What to Know
- Congressman Tim Murphy, R-Pa., won't seek re-election while embroiled in a sex scandal.
- Text messages show the anti-abortion lawmaker urged his mistress to get an abortion when he thought she was pregnant, a report says.
- Murphy says he will "take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties."
Anti-abortion Republican Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania has announced he is resigning amid tawdry revelations of an extramarital affair in which the Pittsburgh-area lawmaker urged his mistress to get an abortion.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he had received a letter of resignation from Congressman Murphy on Thursday, a day after the Pennsylvania congressman announced he would not seek a ninth term.
“This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21. 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,” Ryan said in a statement.
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Previously, Murphy said he would "take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties."
Murphy's decision came just days after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published text messages between Murphy and Shannon Edwards.
A Jan. 25 text message from Edwards told the congressman he had "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," according to the newspaper.
A text message from Murphy's number in response said his staff was responsible for his anti-abortion messages: "I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more."
Edwards, it turned out, wasn't pregnant. Murphy recently acknowledged his affair with Edwards, which became public as a result of her divorce proceedings.
The revelation came as the House on Tuesday approved Republican legislation that would make it a crime to perform an abortion after 20 weeks of fetal development. Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, is among the bill's co-sponsors and voted for it.
“As I said [Wednesday] night, the circumstances surrounding this situation are extremely disappointing to me,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Sinders said in a statement.
The Post-Gazette also published a six-page memo apparently written by Murphy's congressional chief of staff and dated June 8, in which she accused Murphy of subjecting his staff members to "threats, hostility, anger and harassment."
Neither Murphy nor his office has commented on the newspaper report.
Murphy is serving his eighth term representing a district in southwestern Pennsylvania, including parts of suburban Pittsburgh.
To fill his seat, Governor Wolf will have to call for a special election. The winner will fill the rest of Murphy's term.
The district is a safe Republican seat, with Republican Donald Trump beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by a margin of three-to-two in last November's presidential election.