One of the biggest attacks on former Governor Mitt Romney by the social conservative side of the Republican party is that the presidential candidate has reversed himself politically when it comes to a woman’s right to choose.
But according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Romney didn’t just flip in the political arena. He also flipped on his own congregation while he was a bishop in the Mormon Church.
One of the blessings Romney gave while bishop was to Sandy Catalano. Catalano became pregnant in 1982, but found out that the fetus was in her fallopian tube, a life-threatening condition for her that doctors said needed to be resolved by an abortion.
Catalano remembers lying in the hospital waiting for Romney, concerned that he would reprimand her. The Mormon faith opposes abortion except in extreme circumstances such as when the mother’s life is at stake or when the pregnancy is the result of rape. Romney blessed her.
“He could see my anguish and my pain and gave me a blessing of comfort, and I felt this peace wash over me,” she said. “I knew it wasn’t my fault, that it was just a bad pregnancy.”
A year later he wasn’t as accepting with another congregation member. Carrell Hilton Sheldon was planning to have an abortion because a drug she’d been given to dissolve a blood clot was causing internal bleeding and could have harmed her fetus.
Although her stake president recommended that she go through with the abortion, Romney, her bishop, visited her in the hospital to try to dissuade her, said Scott, the author of the Romney book. When that didn’t work, he visited Sheldon’s parents in the Boston suburb where they were baby-sitting her four other children, preaching to them until Sheldon’s father threw him out of the house, Scott said.
“He was telling her father not to let her have the abortion, and her father threw him out,” Scott said in an interview. “He was appalled at the arrogance of Romney.”
Surprisingly, no one has grabbed on the second story to claim that Romney’s always been as hard core anti-choice as the rest of his competition.