In a victory for women’s health, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) reversed his position under pressure and will support a state law that makes emergency contraception available at all hospitals, regardless of religious affiliation.
The Massachusetts legislature made emergency contraception available behind-the-counter at pharmacies in September, overriding Romney’s veto. The new law included the statement “each female rape victim” is guaranteed access to emergency contraception, according to the Associated Press. Last week, it was revealed that Romney’s Department of Public Health had adopted a policy that, contrary to the new law, would exempt private hospitals that had so-called moral or religious objections. Romney initially refused to force private hospitals, particularly Catholic hospitals, to abide by the new law.
Romney drew much criticism for his original refusal to enforce the new law, including that from his Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, who stated publicly that “it’s extremely important that victims of rape should be able to access emergency contraception in whatever medical setting they present themselves,” according to the Globe. Romney, who is considering running for president, changed his position on Thursday, overturning the Health Department policy.