02/22/2012 09:56 pm ET Updated Feb 22, 2012

Mitt Romney Denies Massachusetts Law Required Catholic Hospitals To Offer Morning-After Pill (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON -- In 2005, then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reluctantly supported a law requiring all hospitals in the state -- including Catholic ones -- to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims. Romney denied this when CNN's John King brought it up on Wednesday night.

"There was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims," Romney said. "That was entirely voluntary on their part. There was no such requirement. Likewise in Massachusetts' health care bill. There's a provision in Massachusetts general laws that says people don't have to have coverage for contraceptives or other type of medical devices, which are contrary to their religious teachings."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich piped up to contradict Romney.

"Well, the reports we got were quite clear, that the public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor's office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it wasn't possible under Massachusetts law to give them that waiver," he said. "Now, that was the newspaper reports that came out. That's something both Senator Santorum and I have raised before."

Romney initially vetoed the law, then dropped his opposition after the Democratic state legislature overturned his veto. In a release on Wednesday evening, the Romney campaign stressed that Romney defended religious liberty, citing his support for allowing religious institutions to supervise adoptions.