Governor Mitt Romney is declining to issue a proclamation recognizing a landmark 1972 Supreme Court decision legalizing birth control for unmarried people -- the first time in 10 years a Massachusetts governor has passed on the proclamation.
The decision is irking family planning and abortion rights activists.
The case, Eisenstadt vs. Baird, is seen a precursor to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Last year, Romney signed the proclamation, but deleted a reference to Roe v. Wade.
''It's a shame that Governor Mitt Romney has missed this opportunity to show his support for increased access to birth control," said Melissa Kogut, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
Others accused Romney of trying to appeal to conservative GOP primary voters as he weighs a run for president in 2008. ''Every day that Mitt Romney gets closer to his presidential run, he is traveling further and further away from mainstream Americans," said Angus McQuilken, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood
Bill Baird, the plaintiff in Eisenstadt vs. Baird, issued a written statement accusing Romney of flip-flopping by refusing to issue the proclamation this year.
Romney communications director, Eric Fehrnstrom said ''There should be no expectation on anyone's part that they are automatically entitled to a proclamation."