You know what I despise more than people who advocate for abortion rights? It's a really tiny category, occupied by only one life form, because I hate few things as much as the people who dehumanize the developing child. But this week I encountered that creature, one that slithered out from under its moss-covered Western Pennsylvania rock (no, not Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger).
The individual who made me consider for a fleeting, painful moment that even Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is perched in the human pyramid of mediocrity above something worse is Rep. Tim Murphy, Republican from that distant land where Wawa is a cry of desperation, not a really great convenience store.
I have heard of Murphy in my pro-life advocacy, and knew him as one of the strongest, loudest, most valiant supporters of unborn babies, a man who consistently sponsored or supported legislation that would keep chipping away at a woman's right to choose abortion.
Western Pennsylvania tends to be more sympathetic to the concerns of the vulnerable child in utero than we here in the evolved blue fog of Philadelphia and her environs. The strong pro-life voices along the Allegheny, the Monongahela, the Susquehanna, and up by Lake Erie generally make up for the "Aw, abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell was an exception" fabulists along the Schuylkill.
But now I have to rethink my affection for a region that could produce a man like Murphy.
The congressman was outed this week as someone who wanted to ban abortions for everyone except his mistress. Murphy and his gal had a text-message exchange that strongly implied that when she thought he'd gotten her pregnant, his knee-jerk response was to abort that child.
Girlfriend didn't take kindly to the idea, and it turned out to be only a pregnancy scare. Still, the hypothetical child caused very real problems for the 65-year-old almost-baby-daddy.
Here is a reported excerpt from the Heloise and Abelard meets Silicon Valley exchange:
Girlfriend: "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: "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."
So, not only do we have a semi-confirmation (through lack of denial) that this valiant pro-life champion actually urged his woman to abort their possible child, we also know that he has absolutely no respect for the grassroots men and women who spend cold January afternoons marching to defend the lives of the unborn. He "winces" at the thought of those embarrassing religious zealots, those misogynists, those useful idiots who are foolish enough to respect him for his "principled" stand on society's great moral failure.
This man seems to actually know a lot about moral failure, and the betrayal of his wife is the least of it.
Murphy betrayed more than his wife, his family, and his constituents. He broke faith with those of us who have to deal with the ridicule and suspicion of the enlightened crowds in D.C. and the satellite capitals, filled with evolved Planned Parenthood acolytes. We have carried the water on these issues for decades, and he has been able to use that genuine devotion to the silent victims of abortion, "the least of these," to advance his own political goals. His apparent willingness to destroy his own child is an example of the rankest hypocrisy, and it does immeasurable damage to the pro-life movement.
Those who support abortion rights now have another scalp for their belts, another white Republican male they can use as a symbol of all that is wrong with a movement dedicated to the protection of the unborn. They have every right to make him the poster boy for the things they hate, because he earned that spot with his own misconduct.
Tim Murphy's great genius was to unite pro-lifers and pro-choicers in one thing: Our disgust for him.