GOP congressman Scott DesJarlais testified during divorce proceedings that he supported his ex-wife’s two abortions, saying that the decision was mutual both times.
DesJarlais, who does not support abortion, has also admitted that he once urged a patient he was having an affair with to get an abortion as well, reports The Associated Press.
Despite the revelations, the Tennessee Representative easily won a second term in the state’s conservative 4th District. His website explains his position on abortion by saying, “All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life.”
The congressman also admitted during the 2001 divorce proceedings that he had sexual relationships with multiple patients while he was a doctor. He also admitted to relationships with co-workers during that same time.
In the transcript of the trial, DesJarlais admits sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers, and a drug representative during his time as chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tennessee. The relationships with patients took place in 2000 while the congressman was still married, according to The Washington Post.
Both of the abortions took place before GOP congressman Scott DesJarlais and his wife were married in 1995. DesJarlais stated that he urged his wife to get an abortion the first time because she was on medication that warned not to be pregnant. The second time, he explained it was because “things were not going well between us and it was a mutual decision.”
DesJarlais did express regret about the second abortion, saying:
“I don’t think that it was easy for either one of us. I think it was a very difficult and poor choice and I think that there are probably regrets both ways.”
DesJarlais’ medical license may be in jeopardy, however, as doctors are prohibited from having sexual relationships with their patients. During the trial, however, the GOP congressman disputed that there was anything wrong with it. He stated:
“I don’t feel real obligated to respond to that. I think it’s ludicrous. I’ve never been challenged or questioned in terms of my integrity before.”
Republican leaders have yet to weigh in on GOP congressman Scott DesJarlais’ affairs or the knowledge that he urged his ex-wife to get two abortions before they were married.