This article was quoted at length today by Rush Limbaugh with the result that listeners have been coming to LifeSiteNews looking for the article.

By Gudrun Schultz

BOSTON, December 9, 2005 ( – 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.

The Republican governor had earlier defended the right of hospitals to avoid dispensing the “morning-after pill” on the grounds of moral dissent. The Boston Globe reported that Romney’s flip on the issue came after his legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, concluded Wednesday that the new law supersedes a preexisting statute related to the abortifacient pill.

The pill, a high dose of hormones, can act as an abortifacient by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall, thereby causing the death of the child.

The Department of Public Health issued a statement earlier in the week allowing hospitals to dissent from the new law, under a previous statute that protects private hospitals from being forced to provide abortion services or contraceptives.

Daniel Avila, associate director for policy and research for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, said yesterday in an interview with the Boston Globe that Catholic hospitals still have legal grounds to avoid providing the pill, despite the new legislation. The new bill did not expressly repeal the original law protecting the rights of Catholic facilities.

“As long as that statute was left standing, I think those who want to rely on that statute for protection for what they’re doing have legal grounds.” (Boston Globe)

The Conference has been fighting this new legislation for several years. In 2003, in a statement to the Joint Committee on Health Care, they outlined their concern over the proposed Emergency Contraception Access Act (ECAA), stating: “It will force Catholic medical personnel to distribute contraceptives even in cases involving the risk of early abortion. It also furthers a national strategy ultimately directed towards coercing Catholic facilities to provide insurance coverage for, and to perform, abortions.”

The governor’s turnaround is especially unexpected since Romney has been presenting himself as a conservative on social issues in anticipation of a possible run for the presidency in 2008. This decision will certainly undermine the credibility of his conservatism with Republican Party members that may have been inclined to support him up to now.

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