Massachusetts governor vetoes emergency contraception bill
BOSTON – Gov. Mitt Romney vetoed a bill Monday expanding access to emergency contraception, angering abortion rights advocates while pleasing anti-abortion activists crucial to a 2008 presidential run.The veto could end up being overturned by lawmakers because the bill passed with veto-proof margins in both the House and Senate.The Republican governor said the so-called “morning after pill” is already widely available without a mandate from the state. He also was concerned because the hormone regimen can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus.”If it only dealt with contraception, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But it also in some cases terminates a life after conception,” he said.The morning after pill is different from the abortion pill RU-486. It can prevent pregnancy by delaying a woman’s ovulation or keeping sperm from fertilizing an egg.It also can thin the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. Anti-abortion groups see interfering with a fertilized egg as abortion.The legislation would require hospital emergency room doctors to offer the medication to rape victims, and would make it available without prescription from pharmacies. A provision that exempted Catholic hospitals was dropped from the legislation.”The governor misunderstands the effects of this medication and regrettably misinterprets how this bill’s provisions would apply to existing state abortion laws,” said House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi, a Democrat.The legislation has become a topic of spirited debate over whether Romney is adopting more right-leaning stances to court conservatives for a possible 2008 presidential bid.Romney said during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign that he did support wider access to the hormone regimen. But after legislation began to make its way through Beacon Hill, he said he had not decided and needed to study the legislation.Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, a national anti-abortion group, called the veto “fantastic.””I think any candidate that establishes themselves as respecting human life in the earliest stages – and that’s what Gov. Romney has done here – would certainly be appealing to pro-life voters,” he said.