Pro-life Republican politician 'urged woman he was in affair with to have an abortion'

Tim Murphy exchanges messages with Shannon Edwards during 'unfounded pregnancy scare'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 04 October 2017 16:56 BST
Tim Murphy is married with an adult daughter
Tim Murphy is married with an adult daughter (Getty Images)

A pro-life Republican politician allegedly urged a woman he was having an affair with to get an abortion.

Tim Murphy, a US congressman for Pennsylvania, admitted to the affair in September, with messages obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette showing Shannon Edwards accusing the 65-year-old of hypocrisy.

After an anti-abortion message was posted on Mr Murphy’s Facebook account, she reportedly wrote: "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.”

Mr Murphy responded: "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."

The texts were sent during what proved to be an “unfounded pregnancy scare”, according to the Post-Gazette.

Mr Murphy, who is married with an adult daughter, described the liaison as an “affair with a personal friend”.

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Ms Edwards, a forensic psychologist, said she met the politician while volunteering to work on a mental health bill, which was signed into state law last year, but that the relationship ended last month.

Mr Murphy has a long record of opposing access to abortion. On Tuesday he voted to criminalise abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and was among the bill’s co-sponsors.

According to his website, he is a member of the Congressional Pro Life Caucus and told an audience in 2014: “It is heartening to know that so many people in our community want to protect the sanctity of the lives of the unborn. I stand with you in the fight to protect the rights of these voiceless children.

"We are making progress, and together we can continue to spread hope and let families know that choosing life is the right choice and the only choice because every child is wanted.”

The Facebook post that sparked Ms Edwards’ accusations of hypocrisy was posted on 24 January and said Mr Murphy was “proud” to sponsor a bill that would permanently prohibit the use of taxpayers’ money to pay for abortions.

He also hailed Donald Trump’s move to block charities who receive US foreign aid from funding or giving advice on abortion.

A spokesperson for Mr Murphy said his office had "no comment or response to the the story".

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