Know Life. Respect Life.
By Eddie Baza Calvo
My Fellow Guamanians,
I’m sure many of you already know this, but one of my favorite songs is “What a Wonderful World.” It’s a powerful song written about the beauty and simplicity of humanity by one of the world’s greatest musicians. It’s almost too hard to believe that the artist was a man whose father abandoned him in a life of poverty, only to be left once again by his mother.
But orphans are survivors. And it’s no wonder so many of them have changed the world, making it the beautiful place we know today. They’re peaceful revolutionaries like Nelson Mandela; they’re innovators like Apple founder Steve Jobs; they’re actresses like Marilyn Monroe and they even become US presidents like Bill Clinton.
More than the change they brought to the world, the most important thing about all of these famous people is that they lived. The circumstances they were born into, the tragedies they endured as young children… and the challenges they faced throughout their lives don’t belittle who they are or what they did. They made them greater.
And so when I think of these great people; or when I see my grandchildren running around the house; and especially when I see my fellow Guamanians helping each other through the tough times, I can’t help but reaffirm my belief that life should never be a choice.
For many in our small community — the fight to protect life receives untold levels of attention. You can read about these discussions in the newspapers, you can watch news clips of people and organizations coming together to speak loudly for — and against — abortion. And this fight has even been taken to the highest levels of government, supported on both sides by people passionate about their beliefs.
But passion doesn’t give us the right to hurt one another. Nor is it reason to forget human dignity. While the pro-life, pro-choice battle wages on, I think it’s important for us to take a step back and realize that beyond the debate, we also need to respect one another — no matter our beliefs.
It’s no secret that I’ve always stood my ground when it comes to life. Born or unborn, everyone has the right to live. And no one should have the power to make this choice for another.
As so often happens, education is the next step forward at this juncture. In short order, abortion doctors will be required to provide factual information to women who come to them considering an abortion. This is no different from their responsibility to give information for any other surgical procedure they will perform. Knowledge is power.They now are required to empower women with information on the risks and effects of abortion 24-hours before the abortion is scheduled.
This will empower mothers with the information and time to ask questions, talk about the process out loud, and maybe even connect with others to find out more. Most importantly, they’ll have the time they need between their first appointment and the time of the procedure to truly reflect on the decision. If this saves just one life, then the law will have served its purpose.
I also want to be clear that this law should not be used to cast judgment against those considering abortion, or to make them feel uncomfortable. Women in these situations go through enough as it is. It is my hope that the availability of information, especially the alternatives they’ll see, will show them that even strangers care.
This was an initiative I’ve held close to my heart since my days in the legislature… And though it failed several times, my colleague Senator Dennis Rodriguez was finally able to make the “The Women’s Reproductive Health Information Act” law. Senator Rodriguez, many out there are thanking you right now. And because of you, I’m certain there will be many more in the future.
Though it is not what pro-life supporters ultimately want, we can rest assured that we’ve taken one step forward. And if this measure saves even one life, then this gives us the hope – the inspiration to keep fighting the good fight. Maybe one day, a life saved by this law, will be the life to save all of the unborn forever.
May we all continue to respect one another, and may we all continue to respect life.
To all my fellow Guamanians — those being carried in their mother’s wombs and those enjoying life’s beautiful gifts at this moment: may God bless you all.