The Massachusetts state legislature on Thursday voted to override Governor Mitt Romney’s veto of legislation requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraception to survivors of sexual assault and allowing pharmacists to dispense the medication without a prescription. The vote was unanimous in the Senate, and passed by a large margin of 139-16 in the House, reports the Associated Press.
Romney vetoed the legislation in July, citing concerns that emergency contraception (EC) could cause an abortion, contrary to medical fact. State Senator Pamela P. Resor, an Acton Democrat, applauded the override, saying, ”Not only was his veto irresponsible, his argument was based on weak and misguided information,” according to the Boston Globe. Next, the state’s Department of Public Health will write regulations to implement the new laws, but so far it has provided no timetable for doing so, according to the Globe.
The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a national drive on college campuses to increase the availability of emergency contraception for young women. EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent tens of thousands of abortions a year.