October 10, 2012
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Slandering the secret lives of elected officials is so much more fun when the lawmaker is running for re-election on a platform that wishes to control my body.
OK. Here’s goes.
Scott DesJarlais, an anti-abortion Tea Party congressman in Tennessee, had an affair and pressured the woman to have an abortion, according to a recording of the conversation revealed by The Huffington Post.
DesJarlais, who has been leading in the polls in his race for re-election against democratic challenger, Eric Stewart, worked as a doctor before taking office in 2011. During his practice, he met a woman with whom he began one of his many extramarital affairs. The trouble began in 2000 when the women became pregnant and apparently dragged her feet in getting the abortion that she’d promised to DesJarlais.
At this time DesJarlais was desperately trying to patch up relations with his now ex-wife, Susan, who was well aware of her husbands wandering eye. To prove his devotion, he taped a conversation with his pregnant mistress in which he urged her to get an abortion so he could move on with his family life.
"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," he said in the taped telephone conversation.
The two began to discuss whether or not DesJarlais would even accompany her to the procedure. DesJarlais says he’ll try to find the time; the woman insists that he promised to attend.
Throughout the conversation, DesJarlais insinuates that the woman lied to him about “something that caused us to be in this situation”--most likely her birth control status.
"Well, it's [your] fault for sleeping with your patient," she sensibly reminds him. (As the controversy with Todd Akins this summer revealed, sometimes it in fact necessary to remind GOP lawmakers how women’s basic anatomy works.
DesJarlais continues to barrage the woman with demands to abort the baby.
"If we need to go to Atlanta, or whatever, to get this solved and get it over with so we can get on with our lives, then let's do it.... We’ve got to do something soon. And you’ve even got to admit that because the clock is ticking right?” he said.
The woman relents throughout the course of the conversation, which he later played for his wife. Unfortunately for the congressman, it didn’t save his marriage.
It has, however, become a damning piece of evidence into the congressman’s personal ethics during his re-election campaign more than ten years later. When provided with a copy of the transcript, DesJarlais didn’t deny it, but he did say in a statement that it was a “desperate personal attack.”
Well, it would be--except that the congressman has made regulating these types of personal decisions a centerpiece of his platform.
Except, it seems, when pressuring a woman to have an abortion would be convenient for him.