According to a passage from a forthcoming book, “The Real Romney,” while serving as bishop of a Mormon congregation near Boston in the early 80’s, Romney once threatened to excommunicate a young single mother if she did not give her soon-to-be-born son up for adoption.
Peggie Hayes had converted to Mormonism as a teenager along with her family, and told the book’s authors, Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, that for a long time she found comfort in the faith’s teachings. After returning to the congregation as a 23-year-old divorced single mother, she soon got pregnant with a second child. Knowing she was in need of financial assistance, the Romneys arranged for her to do odd jobs for members of the congregation.
“Mitt was really good to us,” Hayes told the authors. “He did a lot for us.”
But while Hayes considered Romney a friend, he was also her bishop—which meant it was his job to pass along sometimes-harsh church counsel. The tension between the two relationships came to the forefront one day when he came over to her apartment, and encouraged her to turn her son over to the church’s adoption agency when he was born. (The church’s position is that if a happy marriage between parents of a newborn seems unlikely, adoption is preferable to single parenting.)
Hayes was offended by the suggestion, and told Romney she would never give up her son. But, according to Hayes, Romney told her, “Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don’t, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church.”
I mean, seriously. First, he’s not sure about contraception. And now this. Regardless of whether this is fully accurate, and given the path he’s on, if Romney makes it to the general election, he’s going to have to do some serious work to convince any women at all to vote for him.