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This morning on Jezebel, a commenter on the post, "Ann Romney Insists That Mittens Does So Have Empathy," linked to a 2007 article discussing Mitt Romney's advice as bishop of his church to a pregnant woman who'd been told she might die if she carried the baby to term.

Link to entire article here:

Quotes and discussion after the squiggle.

The article is an interview with mormon feminist and government professor, Judy Dushku, who knew Romney at the time. When she heard about Romney's harsh so-called counseling and confronted him privately and publicly, "He reacted bitterly, breaking off their relationship."

Here is Dushku's account of what happened: "It was in the late 1970s. She was a woman about 40 years old, 3 ½ to 4 months into her sixth pregnancy ... 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."

Dushku went on to say that the woman had lost a baby who'd been born with physical problems and died at a few weeks old, and subsequently had had four other children. If she'd carried the pregnancy to term, it would have been her sixth. But the woman and her husband decided to abort the fetus because her life would be in danger. Romney came to the hospital, and the woman expected him to comfort her, which is a role of the (lay) bishops in the LDS faith. Instead, the woman said, 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."

After the argument, the woman decided to go ahead with the abortion, and the family  left the church soon afterward.

Years later, Dushku spoke to Romney when he was running for Senate. He'd flopped to pro-choice at the time, and she was surprised enough to call and ask to see him. He agreed and they met in her office. There, he explained that church leaders in Salt Lake had told him he could take this position and that he probably should if he wanted to win in a liberal state like Massachussetts.

For the sake of length, I'm going to stop here but the entire article is fascinating and also discusses the continued secrecy about polygamy in the LDS church. Although their official stance is that they are against it, many polygamists are still active church members.

This interests me because it upholds my suspicions that a part of the reason for his flip-flopping, often after some short length of time, is that he is conferring not only with conservative party members, but with those higher up in his church. Must be a pretty tight squeeze for him and I'd have sympathy if I hadn't already concluded his moral compass has been broken for quite some time.

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