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Massachusetts to exempt private hospitals from emergency contraception law

[JURIST] Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Paul Cote Jr. [official profile] has said that church-run and other private hospitals will be able to opt out from a new state law [text] requiring emergency room doctors to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. Cote's office expects to issue regulations next week that will allow private hospitals to opt out based on religious or moral grounds. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney vetoed the emergency contraception law [JURIST report] in July, but the veto was later overridden [JURIST report] by a vote in the state legislature. Cote defended the forthcoming regulations, saying the new law does not override an existing law which declares that private hospitals cannot be forced to provide contraception or abortions. State Attorney General Thomas Reilly [official website] has criticized Cote's proposal, saying that the new law is clear and applies to all hospitals. AP has more.

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