Health Care

Judge denies effort to lift block on Guam abortion ban

FILE – Demonstrators protest about abortion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 24, 2022. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe just nine months ago, 24 states have banned abortion outright or are likely to do so, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Other states with Republican-controlled legislatures, including Florida, are moving toward restrictive laws that would…

Abortion will remain legal in Guam after a federal judge denied a request to lift a long-standing permanent injunction blocking a total abortion ban.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Guam rejected Attorney General Douglas Moylan’s (R) request to vacate a federal court’s permanent injunction from 1990 barring Guam from enforcing a law that would have made it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion and criminalized any patient who has an abortion.

The ruling means abortion care will remain accessible on the island. If the ban had been upheld it would have imposed a significant barrier, as residents of the remote U.S. territory seeking an abortion can’t just drive across state lines to receive a procedure.

Hawaii is the closest U.S. state to Guam where abortion is legal, but Honolulu is nearly 4,000 miles away.

Moylan argued that the original injunction was predicated on Roe v. Wade making abortion a constitutional right. When the Supreme Court overturned that decision, the legal basis for the injunction ceased to exist.

But Chief Judge Frances M. Tydingco-Gatewood wrote that Moylan failed to meet his burden of showing whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization supported vacating the injunction in its entirety.

Guam law still largely prohibits abortion at 13 weeks, though medication abortion remains available through telemedicine.

Tags abortion

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