Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), a congressman who frequently voted to restrict abortion rights, will not run for re-election following reports that he asked his mistress to terminate her pregnancy.
A member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Murphy voted earlier this week to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
"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 on Wednesday. "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."
On Oct. 3, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported on text messages between Murphy and Shannon Edwards, a Pittsburgh psychologist with whom Murphy was having an affair. On Jan. 25, Edwards, who believed she may be pregnant, wrote the congressman about anti-abortion views posted 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," the newspaper quoted Edwards as writing.
According to the Post-Gazette, a text from Murphy's cellphone number responded, "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."
Ultimately, Edwards's pregnancy scare was unfounded. Neither she nor Murphy have commented on the reports.
Murphy, who is in his eighth term representing a heavily Republican district in Pennsylvania, has been praised by the Family Research Council for his position on abortion and for his advocacy of family values. He's been endorsed by the anti-abortion lobby LifePAC.
The anti-abortion bill Murphy voted for this week, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would ban abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or where the pregnancy poses a threat to the life or health of the mother. It passed the House 237 to 189.