by Steven Ertelt
December 8, 2005
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has reversed himself on whether he will issue an exemption for Catholic and private hospitals that don’t want to be forced to distribute the morning after pill to rape victims.
The state legislature approved a bill backed by abortion advocates mandating that all state hospitals must make the Plan B drugs, which sometimes cause an abortion, available to women who have been raped.
Catholic and other religious and private hospitals that have moral beliefs against the drug, objected.
Romney on Wednesday indicated the state health department would issue an exemption to such hospitals because state law also mandates that they can’t be forced to perform abortions or distribute contraception.
But Romney said Thursday that his legal advisors reviewed the matter after his idea came under attack from lawmakers and pro-abortion groups. He said is legal counsel told him the new law supersedes the old one.
"On that basis I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel and to adopt that sounder view," Romney said, according to an AP report.
The new law will go into effect on December 14 and Attorney General Tom Reilly, a Democrat who is running for governor next year, said he would make sure it’s strongly enforced against all hospitals.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom previously said the governor supports exempting Catholic and private hospitals because it "respects the views of health care facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue."
Seven other states that have laws forcing hospitals to dispense the Plan B drugs do not have exemptions for religious facilities.