Further establishing himself as a right wing politician, Gov. Mitt Romney said this week he would sign a bill outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, and that he would discuss exempting Catholic charities from gay adoptions.

The governor has agreed to meet with the state’s Roman Catholic bishops to discuss their bid to exempt Christian charities from gay adoptions.

Recently, voters in South Dakota approved a statewide ban on abortion, something Mr Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer said the governor would back if it were to happen in Massachusetts.

“If Gov. Romney were the governor of South Dakota he would sign it,” Ms Teer told political newsletter The Hotline yesterday, according to the Boston Herald. “The governor believes that states should have the right to be pro-life if that is the will of the people.”

On gay adoption, the Boston Herald reports that governor is wading into territory so touchy three Catholic Charities board members quit last night over the church’s stance seeking to block such adoptions.

Earlier in the day, Massachusetts’ four Catholic bishops argued that requiring Catholic Charities, the church’s social service branch, to arrange adoptions for gay couples violates church teachings. The Vatican is vocally against gay adoption and came out in 2003 against adoptions involving gay parents.

In recent weeks, Mr Romney has said he could not legally offer the church an exemption from a law that requires all adoption agencies work with same-sex couples.

“We respect and honour the free practice of religion,” Romney said in a statement. “We look forward to meeting with representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss this issue.”

The bishops’ statement clashes with a December vote by the 42-member board of Catholic Charities to continue to allow gay adoptions.

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