In a move that will go down in the annals of Washington as “predictable,” the staunchly pro-life Rep. Tim Murphy might be pro-life when it comes to his voting record; today, he voted in favor of the House’s 20-week abortion ban. But he isn’t exactly pro-life when it comes to his own personal pursuit of consequence-free extramarital sex.
The Pennsylvania Republican’s “no abortions except for my mistress” stance was revealed today, when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette successfully unsealed the divorce proceedings of Shannon Edwards, the formerly married woman with whom Murphy was having an affair until recently. Murphy admitted to the affair in September. Edwards, a forensic psychologist—it’s all so Shondaland!—exchanged texts with Murphy earlier this year wherein she implied that the anti-abortion legislator had personally encouraged her to have an abortion during a pregnancy scare.
In response to an anti-abortion post on the Congressman’s Facebook page in January, Edwards texted, “And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”
In response, Murphy disavowed the social media posts, attributing them to his staff. “I read them and winced,” he wrote.
I guess if you had to boil it down to just a few words, you could call it “moral grifting.”
All this occurred amidst Murphy’s continued legislative advocacy against abortion access. He’s what the kids would call “legit”; a member of the Pro-Life Caucus, he’s been endorsed by LifePAC, and the Family Research Council is a fan of his work.
There’s political and financial incentive for somebody like Pennsylvania’s Tim Murphy, a congressman who isn’t an abortion opponent, but plays one on TV. Myriad groups that collect money from people who truly believe abortion is murder support these politicians. There’s the stern sanctimony, the gravitas that comes with being the adult in a world of youthful hedonism. There’s moral credit to standing up to defend life if it originates in the uterus of somebody else’s mistress.
During his career of pretending to be against abortion, Murphy has opposed embryonic stem cell research and health care coverage that includes abortion care. He’s supported legislation that would penalize transporting minors across state lines in order to receive abortions. He’s got a 0 percent rating from NARAL, and a 91 percent rating from the National Right to Life.
In 2013, Murphy cosigned a letter along with several other pro-life members of Congress demanding that states attest to the safety of their abortion facilities. The letter was written in response to the discovery that a Philadelphia doctor named Kenneth Gosnell had been running a horrifying illegal and unsafe abortion facility unchecked for years. At least Murphy is looking out for the safety of his past and future mistresses’ abortions!
Democratic strategists were, to put it mildly, wryly amused by the news.
“Republican men are two-faced. Here’s yet another example,” one told The Daily Beast.
Back in September when Murphy originally fessed up to the affair, he said, “Last year I became involved in an affair with a personal friend. This is nobody’s fault but my own, and I offer no excuses. To the extent that there should be any blame in this matter, it falls solely upon me.”
Except it doesn’t fall solely on him. His hypocrisy not only harms the individuals involved, but the millions of women his policies would harm. For that reason, Murphy deserves every ounce of derision thrown at him.