ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. George E. Pataki plans to veto legislation that would allow women to buy the "morning-after" pill without a prescription, a decision described by abortion rights advocates as "sheer political expediency" to build conservative support for a 2008 presidential run.
State Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said he was pleased with the Republican governor's decision.
Pataki disclosed his plans on the RU-486 pill Sunday night through spokesman Kevin Quinn, who said the governor's primary objection was that the bill "provides no protection whatsoever for minors."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 03, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 News Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
"Morning after" pill -- An article and headline in Tuesday's Section A about New York Gov. George E. Pataki's plan to veto legislation that would allow women to buy the "morning after" pill without a prescription described the pill as RU-486, which is a different medication.
"If this and other flaws in the bill are addressed, and a responsible version of the bill is advanced, the governor would support it," Quinn said.
Similar legislation was vetoed last week by fellow Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who is eyeing a White House bid.
Pataki announced last week that he would not seek election to a fourth term next year, a move widely seen as a prelude to a possible run for national office.
Word of the veto plan came after Pataki's aides learned that NARAL Pro-Choice New York was preparing to air television commercials in the state as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, sites of the first presidential primary contests.
The ads stress Pataki's past support for reproductive rights and urge the governor not to veto the measure.
"It is distressing that politics appears to have won out over women's health," said JoAnn Smith, head of the Family Planning Advocates of New York State.
Pataki has been under pressure from abortion rights supporters to approve the "morning-after" pill legislation, and antiabortion groups have been just as vocal in their opposition.