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Anti-Abortion Lawmaker Who Urged Mistress to Have One Will Retire

Tim Murphy

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy has long voted for abortion restrictions but was for one when he thought the woman he was having an affair with was pregnant. 

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U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania who was exposed for opposing abortion while having encouraged the woman he was having an affair with to have one if it turned out she was pregnant, has announced he will retire from Congress next year, at the end of his current term.

"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," Murphy said in a statement to CBS's Pittsburgh affiliate Wednesday. He said he would focus on his "work as the national leader on mental health care reform" during the remainder of his term.

Murphy, a darling of the anti-abortion Family Research Council for his voting record, which includes voting for nearly every abortion restriction that's come down the pike including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which the House passed Tuesday; it bans abortion after 20 weeks, and calls for steep fines or jailing of abortion providers. He had been called out for his hypocrisy by Shannon Edwards, a Pittsburgh-based forensic psychologist with whom he'd engaged in a long-term extramarital affair, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"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 in a text to Murphy last January in response to an anti-abortion post on his office's public Facebook account.

The post read, "The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable." The post went on to say that Murphy sponsored a bill that prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion, adding "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."

A member of the House Pro-Life Caucus who has been roundly endorsed by LifePac, Murphy responded to Edwards's text about the Facebook post 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 anymore. I will."

The affair between Murphy, who is married, and Edwards was exposed during her divorce proceedings with her husband, according to the Post-Gazette. It turned out she was not pregnant.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which is now on its way to the Senate, bans abortion after 20 weeks (in the second trimester) except in cases of rape, incest, or where the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or physical health of the mother. The bill would impose steep fines or a five-year maximum prison term for providers who perform abortions after 20 weeks, according toJezebel.

Donald Trump's Office of Management and Budget wrote in a statement that the White House "strongly supports" the bill, which criminalizes abortion providers, and "applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections," according to The Hill.

Murphy's district in southwestern Pennyslvania is deeply conservative, making it unlikely that Democrats could win it even if he were to run again after the scandal, Politico notes. Whether his retirement give Democrats a better chance remains an open question.

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