Skip to comments.Romney Changes Hospital Contraception Rules (Removes religious exemption)
Posted on 12/09/2005 11:07:13 AM PST by NYer
Gov. Mitt Romney abandoned plans Thursday to exempt Roman Catholic and other private hospitals from a new law requiring them to dispense emergency contraception to rape victims.
Romney had initially backed regulations proposed earlier this week by his public health commissioner, Paul Cote Jr., who said the new law conflicted with an older law barring the state from forcing private hospitals to dispense contraceptive devices or information.
The Republican governor, who is considering a run for president in 2008, said he asked his legal advisers to review the matter after members of both parties criticized the regulations. He said the lawyers determined that the new law superseded the old law and that all hospitals should be required to offer the so-called "morning-after pill."
"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.
"In my personal view, it's the right thing for hospitals to provide information and access to emergency contraception to anyone who is a victim of rape," he added.
The new law takes effect Dec. 14. Passed this summer by the Legislature, which then overrode Romney's veto, it states that the pill must be available to "each female rape victim."
Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, the likely GOP nominee for governor next year if Romney decides not to seek re-election, had broken ranks with the governor on the issue, saying Wednesday that all hospitals should be required to distribute the pill.
Attorney General Tom Reilly, a Democrat planning to run for governor next year, said Romney's initial legal interpretation was "a backdoor regulation" and would not have survived court challenge. He also highlighted the focus of the law: victims of rape.
"It's a horrible thing to happen to anybody," Reilly said. "You don't want to make it any worse, and this administration was on a road that would have made it worse for women in that position."
The emergency contraception pill is a high dose of hormones that women can take up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy. Opponents who believe life begins at conception contend the pill is little different from an abortion because it blocks the fertilized egg from being implanted on the uterine wall.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom had said the governor supported allowing hospitals to opt out on religious or moral grounds because an exemption "respects the views of health care facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue."
Caritas Christi Health Care, which is owned by the Catholic Church and is the second-largest health care system in New England, said in a statement it provides emergency contraception to female patients, but only those who are not already pregnant.
Critics said the proposed regulations were an attempt by the Romney administration to cater to conservative primary voters.
"I think this has more to do with political ambitions," said state Sen. Susan Fargo, a Democrat who supports the bill. "Unfortunately you can't decide where you are going to be raped so you can be near the best hospital for that."
Seven other states require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, and none include exemptions for religious and moral reasons. Three Illinois pharmacists filed a complaint with regulators in that state this week alleging they were dismissed from their jobs after refusing to fill prescriptions for the pill.
So long Mitt, not that I would have considered voting for you anyway.
Now how the heck is a hospital going to know who is a rape victim unless they are bruised and battered? This is ridiculous. They can get their abortion pills elsewhere. Forcing a private hospital to provide this service is such government intrusion.
At least we won't have to worry about Romney getting any traction during the primaries.
Close the hospitals. It's the only option.
VATICAN, November 21, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI addressed participants in a Health Care conference at the Vatican Saturday, on the topic of the human genome. An analysis of scientific data, he said, reveals the dignity of human life "from the first moment of fecundation."
The statement is significant since it answers, for Catholics, questions surrounding the beginning of a right to life. Many, some Catholics included, have wondered about the stage at which the embryo deserves protection. Some have proposed that the morning after pill would avert abortion since it acts prior a modern definition of 'conception' which entails implantation of the embryo into the mother's womb.
The statement that human beings have human dignity from "fecundation" - defined as the moment the sperm and egg unite - is thus significant to pro-lifers.
In his talk, the Pope highlighted the fact that people of our time "are capable of understanding that the dignity of man is not identified with the genes of his DNA, and does not diminish in the presence of any physical diversity or genetic defects. The principle of 'non discrimination' on the basis of physical or genetic factors has entered profoundly into people's consciences and is formally expressed in the Charter of Human Rights. This principle has its most authentic roots in the dignity intrinsic to each human being by the fact of having been created in the image and likeness of God."
After pointing out how the Church "announces and presents this truth, not only with the authority of the Gospel but also with the strength deriving from reason," the Holy Father affirmed: "It is necessary to guard against the risks of a science and technology that seek complete autonomy from the moral norms written into human nature."
Romney - the Republican Kerry. First he was for it before he was against it.
My brother's hospital closed down it's OB/GYN department - they no longer provide services of any kind related to that, and instead refer patients to other hospitals. The reasoning is that they didn't want to be forced to provide abortions and/or contraceptives, as the state was getting ready to make them do.
I hope he has also abandoned any plan of running for president, because he's not got a chance with Republicans after this.
the Catholic Hospitals should close their ER doors
Romney has been a pro-abortion liberal for over 40 years. Aside from whatever pandering he is up to at the moment, this is exactly what I would expect from him.
According to the libs, only those who agree to participate in abortions are qualified to practice medicine.
Hippocrates thought otherwise.
Shame on him for backing down. Just because the Catholic Church is unpopular right now does not mean that First Amendment protections of freedom of religion have disappeared for Catholics! Now we'll have to rely on our wonderful court system to protect us, just like they've protected marriage...
"Romney has been a pro-abortion liberal for over 40 years."
Yup. A lot of my conservative friends here in MA (mostly "transplants") and elsewhere *adore* Mitt Romney because he occasionally panders to conservatives with things like his support of faith-based initiatives, and because he is a Republican that managed to break through the sea of MA Democrats. That people buy into his rhetoric drives me batty. We need to spread the Romney-is-a-Leftie information as widely as possible.
Talk about an infringement of religious freedom.
He was responding to an earlier statement. I think he just meant not all rapes result in visible injury. For example, if someone forces a woman to have sex at gunpoint, he may not physically injure her at all, but obviously it is still rape.
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