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Mitt Romney to woman with a life-threatening pregnancy: “Why do you get off easy when other women have their babies?”

I’ve noticed that some blogs and publications have taken notice of a particular section from this New York Times piece on Mitt Romney and abortion:

Mormons oppose abortion, except in extreme cases like rape, incest or where the life of the woman is in danger — and require that church elders be consulted. In 1990, Exponent II, a Mormon feminist magazine that Ms. Dushku, the Suffolk University professor, helped found, published an article by a married mother of four who recounted her own experience after doctors advised her to terminate her pregnancy when she was being treated for a potentially dangerous blood clot. Her bishop got wind of the situation, she wrote, and showed up unannounced at the hospital, warning her sternly not to go forward.

The article did not identify Mr. Romney as the bishop, but Ms. Dushku later did. Now the woman has come forward, identifying herself in Mr. Scott’s book as Carrel Hilton Sheldon. (Through Ms. Dushku, she declined to be interviewed.) “Mitt has many, many winning qualities,” she is quoted as saying, “but at the time he was blind to me as a human being.”

Dushku may have declined an interview, but Feministing posted about this incident in 2007, linking to an interview with Dushku where she recounted the whole horrible story:

It was in the late 1970s. She was a woman about 40 years old, 3 ½ to 4 months into her sixth pregnancy. We’ll call her woman “X”. She was an active member of the ward where Romney was bishop in Massachusetts, at that time in a neighboring community where I was not a member. The stake president was a doctor named Gordon and was an old friend of X. X and her husband went to the hospital because she had an aching in her leg. Her doctor was alarmed after examining her, telling her she had developed blood clots and could not carry the pregnancy to full term. He said they’d have to give her blood thinners in order to get rid of the clots and that they would endanger the baby. X had lost her first baby; the child was born with many physical problems and died at two or three weeks old. X was already the mother of four teenage children. This would have been her sixth.

…First of all the stake president – Gordon – came by to see X with a friend and said well it looks like you have to do this – terminate the pregnancy. He was perfectly comfortable with X’s decision, since both she and the child were in peril. And Gordon was technically higher in the LDS church hierarchy than Mitt was as bishop.

So then Mitt came in to the hospital. X thought Mitt had come to be comforting because that’s what bishops do. They have a pastoral role. But she said that instead he was critical.

He said – What do you think you’re doing?

She said – Well, we have to abort the baby because I have these blood clots.

And he said something to the effect of – Well, why do you get off easy when other women have their babies?

And she said – What are you talking about? This is a life threatening situation.

And he said – Well what about the life of the baby?

And she said – I have four other children and I think it would be really irresponsible to continue the pregnancy.

X said she found herself arguing with Romney about her medical crisis, said he was very unsympathetic, very critical, and said that under the circumstances in no way did he condone her aborting the child. And he left.

The woman then left the church (can’t imagine why). So there you have it: Mitt Romney’s compassionate counseling. 

Notes

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    How comforting of good ol’ Mitt.
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