Eight-term U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy said he will not seek re-election this week, after a scandal broke about him allegedly urging a woman with whom he was having an affair to have an abortion.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the Pennsylvania Republican made the announcement Wednesday, just a day after the scandal broke.
Murphy has a strong pro-life voting record and has sponsored several pieces of pro-life legislation. But it now appears that his votes were politically motivated and not based on personal conviction about the value of unborn babies.
“After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek re-election to Congress at the end of my current term,” Murphy said in a statement. “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.”
Earlier this year, the Pittsburgh-area congressman admitted to having an extra-marital affair with a woman named Shannon Edwards. Murphy and his wife have filed for divorce.
But new details uncovered by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week indicate that the conservative congressman did not personally practice the values that he advocated for in public.
According to text messages obtained by the Gazette, Murphy allegedly asked Edwards to have an abortion when they thought she was pregnant.
Edwards called Murphy a hypocrite and pointed out how he spoke publicly about the value of unborn babies, while privately urging her to abort theirs, according to the text conversation. Edwards later learned that she was not pregnant, according to the report.
According to the Gazette:
A text message sent in January to U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy by a woman with whom he had an extra-marital relationship took him to task for an anti-abortion statement posted on Facebook from his office’s public account.
“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,” Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh with whom the congressman admitted last month to having a relationship, wrote to Mr. Murphy on Jan. 25, in the midst of an unfounded pregnancy scare.
A text from Mr. Murphy’s cell phone number that same day in response says, “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.”
On Wednesday, Murphy said he plans to take time off in the next few weeks to “seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing.”
Mary Lou Gartner, secretary of the pro-life LifePAC in Southwestern Pennsylvania, told the newspaper that she was “discouraged and shocked” to learn about the allegations. She said they endorsed Murphy in the past because he had a 100-percent pro-life voting record.
“If the comments he made are true, it discredits him,” Gartner said.
The Harrisburg Patriot reports Murphy also is accused of creating a hostile work environment for his staff.
Murphy is serving his eighth term in Congress. He first was elected in 2003.