“The charge that Mitt Romney has not stood tall to defend freedom of religion is preposterous... people of all faiths won’t find a more ardent or effective advocate than Mitt Romney. He has shown backbone on every critical issue at every juncture when it counted.”
— Mary Ann Glendon Chair of the Board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Former Ambassador to the Holy See Former President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences
Pursuit of Religious Freedom Law for Catholic Charities
''Calling it a matter of "religious freedom," Governor Mitt Romney said yesterday that he plans to file a bill that would exempt religious organizations from the state's antidiscrimination laws to permit Catholic Charities and other religious groups to refuse to provide adoption services when doing so violates their faith.
''The proposal was immediately denounced by top Democrats...
''Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, said the bill would have little support in the Senate...
''Romney, who was attending a Republican conference in Tennessee, announced he would file the bill promptly...
''Romney said he wants the Legislature to change antidiscrimination laws so that religious groups can make adoption placements without compromising their tenets...
''John H. Garvey, dean of Boston College Law School, said federal courts have repeatedly upheld exemptions for religious groups from federal antidiscrimination laws.
'' "We must not forget, in our desire to promote aims like women's equality or equality on the basis of sexual orientation, that we also need to keep an eye out for religious liberty," he said.
''But Laurence H. Tribe, a leading constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School and a well-known advocate of legalized gay marriage, said Romney's proposal would probably violate the First Amendment...
''House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi... said in a statement that the state must "ensure that discrimination is not tolerated in this vital publicly-supported function." He promised to review Romney's bill, but added that "if it condones discrimination, it will violate our Constitution, and I will oppose it." ...
'' "It is reprehensible that any governor would support a policy of discrimination against any group of people, regardless of whether the discrimination is based on race or creed or sexual preference," said Philip W. Johnston, chairman of the state Democratic Party.
''But Fehrnstrom insisted that the governor was protecting the First Amendment. "Catholics and people of other faiths should be allowed to carry out their mission of helping people without violating their religious beliefs," he said.''
''Gov. Mitt Romney filed a bill Wednesday that would exempt the Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities from a state anti-discrimination law that says it must provide adoption services to gay and lesbian couples...
''Romney's bill, "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom," would exempt religious organizations from the state's anti-discrimination requirements when providing adoption or foster placement services. He said the exemption would not allow discrimination based on race, creed, national origin, gender or handicap...
'' "It is a matter beyond dispute, and a prerequisite to the preservation of liberty, that government not dictate to religious institutions the moral principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission," Romney said in a letter to House and Senate leaders.''
The Massachusetts state legislature refused to pass the religious freedom law.
Catholic Charities proceeded to stop its adoption services so they would not be required to violate their beliefs.
The Church was attacked for its moral views and the governor defended them.
The Church and the governor continued to pursue legislation that would resolve such moral conflicts for the church.
"In an apparent response" to "an open letter to Cardinal O’Malley and the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts, accusing them of “promoting prejudice,” " sent by a group for gay marriage, "Gov. Mitt Romney held a press conference with traditional marriage supporters including Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley at the Statehouse on June 28".
In the press release, "Cardinal O’Malley said that society has a duty to pass on a strong institution of marriage for the good of future generations. The optimal place for children is a family of a father and mother in a permanent, loving, committed relationship which deserves to be protected by the state, he said.
" “To redefine marriage as merely an arrangement among adults undermines the family and will have serious consequences in our future,” he added."
Pursuit of Religious Exemptions for Catholic Hospitals
• Mitt Romney vetoed a bill requiring Catholic hospitals to administer emergency contraception.
• When the veto was overridden, the Romney administration used various arguments to explicitly exempt Catholic hospitals including through citing a state religious freedom law.
• An uproar occurs and Mitt Romney realizes he can't win the battle legislatively or in the courts.
• He concedes not to explicitly exempt hospitals and his department of health implements the law with fine print that combined with a federal religious freedom law implicitly exempted Catholic hospitals, enabling Catholic hospitals to conform with teachings.
Jul 26, 2005 Romney vetos bill, makes argument against it:
"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.
"The governor interrupted a New Hampshire vacation to return to Boston to veto the bill, and he publicized his action with one-on-one interviews with television reporters, a sit-down session with newspaper reporters in his State House office, and the Globe op-ed article."
Sep 16, 2005 Senate unanimously and house overwhelmingly override Gov. Romney's veto:
(Lawmakers and proponents of the law fear the Romney administration will drag their feet on implementing the law, possibly taking weeks or months in spite of their rushing him and trying to help him get it implemented.)
"It could take weeks or months for a new state emergency contraception law to take effect, despite the Legislature's resounding endorsement of the measure yesterday.
"Massachusetts became the eighth state to allow pharmacists to dispense the emergency contraception pill without a doctor's prescription when lawmakers easily overrode Governor Mitt Romney's veto yesterday. But the state's Department of Public Health, which is overseen by Romney, must write regulations to implement it. Sally Fogerty, the associate commissioner of the state agency, could not immediately offer a timetable for the new rules.
" "We do hope they will work as quickly as possible. We will be giving them information and examples from other states to make sure the process moves as quickly as possible. We're gathering that already," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro- Choice Massachusetts. "We'll be monitoring the situation."
"In addition to allowing trained Massachusetts pharmacists to dispense the morning-after pill, the new law requires hospitals to offer it to rape victims. Most of the state's hospitals, 59 out of 71, according to a 2004 poll by abortion rights groups, already offer the pill to rape victims.
"The Senate voted, 37 to 0, to reject Romney's veto, and the House followed suit with a 139-to-16 tally. Supporters needed a two- thirds majority in each chamber to overrule the governor.
" "Not only was his veto irresponsible, his argument was based on weak and misguided information," said Senator Pamela P. Resor, an Acton Democrat."
Dec 7, 2005 Romney administration takes months to enact law during which they devise approach to exempt Catholic and other private institutions:
"Cote said private hospitals, including Catholic hospitals, will have the right to "opt out" if the new law is "at odds" with their mission. Cote cited a decades-old morality law that says private hospitals aren't required to provide services, such as abortions or contraceptive devices, if "contrary to the religious or moral principles" of the hospital's charter."
"The state Department of Public Health has determined that Catholic and other privately-run hospitals in Massachusetts can opt out of giving the morning-after pill to rape victims because of religious or moral objections, despite a new law that requires all hospitals who treat such victims to provide them with emergency contraception...
"The new law, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature this summer over the objections of Governor Mitt Romney, takes effect next week...
" ''We're very disappointed that the Romney administration is not honoring the intent of the Legislature, who voted overwhelmingly to protect the health of rape victims," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts...
"The Department of Public Health decision is welcome news for Catholic hospitals who do not provide emergency contraception and feared that the new law would make them do so. (In 2004, NARAL surveyed the 71 hospitals in Massachusetts with emergency rooms and found that one in six did not offer emergency contraception to rape victims. Among the nine Catholic hospitals included in the survey, NARAL found that six did not offer it.)
"Judy Mackey, a spokeswoman for Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, which does not offer the morning-after pill, said it would have been difficult for the hospital to navigate between state law and Catholic tenets.
" ''I'm glad they sorted it out and it's a clear path for us, because obviously being in the gray area is not good," Mackey said. The dilemma, she said, was ''how to be legally compliant and compliant with our religious objectives?"
"Lawmakers, however, said the Legislature had something very different in mind: that rape victims could get emergency contraception at any hospital, Catholic or not...
"Romney's communications director, Eric Fehrnstrom, said the governor felt that the decision made sense because it ''respects the views of healthcare facilities that are guided by moral principles on this issue." ...
" ''Generally this is a victory for religious freedom and for conscience rights," said C. J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.
" ''It's encouraging, but we're not out of the woods yet." "
There is a huge uproar and opposition to the governor's plan, and lawmakers vow to do whatever it takes to implement the law with no exceptions, from repealing state freedom of religion laws to fighting it in court. (More from the above article):
"The decision, which is likely to result in a legal challenge, reignites an issue that has been fiercely debated on Beacon Hill: who should have access to emergency contraception and which hospitals, pharmacies, and medical centers should be required to provide it.
"The ruling set off criticism from reproductive rights advocates and other backers of the new law, who believe rape victims should have wide access to what they say is a safe, effective means to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But it heartened conservatives and Catholic groups, who oppose the morning-after pill because they believe it amounts to abortion in some cases.
"The ruling, which the department plans to outline to hospital CEOs in a letter this week, says the new law applies to all hospitals but does not nullify a statute passed years ago that says privately-run hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.
" ''We feel very clearly that the two laws don't cancel each other out and basically work in harmony with each other," Paul Cote Jr., commissioner of the Department of Public Health, said in an interview yesterday...
"Lawmakers, however, said the Legislature had something very different in mind: that rape victims could get emergency contraception at any hospital, Catholic or not.
" ''There is no mistaking the intention of the law," said Senator Susan C. Fargo, a Lincoln Democrat and cosponsor of the bill.
"The question of whether the new law would trump the existing statute preventing any private hospital from being forced to provide an abortion or contraception was central to the debate earlier this year in the Legislature. State Representative John Rogers cited the existing law in an unsuccessful bid to exempt Catholic hospitals. Without that exemption, he said he believed those hospitals would have to give emergency contraception to rape victims under the bill.
"Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, the state's top law enforcement official and a Democratic candidate for governor next year, criticized the Department of Public Health decision yesterday.
" ''We believe the law is clear and that it applies to all hospitals," Reilly said in a statement. ''We expect all hospitals to follow the law." ...
"State Senator Pamela Resor, an Acton Democrat and lead sponsor of the new law, said lawmakers might file legislation that specifically repeals the prior statute.
" ''We'll pursue it any way we have to," she said.
"Reproductive rights groups say it is unfair to limit hospital access for rape victims who are not able to choose which hospital they go to -- if they're taken there by ambulance, say, or because there's not another facility nearby.
" ''Rape victims shouldn't have to worry about the affiliation of a hospital when they go to an emergency room or are brought there by an ambulance to receive necessary care," said Angus McQuilken, public affairs director for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.
"Administration officials dismissed those concerns, saying it is unlikely that a rape victim would face a hardship because some hospitals choose not to provide emergency contraception.
" ''I don't think that's a hypothetical that really holds water," Cote said.
"Seven other states with emergency contraception laws require all hospitals to provide it to rape victims.
"None of them exempt hospitals opposed to providing contraception or abortion services.
"People on both sides of the issue in Massachusetts agreed on one thing: that this is hardly the last word."
The uproar includes members of Romney's own administration as well as the attorney general (who is responsible to enforce and defend the law) and legislators:
"Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey said yesterday that all Massachusetts hospitals should provide emergency contraception to rape victims, putting herself at odds with the administration of Governor Mitt Romney as a new "morning-after pill" law is poised to go into effect.
"Healey, a Republican who plans to run for governor if Romney mounts a run for president, made her comments one day after the Department of Public Health disclosed a new policy that would allow Catholic and other privately run hospitals to avoid giving out the pill, even though the new law says such services must be provided to "each female rape victim." The law takes effect Dec. 14...
"It was the latest instance in recent months that Healey has distanced herself from Romney on a divisive social issue...
"Outraged at the new policy guidelines, the four chief sponsors of the legislation, all Democrats, wrote to Public Health Commissioner Paul J. Cote Jr. yesterday, demanding that he "re consider any attempt to promote noncompliance with the Emergency Contraception law."
" "The determination of the Department of Public Health to ignore the Legislature's clearly stated intent on this matter constitutes a gross violation of its obligation to implement the laws of the Commonwealth faithfully and without prejudice," the lawmakers' letter said.
"Cote, in an interview, said that neither Healey's opinion nor that of the legislators would affect the department's actions.
" "My answer to any folks, legislators or otherwise, is we are doing our level best to deal with what we have before us," Cote said.
"The emergency contraception pill, also called Plan B, is a high dose of hormones that women can take up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy.
"Massachusetts was the eighth state to authorize pharmacists to dispense the pill without a prescription, when legislators overrode Romney's veto of the law in September.
"At issue in the debate is a separate state law, enacted decades ago, that says that privately run hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception. Because lawmakers did not delete that law when enacting the new one, Cote said, it remains in effect.
"Romney said yesterday that if lawmakers are upset with his administration's application of the statutes, they should file a bill that resolves the discrepancy between the new law and the existing one...
"Romney describes himself as "prolife." Though Cote reports directly to Romney, the governor offered remarks yesterday that left some activists confused about his position on the issue.
" "My own view is that every hospital should provide to rape victims information about emergency contraception or emergency contraception itself," he told reporters. "But, again, we have to follow the law, and when there are two laws on the books that have conflicting elements, there has to be an effort to try to make them conform with one another." ...
"Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly said the Romney administration has found conflict in two statutes that "can be read in harmony" and said he would inform the DPH of his legal opinion on the matter shortly.
" "This [new law] applies to a narrow class of people, but it protects them," Reilly, a Democrat who is planning to run for governor next year, said of rape victims. "To try to get around this with a back-door regulation is just wrong." "
Dec 8, 2005 Governor Romney then suggests that if Catholic hospitals must comply with the law, they can do so by simply giving people information on contraception so they can get it elsewhere, but that it is his opinion that they don't even have to do that:
"Mitt Romney] spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom denied Romney's comments yesterday are inconsistent with the action by the DPH he oversees: "The governor's view is not inconsisent with what the law is because the current law allows a hospital to provide emergency information, emergency contraception itself, or neither."
"Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healy, who made an unusual public break with Romney this summer by backing the contraception law, refused yesterday to back the DPH rules exempting Catholic hospitals. "I have been very public in my support for emergency contraception for victims of rape and I believe that it should be administered in all settings," Healey said."
"To recap: Last July [Mitt Romney] vetoed a proposed state law to make the so-called morning-after pill readily available over the counter and to rape victims treated at area hospitals. He did so, insisting that during his gubernatorial campaign he promised not to change the state's abortion laws and this one did.
"It seemed like yet another example of the Republican governor losing out to the Democratic Legislature. That is, until Romney decided religious hospitals could satisfy the new law by simply providing INFORMATION about the pill - not the pill itself - to those seeking treatment."
Dec 9, 2005 After consulting his lawyers, Gov. Romney realized he could not win a battle to explicitly state in the law the hospitals are exempt. He concedes to no explicit exemptions:
"Governor Mitt Romney reversed course on the state's new emergency contraception law yesterday, saying that all hospitals in the state will be obligated to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims...
"He said yesterday that he had changed direction after his legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, concluded Wednesday that the new law supersedes a preexisting statute that says private hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.
" "And on that basis, I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel and to adopt that sounder view," Romney said at the State House...
"Romney made his announcement a week before the controversial law takes effect. His decision resolves, for now, a debate that has raged since the Department of Public Health disclosed its position Monday. The department had said that the existing statute allowed private hospitals to sidestep the new requirement if they wished. Massachusetts is one of eight states that require all hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims...
"Christine A. Baratta a spokeswoman for the Caritas Christi Health Care System, which operates six Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts would only answer questions via e-mail. She said Caritas will continue to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault victims as long as they're not pregnant and that the hospitals use a serum blood test to determine pregnancy. It's unclear how that policy will conform with the law.
"Caritas caregivers, Baratta said, "are committed to providing sexual assault victims the appropriate, comprehensive, and compassionate psychological, spiritual, and medical care they require." ...
"Daniel Avila associate director for policy and research for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Boston Archdiocese said yesterday that despite the new administration position, Catholic hospitals will continue to have a basis for not handing out the morning-after pill...
"Avila said it was premature to be "disappointed with any permutation in the debate," because a legal challenge was certain."
Dec, 2005 The law was enacted by the Romney administration, but with wording the governor alluded to, allowing Catholic hospitals to navigate the law as the Caritas Christi spokeswoman in the previous quote stated.
This allowed private hospitals to remain true to teachings, and take advantage of a federal religious freedom law.
"The Massachusetts Department of Public Health did in fact draft regulations implementing the EC [emergency contraception] law, and those regulations contain a few key words and phrases. First, they require hospitals to “offer” EC “if medically indicated” and to dispense EC “unless medically contraindicated.”
"Directive 36 of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services permits Catholic hospitals to dispense EC if, “after testing, there is no evidence ovulation has occurred.” But the hospital may not dispense medication that has the “purpose or effect” of “the removal, destruction, or interference with the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”
"At the same time, the federal Church Amendment protects the conscience rights of individual providers who refuse to participate in sterilizations or abortions.
"The Massachusetts regulations, the Church Amendment, and Directive 36 combine to create a number of potential loopholes and workarounds...
"If all of this sounds ridiculously wonkish, it is. But that’s how disputes are navigated under the shadow of Roe v. Wade. Battles are fought in the fine print, and the grand gestures are often saved only for those times when they might make an impact. If Mitt Romney had followed Mr. Jeffrey’s advice, the situation in Massachusetts (and elsewhere) could be much worse. Lawsuits filed under sub-optimal facts in more pro-abortion jurisdictions rarely result in quality precedent and often do more harm than good. Fights picked with extremist pro-abortion legislatures rarely turn out well for the cause of life.
"There are parallels between this argument over pro-life tactics and the argument over Mitt Romney’s response to the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. In both cases some activists demanded a grand gesture, but Mitt responded by fighting the fights he could win."
“As you know, Mitt Romney served as the governor of our state from January 2, 2003 to January 3, 2007. During that time, we worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that [pro-family and religious freedom] agenda.
“Some press accounts and bloggers have described Governor Romney in terms we neither have observed nor can we accept. To the contrary, we, who have been fighting here for the values you also hold, are indebted to him and his responsive staff in demonstrating solid social conservative credentials by undertaking the following actions here in Massachusetts...
“Staunchly defended traditional marriage. ...
“Affirmed the culture of life. ...
“Stood for religious freedom. Governor Romney was stalwart in defense of the right of Catholic Charities of Boston to refuse to allow homosexual couples to adopt children in its care. Catholic Charities was loudly accused of “discrimination,” but Governor Romney correctly pointed out that it is unjust to force a religious agency to violate the tenets of its faith in order to placate a special-interest group.
“Filed "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom" in the Massachusetts legislature to save Catholic Charities of Boston and other religious groups from being forced to violate their moral principles or stop doing important charitable work.
“All of this may explain why John J. Miller, the national political reporter of National Review, wrote that “a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment.” ...
“Since well before 2003, we have been laboring in the trenches of Massachusetts, fighting for the family values you and we share. It is difficult work indeed – not for the faint of heart. In this challenging environment, Governor Romney has proven that he shares our values, as well as our determination to protect them.
“For four years, Governor Romney was right there beside us, providing leadership on key issues – whether it was politically expedient to do so or not. He has stood on principle, and we have benefited greatly from having him with us...”
Massachusetts Signatories include:
Gerald D. D’Avolio Former Executive Director, Massachusetts Catholic Conference
Raymond L. Flynn Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Richard Guerriero Immediate Past State Deputy, Massachusetts State Council, Knights of Columbus (In 2007 letter)
Mary Ann Glendon Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (and fmr. president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome)
Other signatories added their name to the letter in January 2012. They include:
John Giotis Headmaster for the School of the Immaculata; Tampa Bay Director for the 2008 “Yes4Marriage” Campaign
Nancy McGowan Twice commissioned Respect Life Coordinator for the Diocese of St. Augustine
"Ambassador Mary Ann Glendon, Founder of Women Affirming Life and Chair of the Board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as well as the Canterbury Medal recipient in 2003, made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s defense of religious liberty:"
“The charge that Mitt Romney has not stood tall to defend freedom of religion is preposterous. The truth is that Mitt Romney has been fighting assaults on religious freedom for a long time, and at moments and in places where it was not popular, to say the least. When Catholic Charities in Massachusetts was being forced out of the adoption business because they were trying to provide adoption services for needy children while staying true to their beliefs, it was Governor Mitt Romney who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Catholic Church and filed a bill to protect religious liberty. It was precisely for his courageous efforts in defense of religious freedom that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty awarded him its prestigious Canterbury Medal in 2008. At this moment when religious liberty is under attack from many quarters, people of all faiths won’t find a more ardent or effective advocate than Mitt Romney. He has shown backbone on every critical issue at every juncture when it counted.”
“On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration affirmed a rule that would force Roman Catholic hospitals, charities, and universities to purchase health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization, in violation of their religious principles. This is wrong.
“My own view is clear. I stand with the Catholic Bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation. I am committed to overturning Obamacare root and branch. If I am elected President, on day one of my administration I will issue an executive order directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver from its requirements to all 50 states. And on day one I will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith. Such rules don't belong in the America that I believe in.
“The America I believe in is governed by the U.S. Constitution and I will not hesitate to use the powers of the presidency to protect religious liberty.
“Religious liberty is at the heart of the American experiment. As a nation founded in part by religious dissenters, we enshrined it as the first freedom in our Bill of Rights. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof' is how the First Amendment begins. James Madison put the moral principle behind the amendment succinctly: "Conscience is the most sacred of all property." And accompanying the moral principle came the social principle that only religious liberty could ensure tranquility in a new land composed of men and women of differing faiths.
“But, now, more than two centuries after the drafting of the Bill of Rights, religious liberty is facing the most serious assault in generations. And the assault is coming from liberalism itself...
“Those of us who object have an irrefutable case. American courts have long held as a foundational principle the right of religious institutions to control their own affairs. It was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court as recently as January 11 in a case involving ministerial hiring. It is notable that in that case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, the Obama administration was also challenging the basic time-honored principle of ecclesiastical autonomy. But a unanimous Court rejected the Obama administration's position, declaring it to be 'extreme' and explaining that the suit was 'hard to square with the text of the First Amendment itself, which gives special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.'
“Seemingly in line with this 'special solicitude,' the Obama administration has put forward a 'religious employer' exemption regarding contraception and sterilization insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the Obama administration lawyers narrowed its actual force almost to the vanishing point. It only applies to religious organizations engaged primarily in serving people of the same religion. But that is not what many religious institutions do; serving the broad public is the essence of their divine mission. Accordingly, they will be compelled to provide health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience.
“In an effort to mollify the Bishops, Health and Human Services has now given religious institutions an additional twelve months to comply. That twelve-month extension is a clumsy attempt to push this matter past this year's presidential election. As long as the rule hovers in front of us, we must keep up the battle. In a polity that provides all manners of exemption on the basis of religious freedom, it is an appalling trespass on the First Amendment...
“It is a prerequisite to the preservation of our liberty that our government not dictate to religious institutions the principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission. Religious liberty and freedom of conscience flow from the common conviction that it is freedom not coercion that exalts the individual, just as it raises up the nation...
“We must come together to make sure that these egregious violations of our Constitution do not stand.”
Mitt Romney: "I Will Not Hesitate to Use the Powers of the Presidency to Protect Religious Liberty."
“Governor Romney stands with the Catholic Bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation. 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. But from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it’s a clear indication of desperation from their campaigns.” – Ryan Williams, Romney spokesperson
(Referencing parts of his op-ed, this statement also includes other quotes including from news sources noting Santorum, Gingrich and Obama are mischaracterizing Romney's record on this issue.)
Fox News' Your World With Neil Cavuto - Feb 9, 2012
Mitt Romney: “The White House has shown its hand already. They began with an assault suggesting that the government should determine who a minister is and not a religion making that choice on their own. The Supreme Court turned them down on that one 9-0. And of course this effort with regards to contraception and the day after pill, and sterilization is an outrageous assault on religious conscience in this country. They’ve clearly suffered enormously at the hands of not just the people in the Catholic Church who were affected directly but people of all faiths and they’re going to have to retreat or suffer enormous consequence and ultimately they will retreat as forced by the Supreme Court or by the next election if they don't retreat now on their own...
“When I was governor of my state, the legislature passed a bill saying emergency contraception was going to be provided through Catholic hospitals and other institutions. I vetoed that bill. We have found from liberals across the country, an effort to impose their will on religious organizations and on the population at large, and that is something we have to fight at every turn...
“The legislation in our state that related to providing contraception and sterilization, those kinds of things, in insurance, occurred before I was governor and my effort as governor was to try and remove those things. I was unsuccessful in removing them. My legislature was 85 percent Democrat. But the White House can’t point to my record because this occurred before I became governor and my effort was to get it out of the legislation going forward...
“I fought on every basis I possibly could for life and for religious tolerance and liberty and sometimes I could not win those battles in a legislature that was 85 percent Democrat. This is a president who is promoting the very things I was fighting against. So, he can try and draw the parallel but I can draw my distinction which is I fought against the very things this president is trying to do. I fought successfully in some cases. But in each case I fought for religious liberty and for the respect of individuals making their own choices.”
Town hall meeting in Portland, Maine. Feb 10, 2012
“You’ve got a president who has launched an assault on religious conviction. I find it extraordinary that he feels he can tell the Catholic Church what they have to provide for their employees, including devices and instruments they find contrary to their conscience. … There’s been an attack launched on religion in this country and on conscience in this country and if I’m president that will end. – Mitt Romney
Debate segment on Religious Freedom
Mitt Romney talks religious freedom in Feb 22, 2012 Arizona Debate