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Republican lawmaker resigns following accusations of pressuring his mistress to have abortion

(ReutersS/Jonathan Ernst)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.

A Republican congressman who claims to be pro-life has resigned after he was accused of pressuring his mistress to have an abortion.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, who has represented Pennsylvania's 18th district since 2003, had admitted to having an extra-marital affair with a woman named Shannon Edwards earlier this year.

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Murphy had allegedly urged the woman to have an abortion when he believed that she was pregnant.

In a text message obtained by the newspaper, Edwards accused Murphy of hypocrisy for posting messages in support of March For Life after he asked her to have an abortion.

"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," Edwards reportedly told Murphy in a text message on Jan. 25.

Murphy, who has a 100 rating on the pro-life advocacy group Family Research Council's legislative scorecard, responded by saying he was not responsible for posting the messages supporting March For Life.

"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," a text from the congressman read.

After the news about the affair broke, Murphy had stated that he would retire from Congress at the end of his term. However, the congressman reportedly submitted his letter of resignation to House Speaker Paul Ryan this week, indicating that he would be stepping down before the end of the month.

"This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21. It was Dr Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer," Ryan announced on Thursday.

Murphy, who is a member of the the Pro-Life House Caucus, had voted in favor of a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy on Tuesday.

He admitted to having an extra-marital affair in September after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette uncovered court documents pertaining to the divorce between Edwards and her husband, Jesse Sally. The lawmaker was reportedly subpoenaed in the case because Sally sought more details about his wife's marital misconduct. His attorney attempted to quash the subpoena, but the motion was denied in September.

Murphy, who had practiced as a psychologist before entering politics, was first elected to Congress after redistricting in 2002. His resignation will trigger a special election in his south-western Pennsylvania congressional district, which has been leaning increasingly Republican in recent years.

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