Friday, December 09, 2005

Gov. Romney Says All Hospitals in Mass. Must Give E.C. to Rape Survivors

Massachusetts' governor, Mitt Romney, has surprised everyone by announcing that all hospitals in the state, including Catholic and other private hospitals, must comply with the new law requiring that emergency contraception be made available to rape survivors.

The decision overturns a ruling made public this week by the state Department of Public Health that privately run hospitals could opt out of the requirement if they objected on moral or religious grounds.

Romney had initially supported that interpretation, but he said yesterday that he had changed direction after his legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, concluded Wednesday that the new law supersedes a preexisting statute that says private hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.

"And 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 at the State House after signing a bill on capital gains taxes.

The new law takes effect in a week, although needless to say pro-life advocates will appeal it on behalf of the Catholic hospitals.

No comments: