This report from the “Boston Catholic Insider” is so well documented, so well laid out chronologically, that I have no reason to doubt its veracity. It shows overwhelmingly that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been correct in accusing Mitt Romney of personally forcing Catholic hospitals into the requirement to provide abortifacients (morning after pills, specifically).
Key points from a much longer column:
Dec. 7, 2005: a week before the law was to take effect, the Boston Globe ran an article headlined, “Private hospitals exempt on pill law”. The article said the state Department of Public Health had determined that the emergency contraception law “does not nullify a statute passed years ago that says privately run hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.”
Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. told the Globe: “We felt very clearly that the two laws don’t cancel each other out and basically work in harmony with each other.”….
December 8, 2005: The Globe itself ruefully bowed to this legal analysis. It ran an editorial headlined: “A Plan B Mistake.” “The legislators failed, however,” the Globe said, “to include wording in the bill explicitly repealing a clause in an older statute that gives hospitals the right, for reasons of conscience, not to offer birth control services.”
Liberals joined in attacking Romney’s defense of Catholic hospitals. But that defense did not last long.
The same day the Globe ran its editorial, Romney held a press conference. Now he said his legal counsel had advised him the new emergency contraception law did trump the 1975 conscience law.
“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.”….
Lifesite News reported at the time, “Romney Does Flip-Flop and Forces Catholic Hospitals to Distribute Morning-After-Pill”:
In a shocking turn-around, Massachusetts’s governor Mitt Romney announced yesterday that Roman Catholic and other private hospitals in the state will be forced to offer emergency contraception to sexual assault victims under new state legislation, regardless of the hospitals’ moral position on the issue.
A constitutional law expert advising BCI says that the LEGISLATIVE INTENT was clearly to allow the 1975 statute to prevail. The formulation of the regulations is supposed to follow the legislative intent. Romney actually violated the law and his oath of office by NOT going with the legislative intent, and overruling the legislative intent (as well as the Constitution).
But it was not merely a legal interpretation by the legal counsel to Romney. Romney said he personally thought it was the “right thing” for hospitals to provide access to emergency contraception for any rape victims.
This is not mere “gotcha” stuff. And it has nothing to do with whether one believes rape victims should have access to the morning after pill. Just as is the case with Barack Obama’s new order requiring Catholic hospitals to provide insurance coverage for free abortifacients, this is a matter of religious freedom. This Obama order is becoming, quite rightly, a central issue in this year’s campaign. The record is that Mitt Romney was dead wrong on this issue. Period.
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