October 5, 2017 / 10:45 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. congressman to resign after report alleged he asked woman to have an abortion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican Representative Tim Murphy will resign from Congress on Oct. 21, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday, following a report alleging that Murphy had asked a woman with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) chairs a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis, in Washington October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Murphy had said in a statement on Wednesday he would not seek re-election next year. The lawmaker had been a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, once receiving a 92 percent score from the conservative Family Research Council, which opposes abortion.

There was no immediate response from Murphy’s office for request for comment on Thursday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a Jan. 25 text message, said the woman had chastised Murphy for asking her to get an abortion during a pregnancy scare despite his office posting an anti-abortion statement on Facebook.

According to the newspaper, Murphy texted her in response: “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.”

Murphy’s extramarital affair had first been exposed in 2016 during the woman’s divorce proceedings, the Post-Gazette said.

“This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21,” Ryan said in a statement. “It was Dr. Murphy’s decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it.”

The resignation will not affect the balance of power in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Murphy, 65, who was first elected in 2002 to represent a southwestern Pennsylvania district, had been a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves and is a practicing psychologist, his office’s website said.

On Wednesday, Murphy voted for passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban women from having abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in most cases, according to GovTrack, which follows congressional voting records.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Peter Cooney

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