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A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.
The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.
DesJarlais, who was provided a copy of the transcript by HuffPost, did not deny its contents, but in a statement released through his campaign characterized it as just another sordid detail dredged up by the opposition. "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."
"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting too far along without one," DesJarlais tells the woman at one point in the call while negotiating with her over whether he'll reveal her identity to his wife. They then discuss whether he will accompany her to a procedure to end the sort of life the congressman now describes as "sacred."
"You told me you would have time to go with me and everything," the woman complains.
"I said, if I could, I would, didn't I? And I will try," DesJarlais says. "If I can [find] time, you're saying you still will?"
"Yeah," the woman answers.
The two bicker over when they can meet to hash out a solution, and they make clear the nature of their relationship when DesJarlais says delaying a resolution isn't fair to his wife.
"This is not fair to me. I don't want you in my life," the woman says.
"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," the doctor responds.
"Well, it's [your] fault for sleeping with your patient," the woman fires back.