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Anti-Abortion Rep. Tim Murphy Won't Seek Re-Election After Report On Abortion Request

Rep. Tim Murphy in 2014 on Capitol Hill. A report says texts show he asked a woman to get an abortion.

Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania has announced that he will not seek re-election after a report said he requested that a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair get an abortion.

Murphy is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and has voted to impose more restrictions on abortion access. Earlier this week, Murphy voted in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which "would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy," according to GovTrack.

"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," he wrote in a statement. He added: "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. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it obtained a record of a text message sent by Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist in Pittsburgh, to Murphy in January.

"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," the newspaper quoted Edwards as writing about a Facebook post from Murphy's office.

The Post-Gazette said a text from Murphy's cellphone number in response says, "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."

In the end, it turned out Edwards was not pregnant.

The affair came to light a month ago after a divorce proceeding involving Edwards and her husband was unsealed by a judge. Murphy admitted to the affair shortly after.

"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," Murphy said in a statement through his attorney to the Post-Gazette. "To the extent that there should be any blame in this matter, it falls solely upon me."

Murphy has opposed using federal funding to cover abortions. He spoke at the Right to Life Convention in Pittsburgh in 2010, Katie Blackley of WESA reports for NPR, saying:

"Every kids deserves a chance to have a choice at life. Every child deserves a chance to have a choice at life. Every baby deserves a chance to have a choice at life. And every parent should be supported in their responsibility and commitment to raise that child."

Murphy is in his eighth term in Congress representing the heavily Republican 18th District of Pennsylvania, in the southwest of the state. He is a practicing psychologist and has worked on legislation to overhaul mental health programs.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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