Report: GOP lawmaker pushed mistress to have an abortion

A conservative House member had an extramarital affair and then pushed the woman to have an abortion, according to a report.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), a doctor, was elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave that swept the House.

He has been dogged by allegations of violence in his 2001 divorce, and now by charges that he was involved with a patient 12 years ago whom he pushed to end her pregnancy.


The Huffington Post first reported the story Wednesday citing a phone call between DesJarlais and his then-mistress in September 2000.

Sources close to those involved have verified the call's transcript and its contents, the Huffington Post said. The report also claimed that the congressman made the recording himself.

On the call, DesJarlais allegedly complained to his then-mistress that she had not yet ended her pregnancy, and described efforts to repair his relationship with his now ex-wife, Susan.

"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," DesJarlais said to the unnamed mistress, according to the report. 

He agreed to accompany the woman to her procedure "if I can [find] time."

"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," DesJarlais said later.

"We've got to do something soon," he added. "And you've even got to admit that, because the clock is ticking, right?"

On Wednesday, his reelection campaign did not deny the details of the alleged phone call in a response to the Huffington Post.

"Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation's problems, yet it appears my opponents are choosing to once again engage in the same gutter politics that CBS News called the dirtiest in the nation just 2 years ago," the campaign said.

A call for comment at DesJarlais's Capitol Hill office was not immediately returned.

DesJarlais opposes abortion rights and was given a score of 100 percent by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) for his votes over the last two years. 

He supported a 20-week abortion ban in the District of Columbia, several measures to end public funds for Planned Parenthood, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would eliminate tax breaks for employers that cover abortion in their health plans. 

"I have been a consistent supporter of pro-life values," DesJarlais told the Chattanooga Times Free Press in August. "Human life is sacred and taxpayer funding of abortion is counter to the values a great many Tennesseans hold."

DesJarlais is running for reelection against Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart.

—This story was updated at 12:27 p.m.