updated 9/15/2005 4:49:12 PM ET 2005-09-15T20:49:12

The state Legislature voted Thursday to override Gov. Mitt Romney’s veto of a measure that will expand access to emergency contraception.

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The measure, which the Republican governor vetoed in July, will require hospital emergency room doctors to offer the medication to rape victims. It also will make the medication available without a prescription.

The Senate voted unanimously 37-0 to override the veto. In the House, the vote was 139-16 to override.

The governor said the medication, known as the “morning after pill,” is already widely available without a mandate from the state. Romney said he was concerned that the hormone regimen could abort a fertilized egg.

Signing the bill, he said, would violate a campaign pledge he made not to change the state’s abortion laws. The bill also could also alienate crucial anti-abortion activists as Romney weighs a run for president in 2008.

During his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Romney said he supported wider access to emergency contraception. As the bill began to make its way through the Legislature, he said he needed to consult with experts.

The medication, which is different from the abortion pill RU-486, is a hormone in pill form which, when taken after unprotected sex, prevents ovulation, stops the egg from being fertilized by sperm, or stops a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterus wall.

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