In recently revealed text messages, anti-abortion lawmaker, Rep. Tim Murphy, was discovered to have supposedly encouraged his girlfriend to have an abortion, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Murphy, a Republican congressman from Pittsburgh, admitted in September to having an affair with forensic psychologist Shannon Edwards. This is surprising news considering Murphy, who has declined to comment on the documents obtained by the Post-Gazette, has been recognized by the leading anti-abortion group, the Family Research Council, for his long history of voting against abortion access in the United States. Bustle has reached out for comment.
Back in January, amidst a reported pregnancy scare, Edwards sent Murphy a text alluding to him supposedly asking her to get an abortion. "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," Edwards wrote, according to the Post-Gazette. A text from Murphy's phone number replied that same day, saying, "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."
Edwards' text was supposedly prompted by Murphy's post about late-term abortions, the Post-Gazette reported. "The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks)," his Facebook post read. "It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable."
Murphy also noted in the post that he sponsored and voted for a bill prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, adding that he hopes "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."
The congressman is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, according to the Post-Gazette, and has also been endorsed by the anti-abortion group LifePAC. The secretary of LifePAC, Mary Lou Gartner, refused to criticize Murphy in the wake of the controversy, telling CNN, "I'm not ready to cast a stone at him."
Murphy's affair with Edwards was first exposed in conjunction with her divorce proceedings from her husband, Jesse Sally, according to the Post-Gazette. Sally filed for divorce in July 2016, and his attorney filed a request with the courts to have Murphy testify. While Murphy and Edwards fought the subpoena, the judge denied their request.
In his statement on Sept. 6, revealing his relationship with Edwards, Murphy said he had “an affair with a personal friend,” after the two met professionally regarding mental health legislation in the fall of 2015. Edwards presented their affair as a long-term relationship in court documents, but said they weren't intimate until May 2016.
Murphy isn't the only GOP congressmen who has been publicly pro-life, while discreetly asking his girlfriend to get an abortion. In 2015, pro-life Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais was exposed for supporting his ex-wife's two abortions, in addition to pressuring his 24-year-old girlfriend into having an abortion once she told him she was pregnant with his child. This was revealed in a recorded phone conversation between her and DesJarlais.
Both Murphy and DesJarlais support the 20-week abortion ban the House passed on Tuesday. The bill, titled the "Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," claims that it "amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more." Anyone caught violating the new law would face "a fine, up to five years in prison, or both."
Murphy's actions will surely continue to be criticized as hypocritical at the very least, and perhaps even dangerous, considering his support of the 20-week abortion ban could very well put women in danger.