Pro-life Rep. Murphy to exit amid mistress abortion scandal

WASHINGTON (BP) -- U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a purported pro-lifer accused of having asked his ex-mistress to have an abortion, announced Oct. 4 he will not seek re-election when his eighth legislative term ends in January 2018.

Tim Murphy
 
"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," he said in an official statement at murphy.house.gov. "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."

Murphy, R-Pa., made the statement after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published text messages between Murphy and Shannon Edwards, with whom Murphy has admitted he had an affair. In the texts, it appears Murphy had asked Edwards to abort a child the two thought she had conceived as a result of their transgressions. But she was not pregnant, according to news reports.

Among text messages the Post-Gazette published Oct. 3 were these two:

From Edwards, "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's retort, "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 admitted the affair in September after a court hearing involving divorce proceedings between Shannon Edwards and her husband Jesse Sally, but has not publicly admitted to asking Edwards to have an abortion. In the Sept. 6 hearing in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco ordered the congressman to provide Sally's divorce attorney with text and email communications between Murphy and Edwards, the Post-Gazette reported.

It was during that disclosure that text messages were revealed in which Murphy appeared to have asked Edwards to have an abortion.

"Last year I became involved in an affair with a personal friend," Murphy said in a statement released by his attorney at the close of the Sept. 6 hearing. "This is nobody's fault but my own, and I offer no excuses. To the extent that there should be any blame in this matter, it falls solely upon me."

Murphy did not answer questions today (Oct. 5) from Baptist Press inquiring about the abortion allegations and his political stances on both federally funded and personally funded abortions. Instead, his spokesperson directed BP to Murphy's official Oct. 4 statement, referenced in the second paragraph of this story.

Murphy co-sponsored with 181 legislators and voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the Post-Gazette reported today. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the act Oct. 4 in a partisan vote of 237-189, barring abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or life/physical health endangerment of the expectant mother. (Please see related story.)

Murphy was first elected to Congress in November 2002 after serving in the Pennsylvania State Senate, according to the biography on his House website. He is a practicing psychologist who has specialized in child and family treatment and has served at several hospitals, including Pittsburg Children's Hospital, the Magee Women's Hospital and Transitional Infant Care. He authored the award-winning books, "The Angry Child" in 2001 and "Overcoming Passive-Aggression" in 2005.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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