Geoffrey Dunn tells a fascinating story from the days when Mitt Romney was a leader in his church. A Massachusetts mother named Carrel Hilton Sheldon became pregnant in 1983. Due to complications, doctors told her that the pregnancy was life-threatening. Sheldon went to Massachusetts Mormon leaders, who told her that an abortion was the right thing to do in this case. But then a hotshot young bishop named Mitt Romney came on the scene:
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. "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."
Indeed, Romney 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."
Back at the hospital, a distraught Carrel Hilton Sheldon assented to her doctor's advice and terminated her life-threatening pregnancy. She recovered from her medical crisis, moved to the West Coast, and continued to raise her four children.