Scott DesJarlais, a republican anti-abortion rights physician elected to the US House of representatives in 2010, has admitted to having an affair with one of his patients and then pressuring her to have an abortion when she became pregnant.
DesJarlais, the Fourth Congressional District representative of Tennessee, taped a phone conversation he had with his mistress in 2000. According to a Tennessean newspaper report, DesJariais encourages his mistress to find a “solution” so that he would not have to tell his wife.
A transcript of the phone call, part of a 200-page memorandum of court records detailing DesJarlais' 2001 divorce, quotes DesJarlais as saying:
"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one."
DesJarlais and his mistress argue back and forth before DesJarlais tells the woman delaying a resolution isn't fair to his wife. The woman tells him it is not fair to her and she never wanted him in her life to begin with. DesJarlais responds by saying:
"Well, I didn't want to be in your life either, but you lied to me about something that caused us to be in this situation, and that's not my fault, that's yours.""Well, it's [your] fault for sleeping with your patient." the woman responds.
DeJarlais continues by saying: "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?”
According to his website, DeJarlais believes "all life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life." He co-sponsored the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) from providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity that does not certify that it will not perform or provide funds to any entity that performs abortions. He also co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which prohibits federal funds from being used for any health benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, which would prohibit the federal government from withholding funding to any entity that refuses to participate in abortion-related activities, and the Life at Conception Act which declares "the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child."USA Today is reporting that DesJarlais' ex-wife confirmed the recording was made and that she had listened to the recording. She also stated that her husband's mistress did have the abortion.
Knoxville News quotes Robert Jameson, a spokesman for DesJarlais, as saying the reports are "gutter politics" and "character assassination" and that it is "old news from the last election cycle that Tennesseans have already widely rejected."
During the 2010 election court records of DesJarlais' divorce were released that described him threatening his former wife and as putting a pistol in his own mouth and threatening suicide. That revelation did not sway voters and DesJarlais defeated incumbent Lincoln Davis. The court documents regarding the affair and abortion were just released on Wednesday however.
DesJarlais is running for re-election against Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart.