The ‘New’ Romney Is Like the Old One: No Friend of Women, Gays, or the Needy

I’ll get to the LGBT stuff in a bit, but Jessica Valenti has this not-heartwarming story about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (boldface mine):

I’ve noticed that some blogs and publications have taken notice of a particular section from this New York Times piece on Mitt Romney and abortion:

Mormons oppose abortion, except in extreme cases like rape, incest or where the life of the woman is in danger — and require that church elders be consulted. In 1990, Exponent II, a Mormon feminist magazine that Ms. Dushku, the Suffolk University professor, helped found, published an article by a married mother of four who recounted her own experience after doctors advised her to terminate her pregnancy when she was being treated for a potentially dangerous blood clot. Her bishop got wind of the situation, she wrote, and showed up unannounced at the hospital, warning her sternly not to go forward.

The article did not identify Mr. Romney as the bishop, but Ms. Dushku later did. Now the woman has come forward, identifying herself in Mr. Scott’s book as Carrel Hilton Sheldon. (Through Ms. Dushku, she declined to be interviewed.) “Mitt has many, many winning qualities,” she is quoted as saying, “but at the time he was blind to me as a human being.”

Well, blindness to others’ humanity is exactly what I look for in a president, but mileage may vary. Feministing has the full blow-by-blow (boldface mine):

It was in the late 1970s. She was a woman about 40 years old, 3 ½ to 4 months into her sixth pregnancy. We’ll call her woman “X”. She was an active member of the ward where Romney was bishop in Massachusetts, at that time in a neighboring community where I was not a member. The stake president was a doctor named Gordon and was an old friend of X. 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. X had lost her first baby; the child was born with many physical problems and died at two or three weeks old. X was already the mother of four teenage children. This would have been her sixth.

First of all the stake president – Gordon – came by to see X with a friend and said well it looks like you have to do this – terminate the pregnancy. He was perfectly comfortable with X’s decision, since both she and the child were in peril. And Gordon was technically higher in the LDS church hierarchy than Mitt was as bishop.

So then Mitt came in to the hospital. X thought Mitt had come to be comforting because that’s what bishops do. They have a pastoral role. But she said that instead 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.

And he said – Well what about the life of the baby?

And she said – I have four other children and I think it would be really irresponsible to continue the pregnancy.

X said she found herself arguing with Romney about her medical crisis, said he was very unsympathetic, very critical, and said that under the circumstances in no way did he condone her aborting the child. And he left.

Onto the the LGBT stuff. As I described several years ago, Romney attacked every program out there for LGBT kids (boldface mine; from The Dig):

Governor Mitt Romney is a mean, nasty dude. He’s laying the groundwork for a presidential run and using the state budget to give sly handjobs to prospective GOP primary voters. He’s willing to discard established bipartisan policy and trade votes for gay and lesbian kids’ health, or even their lives.

Haven’t we heard this before? Sure we have. A year ago, the Dig pilloried the Stormin’ Mormon for playing politics with the state budget (“The Mitt Romney Assisted Suicide Initiative,’” 7.13.05). Romney had gone out of his way to cut funding for GLBT youth programming out of the state budget, apparently hoping that budgetary gay-bashing would curry favor among evangelical voters.

A year has passed, and Romney has us writing another governor-hates-the-gays article: He’s building his conservative credentials by not only opposing gay marriage and civil unions but also cutting funding that’s essential to keeping an at-risk population alive. We wonder: If pulling this stunt once made Romney seem cynical and opportunistic, what does it say about him, as a person and a candidate, that he would try it twice? And what type of voter is supposed to be turned on by this bullshit?

Last year, Romney cut $100,000 from the Governor’s Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth-nearly one-third of that agency’s already decimated budget for GLBT youth violence and suicide prevention. (The commission was created in 1992 by Republican governor Bill Weld and was funded in the million-dollar range by Republican governor Jane Swift.) Romney also eliminated funding and authorizing language for GLBT suicide and violence prevention outreach in public schools, and he gutted a line item that set aside domestic violence funding for gay and lesbian couples.

….This year’s gay-related budget vetoes virtually mirrored last year’s: Romney vetoed $100,000 from the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth’s meager $350,000 line item, cut language mandating GLBT youth suicide and violence prevention outreach, and eliminated funding for gay and lesbian domestic violence services.

Romney also vetoed a budget rider sponsored by state Senator Jarrett Barrios that would have removed the Commission on Gay and lesbian Youth from the governor’s purview. (The governor recently had a very public spat with the commission and, under pressure from local anti-gay groups, threatened to eliminate the commission altogether; he later backed off that threat.)

Under Governor Romney, it doesn’t get better. Then there’s his disregard for the needy (boldface mine):

Romney’s cuts will punish the poorest and sickest among us. Say good-bye to approximately $10 million in services for the mentally retarded; more than $1.5 million for elderly home-care services; $1 million for Head Start program grants; more than $1 million for emergency and acute mental-health services; $735,000 for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention; $410,000 for homeless assistance; $767,000 for emergency aid to the elderly and disabled; $428,000 for immunization; and $2.4 million for residential special education.

Preservation and maintenance of the state’s parks and beaches also took a huge hit in these cuts, as did other environmental services. Millions were taken back from state colleges, which based this school year’s budgets on the old numbers and are now screwed.

Remember when Romney wanted to create good jobs? Oh, those were the days. On Friday he cut $8 million from workforce-development grants; $14 million from economic grants to municipalities; $2.5 million from the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation; $1 million from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency; and $22 million from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

At least he was kind enough to Kerry Healey to wait until after the election to show just how much this administration cares about crime and violence. In that realm, he cut funds for youth-at-risk matching grants; domestic-violence specialists; sexual-assault services; the Sex Abuse Intervention Network; local law-enforcement assistance; witness-protection services; the State Police Crime Lab; the Criminal History Systems Board; the Sex Offender Registry Board; the Parole Board administration; and victim services.

Somebody better bash him on being weak on crime.

On the other hand, he did pass some tax cuts, so there.

He might be perfect for the Republican base, if they can get past his Mormonism, but he’s horrible for the rest of us.

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