Romney backs down

Massachusetts governor withdraws his plan to exempt private hospitals from having to offer emergency contraception.

By Rebecca Traister

Published December 12, 2005 6:27PM (EST)

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney surprised pro-choice groups last week by withdrawing his plan to exempt private hospitals in his state from a new law requiring them to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors, the Boston Globe reported.

Romney's reversal comes on the heels of a ruling by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that private hospitals could opt out of the new state law if they objected on moral or religious grounds. Romney, a Republican, had initially said that he supported that interpretation, but, after conversations with his legal counsel, changed his position.

"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. He also said, "My personal view, in my heart of hearts, is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraception or emergency contraception information."

Expect antiabortion groups to fight Romney's decision.

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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