Pro-life Super Pac has released an ad, panned by Factcheck.org, claiming that Mitt Romney “enforced a law which required Catholic hospitals to provide abortions.”
What Romney enforced — after first vetoing the legislation — was a requirement that hospitals provide rape victims with the morning-after pill, a drug that is designed to stop pregnancy from occurring if taken within a few days of unprotected intercourse. He didn’t tell Catholic hospitals that they had to perform abortions.
But respected Factcheck.org journalist Lori Robertson wasn’t fair to Pro-life Super Pac, because she did not state, as a matter of fact, that Mitt Romney himself would agree with Pro-life Super Pac that, as governor of Massachusetts, he was indeed telling Catholic hospitals to provide abortions.
I’ll explain why below. But first, check out the ad, which Pro-Life Super Pac spokesman Jason Jones tells me is running now in Michigan.
We know that Mitt Romney believes that life begins at conception. He said in October he “absolutely” would have supported an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution codifying that life begins at conception. A few weeks later, Romney confirmed that “life begins at conception.”
If you’re Romney, and you believe life begins at conception, then you have no choice but to acknowledge that birth control pills and the morning after pill are threats to life as you define it.
That’s because certain types of birth control pills as well as the morning-after pill, which is essentially high-dose birth control, have the potential to destroy fertilized eggs, or zygotes, by making it harder for them to implant in the uterus.
“You don’t know whether the action is birth control or contraception,” Pro-life Super Pac’s Jones told me. Politifact.org arrived at the same conclusion here. Personhood U.S.A. Legal Analyst Gualberto Garcia Jones emailed me, “At best, Romney forced Catholic hospitals to play Russian roulette with innocent human beings, at worst he forced Catholic hospitals to be an accessory to murder, so we have no qualms with the statement made by the Pro-life Super PAC.”
If he were consistent, Romney would say that hospitals offering birth control pills and Plan B are providing abortions. That’s what he’d say today. (That’s not what I’d say, because I don’t believe life begins at conception, but that’s what Romney would say.)
And though he’s flipped around on abortion during his political career, Romney had the same view in 2005, when he vetoed a bill requiring hospitals to provide Plan B, because, he wrote,
“The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.”
Factcheck.org argues that this claim may not represent his true feelings about Plan B because:
But [Romney] later said, when deciding that Catholic hospitals wouldn’t be exempt from providing the pill to 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 contraceptives or emergency contraceptive information.”
But this says nothing about his view on whether he thinks Plan B can destroy zygotes. He’s just saying he’d allow access to rape victims, which is a position he has now abandoned in view of his support for state personhood amendments giving legal rights to all zygotes, even if conceived during rape.
Reporters at Factcheck.org need to be clear on Romney’s view on Plan B, because the ramifications go way beyond the Pro-Life Pac ad.
Today, as I wrote, Romney absolutely supports state personhood amendements, which means he wants state governments to define life his way, as beginning at conception.
This means that not only is Romney personally opposed to Plan B, certain birth control pills, and abortions, but he favors banning them, through state law.
That’s a big deal for women, and all of us, and reporters should be clear on where Romney stands.