Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, the “family values” Republican politician whose texts messages revealed he encouraged his mistress to have an abortion, is officially resigning.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported just a few days ago that Murphy, who serves on the House Pro-Life Caucus, was called out by his mistress for hypocritically telling her to have an abortion amid an unfounded pregnancy scare. Murphy blamed members of his staff for anti-choice posts on social media (but ignored his long anti-choice voting history).
Murphy first responded to the story by saying he would not seek reelection at the end of his term in 2018, but now he’s resigning before the month is over, on October 21, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy,” Ryan said in the statement. “It was Dr. Murphy’s decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer.”
The Pennsylvania Republican’s about-face came after House GOP leaders and senior Republicans upped the pressure on Murphy to step down. Republican sources familiar with Murphy’s thinking said the married father of one child initially believed he could weather a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story revealing he had sent a series of text messages to his girlfriend — a psychologist half his age — encouraging her to have an abortion. Murphy had been a strongly anti-abortion lawmaker during his 15 years in Congress.
It is now abundantly clear that Murphy was living a double life, and that he was against abortion when the choice was made by other people but in favor of it when a baby would have been proof of his affair. What’s not clear right now is whether the people of Pennsylvania will replace him with someone less hypocritical — or someone who believes women are capable of making that decision for themselves.
Murphy is only the most recent in a long line of conservative anti-choice Republicans who have had their religious hypocrisy exposed, and he won’t be the last. It shouldn’t take a scandal like this, though, for voters to realize the people they elect, while preventing others from exercising their rights, sometimes believe they’re exceptions to their own rules.