October 05. 2017 8:48PM

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

By Makini Brice

U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy is shown in August. (Nate Guidry/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) 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.

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.