Pro-Life Group Seeks Repeal of Individual Mandate in Romneycare

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 2, 2011   |   9:32AM    Boston, MA

A statewide pro-life group in Massachusetts is starting an effort tomorrow designed to target the repeal of the individual mandate in Romneycare, the government run health care program Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney instituted.

The effort could be highlighted by Republican candidates seeking to criticize Romney on the issue many political observers say will be his biggest obstacle to winning the GOP nomination to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

Massachusetts Citizens for Life informed LifeNews earlier today it is holding a press conference tomorrow at the state capitol to announce that it is dropping off papers with the Massachusetts Attorney General for an Initiative Petition to repeal the individual mandate in Romneycare. MCFL president Anne Fox told LifeNews that the petition will “draw attention to the fact that Massachusetts, the prototype for Obamacare, is not happy with Romneycare.”

“It will make health care an issue in the 2012 elections, when the petition will be on the ballot,” Fox said, and will “get the repeal Ronmeycare process started.”

Because Romneycare is already so ingrained in state law and has been more fully implemented than the Obamacare law, Fox told LifeNews that the pro-life organization felt the best it could do is to try to repeal the individual mandate in an effort to protect state residents who don’t want to be forced to purchase health care insurance that could potentially pay for abortions, as required by a state Supreme Court decision years ago.

The petition MCLF will file reads, “Pursuant to the provisions of Article forty-eight of the Amendments of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the undersigned qualified voters of the Commonwealth, being ten in number at least, petition for an initiative law to repeal the individual mandate, which requires residents of Massachusetts to obtain health care coverage or be subjected to a penalty or sanction for failure to do so.”

“Section 1. Notwithstanding any provisions of any general or specific law to the contrary, M.G.L. 111M, “Individual Health Coverage,” will be stricken in its entirety, so that no individual shall be required to purchase health insurance or be subjected to any penalty or sanction for declining to do so,” it says. “Section 2. Notwithstanding any general or specific law to the contrary, Chapter 58, 830 CRM  111M.2.1 will be stricken in its entirety. Section 3. The effective date of this act is January 1, 2013.”

Fox also talked with the Boston Herald about the filing.

“I think [the law] started with very good intentions. I thought I would pay a little extra in taxes and people who didn’t have insurance, my tax money would buy them insurance,” she said. “We now have the most expensive premiums, the longest wait for doctors.”

She told the newspaper the negative publicity surrounding Obamacare led MCFL to conclude that now may be a good time to strike at the heart of the 2006 law Romney signed, and which he has defended as a Republican presidential candidate.

The Herald indicates that MCFL will submit 10 signatures supporting the petition and the attorney general has until September to review the language of the repeal and either certify or reject it. If the repeal language is certified, MCFL has until mid November to gather 68,911 signatures and the pro-life group informed LifeNews that it has numerous organizations and individuals ready to assist. Lawmakers can then respond to the petition, if they are gathered, or allow it to go to the ballot in 2012.

Fox also told the newspaper that the repeal effort is not an attempt to smear Romney, saying, MCFL would support him if he is the nominee against Obama, who is pro-abortion.