies, according to plaintiffs — and indeed there are doctors with whom the plaintiffs already work with, none are "abortion doctors"'" and significantly, none are willing to formally sign off on an abortion given the stigma on the procedure in Guamanian culture.

Guam has a complicated history of abortion rights due to the island’s culture and deep roots in Catholicism. The procedure was outlawed until Roe v. Wade and then banned again in 1990, although that ban was deemed unconstitutional soon after.

According to Kolbi-Molinas, this case, and abortion in Guam in general, are tied to local politics.

“It’s not surprising because this is the same attorney general that is seeking to revive a decades-old invalid abortion ban and push abortion out of reach for people in Guam altogether. And these attacks designed to score political points will have real impact on people in Guam,” she said in an interview, referring to a push by recently elected Attorney General Douglas Moylan to challenge the ruling on the 1990 abortion ban.

Both parties acknowledged various proposals in the Guam Legislature would have an effect on this case, although Pauluhn said that could take many years to come to fruition.


GDP: 9th Circuit hears arguments on in-person mandate for abortion



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii