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Mitt Romney’s sins

January 20, 2012

Discouraging abortion and encouraging adoption

Curious profile of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in February’s Vanity Fair. Michael Kranish and Scott Helman (click here) claim to “pierce the Mitt bubble” and expose the “collateral damage” of his career to date. They direct most of their fire on him as a Mormon church leader.

Mormon’s don’t have paid clergy – members take turns. When he became “bishop”, leading about 500 members, and later “stake president” leading about 4,000, Romney had a young family and a busy career.  He did both jobs in his spare time.

Kranish and Helman criticise his treatment of two women. Peggy Hayes was a church member who had babysat Romney’s children as a teenager. She married, had a child and got divorced. Age 23, a single parent with a three year old child, she got pregnant again. Romney, her bishop, gave her odd jobs and put her in touch with others who might help. One day he called on her – she was still pregnant – and suggested she considered adoption. Hayes was affronted but remained on good terms. When the child was nine months old and needed surgery she asked Romney to bless the boy. He sent a deputy, Hayes was unimpressed, and left the church.

Another married woman with five children was considering abortion of her sixth.  She had a clot in her pelvis, and her doctors gave her a 50% chance of having a living child.  Romney, at her request, visited her in hospital, advised against abortion, and told her about his nephew with Down’s who had turned out a blessing for his family. The woman claimed that her stake president, a doctor, had advised abortion and that Romney had countered that the stake president would not have said that. Romney cannot now recall the specific occasion, but freely admits to counselling other church members against abortion. Again he was sufficiently non-directive for the woman to ignore him.

Somehow we are supposed to be shocked.

But why? Romney forced no-one. He just gave his opinion according to his church’s teaching.  No-one had to listen, and both of those who did, ignored his advice.

Jim Thornton

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