In Guam, a US territory, the last doctor who performed abortions left in 2018. The closest option is an 8-hour flight to Hawaii.

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  • While abortion is legal in the US territory of Guam, it can be almost impossible to get.
  • There are no doctors left on the island to perform abortions, so patients rely on telemedicine.
  • If a pregnant person can’t use abortion pills, their next best option is an 8-hour flight to Hawaii.

As patients in the continental US travel across state lines for abortion care, pregnant people living on Guam have to travel across the ocean.

Abortion remains legal in Guam — the US territory in the Western Pacific that sits 1,600 miles south of Japan — up to 13 weeks of gestation, but that doesn’t mean it’s accessible, The New York Times reported.

The last doctor who performed abortions on the island left in 2018, per The Times, leaving Guamanians to rely on telemedicine and prescriptions for the abortion pill, which is the subject of ongoing legal debate in the US. 

Just two doctors are licensed and willing to provide care in Guam, though they are both based in Hawaii, The Times reported. They can see patients virtually and prescribe the abortion pill for now, pending a court decision on whether patients need to see a doctor in person to be prescribed abortion pills, the newspaper reported.

After a federal judge temporarily suspended FDA approval of mifepristone, the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay in April, ruling that the pill could still be administered in the US for now. But litigants in the case continue to argue to overturn the FDA approval.

On the island, anti-abortion sentiment persists among citizens, many of whom are Catholic, and within the local government, The Times reported.

The territory’s anti-abortion attorney general, Republican Douglas Moylan, is spearheading a legal fight to resuscitate a law from 1990 that banned nearly all abortions, The Times reported. Those efforts were blocked by a federal judge, though Moylan has appealed.

“Guam is a litmus test,” Moylan told The Times. “If anti-abortion forces were to succeed anywhere in the United States, I would say Guam would be one of them.”

Meanwhile, Guam’s legislature passed a bill prohibiting abortion after six weeks of gestation, but Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero vetoed it, the Associated Press reported.

“Everything that’s going around impacts Guam, and our women here, because we’re much more isolated in terms of access to healthcare,” Guerrero, who is both a nurse and Guam’s first female governor, told The Times.

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