Pro-Life Lawmaker Resigns After Reportedly Urging Mistress to Get an Abortion [Updated]
Congressman Tim Murphy announced yesterday that he'd retire in 2019; he's now resigned, effective October 21.
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Pennsylvania Representative Tim Murphy, a cosponsor of the 20-week abortion ban passed in the House today, allegedly urged his mistress to have an abortion and privately denounced his stated anti-choice views. This is according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which obtained text messages between Murphy and Shannon Edwards, a woman he admitted to having an affair with last month.
On January 25, Edwards sent Murphy a text about his anti-abortion statements, possibly in reference to this message posted on his office's Facebook page the day earlier. The post read:
The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable.
The good news is we've had great victories to protect the sanctity of life in the first weeks of this New Year!
One of the first acts of newly-elected President Donald J. Trump was to re-instate longstanding policy to prevent U.S. taxpayers paying for abortions through foreign aid. Today, the House of Representatives took up and passed H.R. 7 to permanently prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, as well as to prohibit federal medical facilities and health professionals from providing abortion services. I was proud both to sponsor and vote for this important bill to clearly stand for the dignity and value of all human life, both the born and the unborn. Passage of H.R. 7 in the wake of the President's executive action gives me great hope that moving forward, we will once again be a nation committed to honoring life from the moment of conception and ensuring American taxpayer dollars are never spent to end a life before it even begins.
Edwards wrote to Murphy the next day:
"And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options."
Murphy responded the same day:
"I get what you say about my March for life messages. I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will."
Murphy is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, has been endorsed by LifePAC, a group that opposes abortion rights, and was honored by the Family Research Council in 2015 for his stance on abortion, among other issues. He earned a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee for the 2015-2016 legislative session and received a zero percent rating from pro-choice group NARAL in 2015 and 2016.
The Post-Gazette called the incident an "unfounded pregnancy scare" so presumably Edwards did not have an abortion. Edwards declined to comment to the Post-Gazette and Murphy did not respond to multiple voicemails left by the newspaper. The affair between Edwards and Murphy was exposed as part of Edwards's divorce proceedings from her husband, Jesse Sally.
The unscientific, unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban that Murphy cosponsored is known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It would ban abortion after 20 weeks nationwide except in the cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's life or health is in danger. Yet many fatal fetal abnormalities are not detected until around the 20-week mark. The bill passed 237 to 189 but faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it was blocked in 2015.
So to recap, Murphy "clearly stand[s] for the dignity and value of all human life, both the born and the unborn"—except when you think the unborn is growing in the womb of your mistress.
Update #1, 10/5/17: Murphy announced he would retire one day after a report suggesting that he urged his mistress to have an abortion. He will not retire immediately, but rather at the end of his term in January 2019 by not seeking reelection next year. In a statement to Pittsburgh's KDKA news, Murphy said:
"After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term.
I plan to spend my remaining months in office continuing my work as the national leader on mental health care reform, as well as issues affecting working families in southwestern Pennsylvania.
We have accomplished much in the past year through the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act and there is much work yet to be done.
In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time."
How nice for someone to request privacy when they outwardly supported the invasion of other people's private medical decisions.
Update #2, 10/5/17: Murphy has resigned, Politico reports. House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement: "This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21. It was Dr. Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it."
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