My So-Called First World Problems: Meet Tim Murphy
A day before his life imploded, (former) Congressman Tim Murphy, a longtime member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, cast a vote in favor of a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
(Former) Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA)’s was forced to announce a hasty resignation from office when his mistress’ divorce proceedings revealed that:
a) Congressman Tim Murphy was engaged in an extramarital affair with one Dr. Shannon Edwards;
b) Dr. Edwards experienced a pregnancy “scare” as a result of her relationship with Murphy; and,
c) Murphy’s response to the pregnancy “scare” was to encourage Dr. Edwards to abort.
I have long imagined that the pro-life community harbored those who, when push came to shove, would avail themselves of the safe, legal abortion they spent so much energy railing against. But I was caught off-guard when an eight-term U.S. congressman and enthusiastic House Pro-Life Caucus member was exposed for having encouraged his own sexual partner to abort.
Murphy, a sexagenarian, (was) a full-time federal employee and a practicing psychologist. His mistress, age 32, is likewise a psychologist. These are people who can afford their co-pays, who can afford travel, who would never have to sleep in their car if forced to travel to obtain a medical procedure. There was no sexual assault. No incest. These were not lusty teenagers. There was no apparent concern about maternal health or fetal abnormalities. These people are not impoverished, and (former) Congressman Murphy’s only child is grown, so it is doubtful that he is currently overwhelmed by the demands of parenting.
This is a case of two highly educated, older adults, with the ability to self-determine, to choose whether to engage in sexual activity (extra-marital or otherwise), and finally, these are people with the freedom to choose whether to embrace the unintended consequences of their sexual activities or not.
I mention this because a recent 14-country study showed that most women report seeking abortion because of socioeconomic reasons, because they want no more children, or because they wish to space their children.
It’s not for me to dictate the circumstances under which someone else should be able to obtain an abortion, and I recognize that the circumstances of Edwards’ putative pregnancy were less than ideal. But, it is difficult to imagine a greater act of hypocrisy than encouraging your mistress to abort while devoting much energy to making abortions more difficult to obtain. The cherry on top is that a mere day before the revelations about the affair, the pregnancy, etc. broke, (former) Congressman Murphy voted to ban all abortions after 20 weeks.
When a pregnancy is inconvenient for the man, let's allow abortion with impunity. When the pregnancy impacts the woman's life plans, throw as many barriers in her way as possible. Liberal men certainly have their share of sex scandals. (Remember San Diego Mayor Bob Filner?) But, these men don't flout a philosophical adherence to puritanical sexual mores, nor do they publicly advocate putting the kibosh on a woman's ability to self-determine. Or, as Jennifer Weiner puts it, they are not, "pro-life in the streets, pro-choice in the sheets."
So, to (former) Congressman Tim Murphy: Good night, sweet prince. And may flights of angels sing thee to thy departure from public life.
Rebecca Zipp co-chairs the Women's Advocacy Committee, serves as Lawyers Club Board Secretary, prosecutes securities fraud at the San Diego District Attorney's Office, and recently began composting.