Summer 1983. A Massachusetts woman, Carrel Hilton Sheldon, was eight weeks pregnant and had a life-threatening medical problem. Alternet goes on:
Sheldon’s doctor advised her that the overdose of Heparin might have also harmed her 8-week-old fetus and, given the possible fatal repercussions to her, he recommended that she abort her pregnancy.
Sheldon, a mother of four at the time (a fifth child had died as an infant), was then a practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), outside of Boston. The LDS leader in Massachusetts at that time, called the “stake president,” was a Harvard-trained physician, Dr. Gordon Williams, and he counseled Sheldon to follow her doctor’s advice to terminate the pregnancy and protect her own life, so that she could continue caring for her four living children.
“Of course, you should have the abortion,” she recalled him saying.
But then she got a visit – an uninvited visit – from her bishop, Mitt Romney, who was there to try to bully her out of having the abortion.
“He regaled me with stories of his sister and her retarded child and what a blessing the child had been to the family,” Sheldon wrote of the incident. “He told me that ‘as your bishop, my concern is with the child.’”
That certainly sums it up, doesn’t it. “As your bishop, my concern is with the non-existent ‘child’ and not at all with you, the living breathing thinking hoping adult woman, and not at all with your four existing children, either. My concern is to ignore your needs and your children’s needs in order to focus on an eight week embryo. My concern is to try to negate your judgment and your doctor’s judgment and substitute my judgment, as ‘your bishop.’ My concern is to try to force you to obey a church official instead of doing what makes sense for all involved.”
There was no empathy forthcoming from Romney, according to Sheldon, no warmth or sympathy. Moreover, Sheldon contends, Romney cast doubt on her story about the stake president’s approval. He simply didn’t believe her. He threatened to call him and track him down. He didn’t seem to care a lick about her personal well-being.
“At a time when I would have appreciated nurturing and support from spiritual leaders and friends,” Sheldon wrote, “I got judgment, criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection.”
In essence, Romney strapped Sheldon’s destiny to the hood of his Chevy and put his foot on the gas pedal, both literally and figuratively. He was so agitated about the matter that he confronted Sheldon’s parents about her decision as well.
According to R.B. Scott, author of the insightful Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics, Romney’s only concern was for the unborn fetus. Last year, Scott, who is also a Mormon, interviewed Sheldon’s 90-year-old father, Phil Hilton, who remembered the incident quite vividly.
“I have never been so upset about anything in my life,” he told Scott. “[Romney] is an authoritative type fellow who thinks he is in charge of the world.”
Hilton was so offended by Romney’s single-mindedness and absolute lack of sensitivity to his daughter’s health that he ordered the young bishop out of his home. Hilton told Scott that he was fully prepared to “throw [Romney] off the porch if he paused for even a second.” Romney kept moving.
Sheldon had the abortion, and left the Mormon church.
And because of her ward bishop, Mitt Romney, Sheldon eventually left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, never to return. “Here I—a baptized, endowed, dedicated worker, and tithe-payer in the church—lay helpless, hurt, and frightened, trying to maintain my psychological equilibrium,” Sheldon wrote, “and his concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus—not for me!”
When he was confronted about the incident by reporters from the Boston Globe in 1994—little more than a decade afterward—Romney claimed no memory of the incident.
“”I don’t have any memory of what she is referring to,” Romney would later declare, “although I certainly can’t say it could not have been me.” It became the patterned Romney response to other conflicted moments in his life (the bullying of a classmate in prep school was a similar incident). Mormon feminists came up with a term for Romney’s calculated lack of memory: “Romnesia.”
That’s only a fraction of the article. It describes an amoral, cold, self-righteous man who thinks he’s always right.