Pro-life Romney required Catholic hospitals to administer morning after pill for rape victims.
Because, well, states rights, I guess. CNS:
The [MA] House had included language to “expressly apply” the 1975 conscience law protections to the new emergency contraception law, the bulletin explained. The Senate had included language saying the new law should apply “notwithstanding” any existing law.
“In the end, neither amendment was included in the bill,” said the Massachusetts Catholic Conference. “Even though the House amendment was taken out, the Senate amendment was rejected too. By avoiding the worse-case scenario of adding the Senate’s ‘notwithstanding’ language, Catholic hospitals achieved a substantial victory. House Majority Leader John Rogers, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to defend the hospitals’ right of conscience, made it clear during floor debate on July 21 that the House blocked the Senate amendment so that the 1975 conscience statute would continue to have full effect.”
“[S]ince the new bill does not expressly nullify the older statute,” the bulletin concluded, “the conscience protection on the books still remains in force.”
The conference provided me with a copy of this bulletin, and Rogers assured me its account was “accurate and true.”
The Catholic Church still opposed the bill because it would facilitate abortions. But at least the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals had been preserved — or so it seemed.
On July 25, 2005, Romney vetoed the bill — even though it was clear his veto would be overridden.
He published an op-ed in the Boston Globe the next day explaining his decision. “The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception,” he wrote. “The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.” Romney said the veto kept his pledge not to change the state’s abortion laws.
Romney made no mention of the religious liberty issue in his op-ed. But then, the bill, as the Massachusetts Catholic Conference and the House majority leader understood it, did not allow coercion of Catholic hospitals.
On Dec. 7, 2005, a week before the law was to take effect, the Boston Globe ran a piece headlined: “Private Hospitals Exempt on Pill Law.” The article said the state Department of Public Health had determined that the emergency contraception law “does not nullify a statute passed years ago that says privately run hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.”
Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. told the Globe: “We felt very clearly that the two laws don’t cancel each other out and basically work in harmony with each other.”
Romney spokesman Fehrnstrom told the Globe that Romney agreed with the Department of Public Health on the issue. The governor, he said, “respects the views of health care facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue.”
“The staff of DPH did their own objective and unbiased legal analysis,” Romney’s spokesman told the Globe. “The brought it to us, and we concur in it.”
The Globe itself ruefully bowed to this legal analysis. It ran an editorial headlined: “A Plan B Mistake.” “The legislators failed, however,” the Globe said, “to include wording in the bill explicitly repealing a clause in an older statute that gives hospitals the right, for reasons of conscience, not to offer birth control services.”
Liberals joined in attacking Romney’s defense of Catholic hospitals. But that defense did not last long.
The same day the Globe ran its editorial, Romney held a press conference. Now he said his legal counsel had advised him the new emergency contraception law did trump the 1975 conscience law.
“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. “In my personal view, it’s the right thing for hospitals to provide information and access to emergency contraception to anyone who is a victim of rape.”
A true leader would have said: I will defend the First Amendment right of Catholics to freely exercise their religion — against those who would force them to participate in abortions — all the way to the Supreme Court.
Well, a true conservative leader.
But Romney is not that, no matter how much Ann Coulter or Donald Trump or Bob Dole and John McCain try to tell me so.
If the GOP establishment and their attendants succeed in pushing Romney for the nomination, the Republican nominee against Barack Obama will share with the President the following:
1) both backed the stimulus
2) both backed TARP
3) both back cap and trade
4) both believe it is the role of capitalism to create jobs for the working man, not as a product but as a motivation
5) both support the federal minimum wage
6) both supported gun control
7) both support an individual mandate
8) both support state-run health care
9) both believe that religious conscience laws are trumped by all-encompassing state mandates
As the list continues to grow — and as we’re told hectored more forcefully about our obligation to support the “inevitable” “electable” Romney by Republicans who are either willing to settle, or else who desperately want to protect the DC status quo — my plan is to turn the tables on these “pragmatic” and “sophisticated” GOP voters and ask them why on earth I, as a classical liberal / legal conservative, would pull the lever for a progressive who quite evidently believes in government solutions to problems that are themselves already largely caused by governmental intrusion into the lives of individuals?
Romney has learned to mouth bits and pieces from the Declaration and the Constitution. But that’s all for show. As is, I’m coming to believe, the conservative platform of the Republican Party.