Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

What was the Accusation?

A story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on October 3, 2017 reported that Representative Tim Murphy (Republican-Pennsylvania) had encouraged his mistress, Shannon Edwards, to abort their unborn child earlier that year.  Murphy had been a staunch supporter of pro-life policies and was endorsed by LifePAC, an organization which opposes abortion rights, and had also been a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus.  The intercepted text messages included one in which Edwards, a Pittsburgh-area forensic psychologist, writes to Murphy: “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.”  Murphy wrote in response: I get what you say about my March for Life messages.  I’ve never written them.  I read them and winced.  I told staff don’t write any more.  I will.”  In addition to the inconsistency between Murphy’s public stance on abortion and his private interactions with Edwards, he was also being accused by his Chief of Staff Susan Mosychuk in a six-page memo of repeatedly denigrating employees and creating a state of “terror.”  On October 5th, Murphy indicated in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan that he would resign his position from Congress effective October 21st.  One day earlier, Murphy had released a statement on his official web page claiming that he would finish out his full term and that he would be taking “personal time” over the next few weeks as he and his family would work through their personal issues.  However, the increased fervor over the scandal necessitating an earlier resignation.

Key Apologia Strategies:

Corrective Action, Bolstering




Initial Statement of Resignation on October 4, 2017:

“After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term. I plan to spend my remaining months in office continuing my work as the national leader on mental health care reform, as well as issues affecting working families in southwestern Pennsylvania. We have accomplished much in the past year through the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act and there is much work yet to be done. In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time.” 


DeBonis, M. (2017, October 5). Rep. Tim Murphy resigns from Congress after allegedly asking woman to have abortion. Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/rep-tim-murphy-resigns-from-congress-after-allegedly-asking-woman-to-have-abortion/2017/10/05/7a68a414-aa08-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html?utm_term=.48d66e5cb620

Statement from Congressman Tim Murphy. (2017, October 4). Congressman Tim Murphy Website. Retrieved from: https://murphy.house.gov/latest-news/statement-from-congressman-tim-murphy/

Tatum, S. (2017, October 5). Anti-abortion Rep. Tim Murphy, who reported urged abortion, resigns from Congress. CNN. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/04/politics/tim-murphy-abortion-reelection/index.html

Ward, P. R. (2017, October 3). Rep. Tim Murphy, popular with pro-life movement, urged abortion in affair, texts suggest. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-nation/2017/10/03/rep-tim-Murphy-pro-life-sought-abortion-affair-shannon-edwards-susan-mosychuk-pennsylvania-chief-of-staff-congress-emails-texts/stories/201710030018