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Flashback: Can Catholics Trust Romney, the White Obama?

If Romney is the GOP Presidential Candidate, I will not vote for him. Why vote for a white Obama.

Fred

Romney shifted on 'conscience' issue

’05 contraception stance similar to Obama’s now
C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League said Mitt Romney has a ‘very mixed record’ on the contraception issue.

By Tracy Jan
Globe Staff / February 3, 2012
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Sending your articleYour article has been sent. WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney accused President Obama this week of ordering “religious organizations to violate their conscience,’’ referring to a White House decision that requires all health plans - even those covering employees at Catholic hospitals, charities, and colleges - to provide free birth control. But a review of Romney’s tenure as Massachusetts governor shows that he once took a similar step...

... Some Catholic leaders now point to inconsistency in Romney’s criticism of the president and characterize his new stance as politically expedient, even as they welcome it.

“The initial injury to Catholic religious freedom came not from the Obama administration but from the Romney administration,’’ said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts. “President Obama’s plan certainly constitutes an assault on the constitutional rights of Catholics, but I’m not sure Governor Romney is in a position to assert that, given his own very mixed record on this.’’

Other Catholic leaders say they are inclined to give Romney the benefit of the doubt and have faith he will uphold his promise to overturn federal health regulations that they say impinge on religious organizations’ rights.

Romney’s more recent position on the issue - as reflected at his Tuesday night victory party in Tampa, where he vowed to “defend religious liberty and overturn regulations that trample on our first freedom’’ - is echoed by many Republicans. Among them is House Speaker John Boehner, who yesterday called upon the Obama administration to reconsider the decision to make most religiously affiliated employers cover contraception in their health plans.

Romney’s campaign has touted endorsements from prominent abortion foes such as Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard law professor and founder of Women Affirming Life.

But GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, a Catholic, has accused Romney of trampling on “religious liberty’’ at Catholic hospitals, apparently for his 2005 decision as governor.

“You want a war on the Catholic Church by Obama?’’ Gingrich said at a rally earlier this week in Tampa. “Guess what: Romney refused to allow Catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances.’’

The Romney campaign, asked this week about his past actions on the issue, issued a statement Wednesday noting that he had originally vetoed the bill giving rape victims access to emergency contraception.Continued...

“The governor’s position on this law was that it never should have gone into effect in the first place, which is why he vetoed it,’’ the statement said. Asked yesterday to explain his 2005 comments in a Globe interview about believing in his “heart of hearts’’ that rape victims were entitled to emergency contraception, the campaign did not respond.

The series of events in 2005 involved several legal and political turns at a time when Romney was shifting from moderate positions on social issues he had taken when running for governor to prepare to run for president in a Republican Party that is far to the right of the Bay State electorate.

Romney had angered reproductive rights advocates in July 2005 when he vetoed a bill to make the morning-after pill available over the counter at Massachusetts pharmacies and to require hospitals to make it available to rape victims, even though he had supported emergency contraception during his 2002 campaign for governor. He justified his veto in a Globe op-ed article in which he clearly accepted the view of some opponents of emergency contraception that it can be a form of abortion. Nonetheless, the Legislature overrode his veto.

In December of that year, days before the law was to go into effect, Romney’s public health commissioner determined that a preexisting statute saying private hospitals could not be forced to provide abortions or contraception gave Catholic and other privately run hospitals the right to opt out of the new law on religious or moral grounds.

That ruling sparked widespread criticism, including some by Romney’s lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey. Days later the Romney administration reversed course. His legal counsel concluded the new law did not provide any religious exemptions.

Further confusing voters on his position, Romney said he supported the use of emergency contraception by rape victims. “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,’’ he said.

Doyle, of the Catholic Action League, said that Romney should have fought harder to reinstate the religious exemption and that he now doubts Romney’s sincerity in advocating for religious freedom if he becomes president.

“Governor Romney afterwards lamented that and campaigned around the country as someone in favor of religious freedom and traditional morality,’’ Doyle said. “He is very consistent at working both sides of the street on the same issue at the same time. His record on this issue has been one of very cynical and tactical manipulation.’’

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/02/03/mitt_romney_caught_in_inconsistency_in_blast_at_barack_obama_for_forcing_catholic_institutions_to_provide_insured_birth_control/

 

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