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Mitt Romney: Why I Vetoed Contraception Bill

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney explains in an op-ed today why he vetoed a controversial contraception bill.

Why I vetoed contraception bill (Boston Globe)

Yesterday I vetoed a bill that the Legislature forwarded to my desk. Though described by its sponsors as a measure relating to contraception, there is more to it than that. The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.

Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it. What’s more, this particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness of abortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold.

I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward. I will honor the commitment I made during my campaign: While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state’s abortion laws.

I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state’s democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.

One wonders whether the odd spellings “prolife” and “prochoice” are Romney’s or part of the Globe’s style guide. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them rendered that way.

A related piece examines the politics behind the bill:

Romney vetoes law on pill, takes aim at Roe v. Wade

Three years after expressing support for ”the substance” of Roe v. Wade, Governor Mitt Romney today criticizes the landmark ruling that legalized abortion and says the states should decide separately whether to allow it.

Romney outlines his abortion position in an opinion article today in The Boston Globe, a day after he vetoed a bill that would expand access to the so-called ”morning after” pill, a high dose of hormones that women can take to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex.

In a written response to a questionnaire for candidates in 2002, Romney told Planned Parenthood that he supported ”the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade,” according to the group. Today, Romney describes himself as a ”pro-life governor” who wishes ”the laws of our nation could reflect that view.” Calling the country ”divided over abortion,” he says states ”should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.”

”I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth,” Romney says in the op-ed article. ”I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice, except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view.”

Romney said he had vetoed the emergency contraception bill to fulfill his 2002 campaign promise not to change state abortion laws.

But supporters of the measure, pointing out that Romney has also pledged to support expanded access to emergency contraception, accused the GOP governor of trying to burnish his conservative credentials for a possible presidential run.

The bill that Romney vetoed would allow trained pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill without a prescription and would require hospitals to offer it to rape victims. It almost certainly will become law despite Romney’s rejection; both the House and Senate approved it by veto-proof margins, and legislative leaders said they plan to override his veto.

This would seem to bear out Kathryn Lopez‘ contention that yesterday’s move was, “in essence, Romney’s announcement he’s not running for reelection and is running for president.” The nature of the morning after pill has not changed in the last three years, after all. Indeed, its very name describes its abortive purpose.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mitt Romney Declares Self Conservative Republican Romney Signs Universal Health Care Bill Mitt Romney Parts Ways with Consultant Mike Murphy President Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney Trailing in Massachusetts poll Mitt Romney: Why I Vetoed Contraception Bill Romney’s Gay Marriage Hypocrisy? Elsewhere: South Park Libertarians: Trey Parker and Matt Stone on liberals, conservatives, censorship, and religion (Jesse Walker and Nick Gillespie, Reason, December 2006)

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  2. Rick DeMent says:

    Yet the morning after pill works exactly like any other oral contraception and it does not seem as if he would have the balls to ban that (what would all those catholic women do).

    What a tool.

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  3. Fighting For The Helm

    I noted this L.A. Times article over at Drudge about Hillary and the effort of the Democratic Leadership Council to reestablish its power in the Democratic Party. I think ol’ Hill is well aware of the fact that the S.S….

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  4. Jesse says:

    The morning-after pill has no abortive purpose. Abortion requires a pregnancy. The morning-after pill, at the latest point, prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall. Without implantation, there’s no pregnancy, ergo, no abortion.

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  5. McGehee says:

    “Contraception” means “against conception.” Once a egg is fertilized, conception has already taken place and the woman is already pregnant.

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  6. carsick says:

    Conception doesn’t begin when the sperm enters the tube. Conception begins when the sperm penetrates the egg’s outer shields. That is not known to happen in the first 24 hours.
    It takes awhile for the sperm to get it’s bearings. Of course it never consults a map so that could take awhile. Then it needs to race against the other sperm to be first and have on the right colonge. Of course it needs to take a few breathers and perhaps a piss stop along the way. Sperm usually takes about 24 hours to reach the egg. Of course the sperm doesn’t have eyes nor does it have chemical sensors to help it look for the egg. It has to literally bump into it.

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  7. carsick says:

    In other words, the morning after pill prevents the egg from being fertilized. Hence, no conception.
    The body does the same thing because eggs have a fairly short shelf life and the body uses chemical triggers, just like RU 486, to kick the unfertilized egg out. Though the morning-after pill just fools the body into thinking the egg has past its expiration date a few hours early. Stress can do the same thing sometimes. So unless you want to stop women from having periods to expell eggs or you want to stop women from having stress then…

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  8. Bithead says:

    One wonders whether the odd spellings “prolife” and “prochoice” are Romney’s or part of the Globe’s style guide. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen them rendered that way.

    I get the impression such words aren’t used by the paper, and therefore the style guide doesn’t know how to deal with them.

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