Geoffrey Dunn, the author of the award winning 'The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power', has just published a devastating expose of what he alleges is Mitt Romney's pattern of behavior of callous and disrespectful treatment of women, as well as Romney's use of psychological intimidation and bullying in his role as a Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering three vivid examples in Horror Stories: Mitt Romney's Shameful Record with Mormon Women.
The two most disturbing stories in this excerpt of a new book are of Romney pressuring a woman to have a baby despite a life threatening condition where both doctors, and even the Mormon President of Stake of Massachusetts, recommended an abortion. In the second example, Romney is alleged to have threatened a divorced single woman with excommunication if she did not relent and give her young son up for adoption to a "proper" LDS familiy, but showed no similar concern for her African American daughter.
Dunn's first case study describes the 1983 tragic pregnancy and medical emergency of Carrel Hilton Sheldon who was given an overdose of heparin which extesively damaged her kidneys, and caused significant internal bleeding. Doctors warned that her 8 week old fetus was probably significantly damaged, as well, and they recommended an abortion saying "her life was in peril." As a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, she sought and received the blessing of then Massachusetts Stake President Dr. Gordon Williams, who agreed she should terminate the pregnancy to save her life, and enable her to care for her four other children. ... "Of course you should have the abortion," she recalled him saying.
But, then she experienced an uninvited visit from her local ward Bishop Mitt Romney who "adamantly opposed 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.'" ...
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."
Romney persisted to the point of presurring her parents, as confirmed by her father Phil Hilton who says "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."
In another incident Romney threatened Peggy Hayes, a divorced single woman, with excommunication when she resisted his orders to give her infant son up for adoption to an LDS adoption agency.
"He told me he was a representative of the church and by refusing, I was failing to comply with the church's wishes and I could be excommunicated."
Hayes took Romney's admonition as a threat. She felt attacked, even intimidated. Moreover, it was insulting: "He was saying that because Dane [her son] didn't have a Mormon father in the home and because of the circumstances of his birth--being born to a single mother--then the expectation of the church was that I give him up for adoption to the church agency so he could be raised by a Mormon couple in good standing."
This case has a secondary racial angle as Mitt Romney showed no similar concern for her young African American daughter.
Judith Dushku, a Mormon, associate professor of government of Sufolk University and friend of Sheldon says:
"He can seem very distant, unattached at times, almost heartless," ...
"Romney just doesn't have any sensitivity to women's issues in general," says Dushku. "But even more than that, he genuinely believes he's always right, that he's never made a mistake. He can never say, 'I might have made a mistake, I didn't understand that.' In Mitt's view, no one else has anything else to offer. He's always right." ...
"He's not a man who has anything like a moral core," she says. "He's very loyal to the Mormon church, pays his tithing, is faithful to his wife, and so on, but he doesn't have a set of core values you can count on. I've known him for nearly 40 years. He may have a different suit on, but he hasn't changed. His experience hasn't changed. His performance was very consistent with the Mitt I knew back then. He can't relate to average working women--teachers and nurses and care givers. He's still coming from a place of privilege and entitlement."
This article is an excerpt of Geoffry Dunn's new book, "The Book of Romney: The Republican Presidential Candidate's Problem with Women." If these allegations hold up and get attention from the traditional media before the election they seem to have potential to impact the election as they reinforce the concern many voters already sense that Mitt Romney lacks sufficient empathy to be President of the United States, and also that he is a bully with little respect for women and those he considers to be weak or "inferior."
12:58 PM PT: Thanks to reid fan for this correction, information about previous reports on these stories, and a link to a Vanity Fair article from February that I will get the source code for in a minute.
not: "Church of Latter-day Saints"