Politics

Congressman opposed abortion — then came the pregnancy scare

Representative Tim Murphy.

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Representative Tim Murphy.

Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, a strong and frequent critic of abortion, asked a woman with whom he was having an affair to undergo an abortion, according to a report published on Tuesday by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Murphy, 65, who is married with an adult daughter, confirmed last month that he “became involved in an affair with a personal friend,” according to a statement previously provided to The Post-Gazette.

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The woman involved in the extramarital affair, Shannon Edwards, told the newspaper last month that her relationship with Murphy had ended. She said she had gotten to know Murphy when she volunteered to work on a mental health bill, which was signed into law late last year.

In a text message sent to Murphy on Jan. 25, Edwards assailed the congressman for hypocrisy. The exchange was included among several documents obtained by The Post-Gazette.

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“And you have zero issue posting your anti-abortion 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. The newspaper said that the text was sent amid what proved to be an “unfounded pregnancy scare.”

According to the newspaper’s report, a text message sent in response from Murphy’s phone said: “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.”

A spokeswoman for Murphy said in an email that his office “has no comment or response to” The Post-Gazette article. Murphy did not respond to phone messages left by The New York Times. Edwards also did not return a message left on her voice mail.

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On Tuesday, Murphy voted for legislation that would make it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of fetal development, according to The Associated Press. The House of Representatives approved the Republican legislation, according to The AP; Murphy is among its co-sponsors. News roundups on his website also list Murphy as “a member of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus.”

Statements and posts on his verified Facebook page mention his anti-abortion stance.

A Facebook post published on Jan. 24 — the day before he received the text message from Edwards — cast Murphy as a proud sponsor of a bill that would permanently prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for abortions and prohibit federal medical facilities and health professionals from providing abortion services.

In a statement released the same day, he said he hoped that “moving forward, we will once again be a nation committed to honoring life from the moment of conception onward and ensuring American taxpayer dollars are never spent to end a life before it even begins.”

Three days later, Murphy’s office issued another statement saying that he was “proud to join in the March for Life” and that “We must, once again, become a nation respectful of all life.”

Doris Burke contributed research.
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