Did Mitt Romney Threaten Mother About Adoption?

In a new book, The Real Romney, by Michael and Scott Helman, Mitt Romney is alleged to have threatened a single mother to give up her child. Excerpts from the book are available in the latest issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

Peggie Hayes was a young single mother in the 1980s, the same time when Mitt Romney was in charge of a group of Mormon believers and churches. Hayes was a member in the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church under Romney and often relied on him for spiritual, as well as practical, advice.

She became pregnant with her second son and sought Romney’s counsel. According to The Real Romney, “Hayes felt she was being told ‘give up your son or give up your God.’ Hayes was deeply insulted. She told him she would never surrender her child. In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader…sitting in her gritty apartment, making grave demands.”

The book continues, “And then he [Romney] says, ‘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.’”

Romney has denied the validity of Hayes’ story but “has acknowledged having counseled Mormon women not to have abortions except in exceptional cases, in accordance with church rules.” He has also stated, “I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.”

The LDS Church encourages practitioners in adoption. In a 1994 letter from the First Presidency, the Church’s President and counselors, the leaders specifically address the topic of adoption. “We note with alarm the continued decline of moral values in society and the resultant number of children being reared by unwed parents…Every effort should be made in helping those who conceive out of wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship.”

It goes on to say, “When the unwed parents are unable or unwilling to marry, they should be encouraged to put the child up for adoption…. Unwed parents who do not marry should not be counseled to keep the infant.”

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