BOSTON, October 24, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – As a young Mormon bishop, Mitt Romney made a passionate attempt to stop a woman from aborting her child.

The story, which the New York Times reported last October, has roared back to life in the pages of The National Enquirer this week. 

In the summer of 1983, Romney served as bishop for a “ward” (congregation) outside Boston. One of his flock, Carrel Hilton Sheldon, was eight weeks pregnant with her fifth child when her doctor treated a blood clot with an overdose of the blood thinner Heparin.

After learning the doctor advised her to abort, Romney went, unbidden, to Sheldon’s hospital room to try to change her mind.

“As your bishop, my concern is with the child,” Romney said, according to Sheldon’s account.

Sheldon, however, interpreted Romney’s attempt to save her child as a lack of concern for her welfare. “His concern was for the eight-week possibility in my uterus — not for me!” she wrote.

Having failed to persuade her to keep her child, Romney, then 36, attempted to sway her parents.

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Ultimately, Sheldon had the abortion with the approval of Romney’s church superior.

“At a time when I would have appreciated nurturing and support from spiritual leaders and friends, I got judgment, criticism, prejudicial advice, and rejection,” Sheldon wrote. She later left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Those closest to Romney say the episode reflects his passion for his faith and his deeply held, personal pro-life beliefs, while abortion advocates have seized upon it as an example of Romney’s lack of “compassion” and pro-life extremism.

“He was a brand new bishop, he was pretty young to begin with, my sense is he was pretty full of himself, and he thought that he would not fulfill his obligation as bishop if he didn’t press the matter,” said the governor’s biographer Ron Scott.

Judith Dushku, a longtime antagonist who is now associate professor of government at Suffolk University, said she believes Romney was motivated by his zeal to excel in the church’s eyes, which she contrasts with “compassion.”

The feminist Mormon, who calls herself a “social Democrat,” dissents from the church’s emphasis on marriage, hearth, and home. She said in 1993 Romney told her pointedly, “I just don’t understand why you stay in the church.”

The year-old story reemerged just 13 days before the presidential election when online blogs, including The Gateway Pundit, speculated incorrectly that feminist attorney and Fox News commentator Gloria Allred planned to use Sheldon’s story as an “October surprise” against the Republican candidate, who is currently leading in the polls.

RadarOnline revealed today that Allred’s surprise involves sealed testimony Romney gave during the divorce of his friend Tom Stemberg, the CEO of Staples.