DURING the Christmas holidays, Ashantie Mitchell, a sophomore from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, interned with my office to aid in fulfilling her class requirement for community service. As part of her assignment with my office, she was tasked to research and provide input to legislation, both proposed and introduced, that we are working on. One such piece of legislation was Bill 409-31, “An Act to Add Chapter 16 to Title 19 of the Guam Code Annotated Relative to Acts of Violence Against an Unborn Child.”
The following is Ashantie’s perspective on the legislation, as I thought it was important to provide her the medium to share her thoughts:
For as long as women have been on this earth they have always been considered to be “property” to men, and men have always had a higher position than women. I think it’s fair to say that even in today’s society, no matter that equal opportunity is the same for everyone, there is still a hint of bias against the females. When it comes to who’s going to have the greater inheritance, or when a ruler dies, society has always wanted the male child to be the next ruler, and for that primogeniture, the right by law or custom, of the firstborn to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings (compare to ultimo geniture) applied often in monarchies.
Historically, the term implied male primogeniture, to the exclusion of females.
To a woman, especially a pregnant woman, it’s hard already to deal with pregnancy. She has to worry about an awful amount of problems. She has to make sure she’s ready for the child she’s carrying; she has to deal with the morning sickness. She’s not just worrying about herself, but herself and the baby. She needs supporters instead of beaters. She needs comfort instead of pain. She needs council.
Beating up pregnant women is not acceptable. Sadly, it happens often, but it doesn’t mean it is a right thing to do, and it does not mean we shouldn’t do something about it. The bill is great and I’m with it 110 percent. To those men who are hurting women and their unborn child, you need to stop and think about what you are doing. Why? First of all, the woman is pregnant. It’s difficult enough that she has to deal with the morning sickness, the headaches and the pain from carrying the child in her womb. Second, she has her rights as a person, she has her dignity, and she should not be looked down upon. Third, she’s carrying a child, who will be your future generation. You, the men, should cherish and provide her with comfort and support. Women are simply not your “property” anymore and you cannot abuse them. These reasons, plus many more, are why it is not acceptable to hurt pregnant women.
In the State of Oregon, House Bill 3505-A requires a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for murder against a pregnant woman. This is because violence against pregnant women is intolerable, and in most cases, violence against women occurs during the term of pregnancy. We live in a society now in which, despite its imperfection, we are taught not to hurt anyone, especially pregnant women. We need to send a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who commit violence against pregnant women. I believe this bill must be seriously taken into consideration and passed by the Guam Legislature for the future generations of the island of Guam.