Anti-abortion congressman Tim Murphy announces retirement after pressuring girlfriend to get abortion


Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, a longtime supporter of anti-abortion legislation, said Wednesday he will not seek re-election next year following revelations he had pressured the woman with whom he had an extramarital affair to have an abortion.

"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.

"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," he continued. "I ask you to respect our privacy during this time."

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Congressional lawmakers not seeking re-election come 2018
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Congressional lawmakers not seeking re-election come 2018
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-CA)
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas)

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Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) 

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Rep. Dave Trott (R-Mich.)
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Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) 

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Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas)

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Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)

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Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday published a text message from Shannon Edwards, with whom Murphy admitted last month that he had been in a relationship, in which she took him to task for an anti-abortion post 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," she wrote on Jan. 25.

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Protests for and against abortion in America

An anti-abortion protester with tape over her mouth demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court before the court handed a victory to abortion rights advocates, striking down a Texas law imposing strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities in Washington June 27, 2016.

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Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016.

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Demonstrators hold signs outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the court is due to issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 against a backdrop of unremitting divisions among Americans on the issue and a decades-long decline in the rate at which women terminate pregnancies in Washington, U.S. June 27, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the morning that the court took up a major abortion case focusing on whether a Texas law that imposes strict regulations on abortion doctors and clinic buildings interferes with the constitutional right of a woman to end her pregnancy in Washington March 2, 2016.

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Anti-Trump demonstrator protests at abortion rights rally in Chicago, Illinois, January 15, 2017.

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Pro-choice activists celebrate on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

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Pro-life activists gather outside the Supreme Court for the National March for Life rally in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017.

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Pro-life activists gather for the National March for Life rally in Washington January 27, 2017.

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Pro-Choice supporters of Planned Parenthood rally outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. February 11, 2017.

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A man holds up a rosary in front of competing demonstrators displaying pro-life and pro-choice signs as the annual March for Life concludes at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, U.S. January 27, 2017.

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Siberian Husky Tasha wears a "Huskies for Choice" sign while held by her pro-abortion owner Michelle Kinsey Bruns in front of the Supreme Court during the National March for Life rally in Washington January 22, 2016. The rally marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

A man stands during an anti-Planned Parenthood vigil outside the Planned Parenthood - Margaret Sanger Health Center in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 11, 2017.

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Karen Lieber joined anti-abortion activists protesting in front of Planned Parenthood, Far Northeast Surgical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., February 11, 2017.

(REUTERS/Charles Mostoller)

Anti-abortion supporters Marian Rumley, Taylor Miller and Sophie Caticchio from Minnesota listen to speeches at the National March for Life rally in Washington January 22, 2016. The rally marks the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade.

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

The Franciscan Friars Minor gather between The Supreme Court of the United States and The Capitol Building during the 44th annual March for Life January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Anti-abortion advocates descended on the US capital on Friday for an annual march expected to draw the largest crowd in years, with the White House spotlighting the cause and throwing its weight behind the campaign.

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Pro-choice and pro-life activists demonstrate on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Pro-life activists pray on the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down one of the nation's toughest restrictions on abortion, a Texas law that women's groups said would have forced more than three-quarters of the state's clinics to close.

(Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Pro-choice demonstrators at the U.S. Supreme Court cheer as they learn the court struck down the Texas abortion law on Monday, June 27, 2016.

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View of demonstrators in front of the United Nations as they protest against a proposed abortion ban in Poland, New York, New York, April 17, 2016.

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In response, Murphy said his staff was responsible for the posts.

"I get what you say about my March for life messages," he said. "I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will."

Edwards turned out not to be pregnant, the Post-Gazette reported. Her relationship with the congressman was first exposed by the paper, which had successfully sought a motion to unseal files from Edwards' divorce from her husband, Jesse Sally, a sports medicine physician. Sally, sought to depose Murphy as part of the proceedings to demonstrate marital misconduct.

The Post-Gazette also published a June 8 memo from Murphy's chief of staff, Susan Mosychuk, accusing the congressman of "ongoing and ever more pronounced pattern of sustained inappropriate behavior."

Murphy, who is in his eighth term in the House and represents the deep-red 18th District in southwest Pennsylvania, is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and is popular among anti-abortion groups. Just hours after the Post-Gazette published the text messages, Murphy voted in favor of legislation that would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks, a bill that has passed the lower chamber multiple times but been blocked in the Senate.

Both Murphy and Edwards confirmed that their relationship has ended. The congressman, 65, and his wife, the former Nanette Messig, have a daughter and two grandchildren.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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