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Santorum Accuses Romney of Forcing Mass. Catholic Hospitals to Offer Emergency Contraception



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From a new op-ed by Rick Santorum, via Politico:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unilaterally decreed that all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, who offer health insurance to their employees, must offer sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception. 

This is not the first time that elected officials have trounced on the fundamental right to religious freedom. In December 2005, Governor MittRomney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

He said then that he believed “in his heart of hearts” that receiving these contraceptives – free of charge – trumped employees’ religious consciences. Now, a few years later and running for president, his heart isstrategically aligned with religious voters opposing this federal mandate.

The actions of President Obama – as well as the actions of then Governor Romney – raise some questions. From where do we receive our fundamental human rights? Are they given to us by the government–whether that government be State or Federal? Or, as the American Founders insisted, are these rights endowed upon us by a Creator?

Full piece here. As David French detailed in a Corner post a few days ago, Romney vetoed the bill that forced Catholic hospitals to offer emergency contraception, but that veto was overriden by the state’s legislature. 

The “in his heart of hearts” quote appears to go back to a 2005 Boston Globe story on the subject:

State Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. said in an interview Monday that his department felt strongly that the new emergency contraception law did not compel all hospitals to provide the morning-after pill.

Romney said earlier through communications director,Eric Fehrnstrom that he supported the department’s ruling because it respected “the views of healthcare facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue.”

Asked yesterday to elaborate on that position, Romney said simply that the law was the law and that the state had to follow it. The governor characterized his own beliefs about emergency contraception this way: “My personal view, in my heart of hearts, is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraception or emergency contraception information.”

UPDATE: “Governor Romney stands with the Catholic Bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation,” e-mails Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in response. “He is committed to repealing Obamacare entirely. On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith.”

“We expect these attacks from President Obama and his liberal friends,” Saul added. “But from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it’s a clear indication of desperation from their campaigns.” 



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