Abortion ban: Has the Republican Party forgotten one of its own pro-life lawmakers who pushed his mistress into abortion?
After Missouri, several Midwestern states expected to pass similar laws. It only seems right that the country is reminded of the case of Tim Murphy
Missouri has followed the lead of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, with the state Senate advancing a 'fetal heartbeat' bill that would ban abortions after eight weeks with a 24-10 vote.
According to The New York Times, the bill will be taken up by the House before the close of the legislative session on Friday, May 17, and is fully expected to pass because of its Republican majority. Republican Gov. Mike Parson will then likely sign it into law immediately.
HB 126 will ban abortions at eight weeks gestation and declares that Missouri and all of its political subdivisions are a "sanctuary of life" that protects "pregnant women and their unborn children".
Except in cases of medical emergencies, it also criminalizes performing or inducing an abortion as a Class B felony which may result in the medical professional performing the procedure losing their license to practice.
It's expected that several other states with Republican-controlled legislatures will pass similar legislation in the near future, all in a bid to catch the conservative-majority Supreme Court's attention and hope they overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which protected a pregnant woman's liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
It was something Alabama governor Kay Ivey publicly admitted in her statement announcing the signing of the 'Human Life Protection Act' into law this past week, writing, "The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur."
While Republicans across the country have continued to push for and pass such restrictive laws in several states despite stringent opposition, they seem to have forgotten how such extreme stances can often come back to haunt them.
Ask Tim Murphy, a Republican who served as the US Representative for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district between 2003 and 2017, who was very vocal about his anti-abortion stance. Murphy was lauded by the Family Research Council for his views on the matter and was endorsed by LifePAC, which is known for opposing abortion rights and is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, an affiliation that was often cited by his office.
On January 24, 2017, he co-sponsored the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act or the Life at Conception Act which would ban abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest, or where the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the mother.
In a Facebook post that same day, he explained why he was a proponent of such a bill. "The United States is one of just seven countries worldwide that permits elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy (beyond 20 weeks). It is a tragic shame that America is leading the world in discarding and disregarding the most vulnerable," he wrote, adding, "we will once again be a nation committed to honoring life from the moment of conception and ensuring American taxpayer dollars are never spent to end a life before it even begins."
That particular post would prove to be his undoing. A few months later, in September 2017, he admitted to having an extramarital affair with Shannon Edwards, and a month later, it emerged that he had pushed her into terminating her pregnancy.
Text messages between the pair, which were made public by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, were damning. A message she wrote to him one day after his Facebook post, in the midst of a pregnancy scare, read, "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."
In response, Murphy wrote, "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 the staff don't write anymore. I will."
A few days after those messages were made public, Murphy announced he would be resigning from Congress. He has not been seen in the public space since. However, that debacle didn't stop Republican lawmakers from introducing another fetal heartbeat bill into the House once again barely six months later, though it did go on to die in the Judiciary Committee.
While Roe v. Wade is the last bulwark holding up women's rights to abortion, as the push for anti-abortion legislation continues across the midwestern states continues, it wouldn't be surprising in the least to see further Tim Murphys pop out from the woodwork and highlight the rampant hypocrisy among those advocating for it.