Here is a familiar story: a man builds his political reputation on morality, standing up against the erosion of values under modernity, aligning himself with similar-minded (and well-funded) political groups that support his political ambitions and fill his coffers with money only to be revealed as a complete hypocrite. Add Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) to the canon of terribly cliched and hypocritical political men.
A report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that Murphy, an ardent supporter of abortion restrictions, urged his former mistress to have an abortion. In a January text message, Murphy’s ex, Shannon Edwards, admonished him for an anti-abortion statement that he posted on his Facebook page. “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 texted Murphy.
Edwards was responding to a post that noted his opposition to using federal funds for abortion. “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 Facebook post read. “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 responded to Edwards.
As the Post-Gazette notes, Murphy is one of the staunch anti-abortion members of Congress. He is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and endorsed by numerous anti-abortion groups. According to his voting record, Murphy has voted for almost every abortion restriction brought to the House of Representatives and, in 2015, he sponsored the Right to Life Act, legislation that would have granted “preborn equal protection under 14th Amendment.” He also confirmed his support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which the House is currently voting on. Put plainly, Murphy has in part built his congressional career on supporting nearly every abortion restriction.
The revelation of the text messages between Murphy and Edwards is part of an ongoing saga between the former couple. Their relationship began in 2015 but was publicly exposed last month when Murphy admitted the affair in a statement. The admission was prompted by Edwards’s husband who sought to depose Murphy in the divorce case. Murphy was scheduled to be deposed in late September but the hearing has been postponed.
Murphy isn’t the first anti-abortion Congressman to build a career on restricting abortion access to his constituents only to suggest abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. In 2012, Republican Scott Desjarlais pressured his mistress into having an abortion. Two years later, Desjarlais voted for a 20-week abortion ban.