HAGATNA (ABC) — Since 2018 Guam has been without a doctor willing to do surgical abortions.

Guam is predominantly Catholic, a church that is pro-life, and in the past doctors in the U.S territory have faced harassment and protests outside their clinics.

Guam’s Bureau of Women’s Affairs Director Jayne Flores said the government is actively looking for a doctor but that no one has put their hand up.

“Our stance is the women need to have safe and accessible abortion,” she said.

Despite the government’s pro-choice position, the people of Guam are heavily divided on the issue.

Earlier this year Guam senator Telena Nelson introduced the Guam Heartbeat Act 2022 which bans a doctor from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

If the abortion goes ahead anyway then private citizens can sue the doctor for a minimum of US$10,000.

Famalao’an Rights chief development officer Kiana Yabut said the bill would put young and poor people at a disadvantage.

“We have very high rates of sexual assault, very high rates of teen pregnancies, very high rates of STD’s,” she said.

“What we’re seeing is what when people cannot get safe abortions here the rate of back alley abortions go up.”

As the debate continues Guam heads towards its general election at the end of the year and abortion is proving to be a battleground issue for voters…. PACNEWS

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