Tennessee Republican gave testimony detailing wife's abortions
November 16th, 2012
04:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Tennessee Republican gave testimony detailing wife's abortions

(CNN) – An anti-abortion Republican congressman from Tennessee, first elected in 2010 with support from tea party activists, testified at divorce proceedings in 2001 that he and his wife mutually agreed on her getting two abortions, according to court transcripts released to CNN Friday.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who won re-election last Tuesday by more than ten points, also admitted in the court documents to having sex with some of his patients and colleagues when he was a practicing physician, and to prescribing one of those patients painkiller medications.

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DesJarlais is a staunch anti-abortion conservative, with a history of votes in the House of Representatives that would restrict a woman's right to choose an abortion. His campaign website says "All life should be cherished and protected. We are pro-life."

Requests for comment from DesJarlais' Congressional office were not immediately returned Friday.

The transcript of the court proceedings was released by the Tennessee Democratic Party, which had hoped to compile and release the documents before the November 6 election. Allegations did surface before the election that DesJarlais had pressured a girlfriend to have an abortion a decade ago. DesJarlais was separated from his wife at the time.

DesJarlais asserted in the testimony released this week that his wife's first abortion came because she was taking a drug that could have caused complications with her pregnancy. The other came when they were having problems in their relationship.

"She was on a experimental drug called Lupron and was not supposed to have gotten pregnant. There were potential risks. It was a therapeutic," DesJarlais said, according to the transcript of his testimony. "One was after she had gotten back from Desert Storm and things were not going well between us and it was a mutual decision."

He said in the testimony the abortions were not easy for either him or his wife, and that "there are probably regrets both ways."

In the testimony, DesJarlais also admits to having sexual affairs with some of his patients during the time he was practicing medicine, and prescribing one of them medication. He said he was "ashamed of things that have happened," but that he was "moving on."

During his campaign, allegations surfaced that DesLarlais encouraged one of those patients to have an abortion on a phone call, which was recorded and distributed. In a post on his campaign Facebook page from October 12, DesJarlais says there was "never any pregnancy and there was no abortion."

He also asserted in that post that the phone call was recorded without his consent.

In the testimony released Friday, however, DesJarlais said he had recorded the phone call himself in an attempt to prove the woman wasn't pregnant.

In a statement, the Tennessee Democrats' chairman Chip Forrester said DesJarlais' "lies have come to roost."
"Just like he abused his power as a doctor and violated the trust of his patients, he has betrayed those who have defended him by deceiving them about his affairs with patients," Forrester wrote. "The power brokers in the Republican Party can no longer hide behind DesJarlais' shameful and selfish lies."

DesJarlais, whose 2001 divorce was the subject of attacks during his 2010 campaign, wrote in a statement after he won Tuesday's election (but before the new court documents were released) that his "opponents and the liberal media have tried to ignore the problems facing our nation and instead concentrate solely on a 14 year old divorce."

"The election results clearly show that you want a leader in Washington who is focused on providing solutions that will ensure a brighter future for our country and for the people of the Fourth District of Tennessee," he wrote.

Information from the 2001 testimony was first reported by outlets including the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Filed under: Congress • Tennessee
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Yeah, but he probably hates minorities too, so it's all good...right, Teatrolls? Boy do you guys really know how to pick the winners...

    November 16, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    All I want to know is will he be criminally charged, and how soon will Issa kick him out so that we can have another election for that seat.

    November 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Guest

    How the F did this guy get elected? Oh... you said Tennessee, right?
    He ran on the ole "pro-life (unless it affects me)" platform.

    November 16, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Willie K.

    Republican = Hypocrite. We should not be shocked, by now.

    November 16, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. rs

    Only Republicans can vote for guys like this.

    November 16, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. BLKMANinAmerica

    SEE! The 40+ faces of "pro-lifers"...................please but they want to prevent other from have a legal right. FAKE PLASTIC, TRIFLIN repuks!

    November 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. papanez

    Typical.. They place themselves above all of us peons posing as perfect, And they abuse the trust people place in them and the oaths they take. If he had a pair he'd apologize and resign. People make mistakes and have regrets. It's our nature. But be up front. We are a forgiving people. Be honest; don't hide the truth, and be open. Creep.

    November 16, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Travis

    @ Rudy NYC
    "All I want to know is will he be criminally charged"

    For what...lying? If so, then we should go after at least half of the politicians out there for lying as well (probably more than half).

    November 16, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. 1crusader

    Is anyone surprised ? Being hypocritical and having double standards is common among the GOP.

    November 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Well wasn't it nice for this MEGA-hypocrit that he and his wife had a CHOICE, the ability to actually CHOOSE what was best for their family at a critical time in their lives. And they thought it best to choose the option of abortion. How nice.

    For this hypocritical, malignant Teatard to now work so fervorently to SLAM the door on other families, to DENY them a right to similarly CHOOSE, speaks volumes for the pathetic state of the [R] party, and the pathetic state of Tenn. for electing this human waste-of-space to office.

    November 16, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Romney is NOT My Hero

    WOW – GOP Gold! Just another example of the those "conservative" values they speak of at every turn.

    November 16, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Let's Move Forward

    Good grief the republicans are soon to be extinct.

    November 16, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. freidamurray

    A-freakin'-mazing! "She was on an experimental drug and wasn't supposed to have gotten pregnant." Really?!?! Two times? Should have learned the first time. What about women who have been raped or victims of incest? He is adamane they have the baby, but he and his wife "weren't supposed to get pregnant?" Sorry dude, you have to have the baby no matter what... isn't that what you espouse! IDIOT!

    November 16, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. va4865

    Is this a joke?..if so not funny LOL

    November 16, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. They are all crazy!

    Of course this guy was supported by the tea party. I’m not surprise.

    November 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. Harry From Pa

    Jesus said it best, Judge, lest ye be Judged, or he without sin cast the first stone. That being said, republicans are starting to become hypocritical in every shape and way. Shame on them. Shame on anyone that supports someone like this.

    November 16, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. PJ

    And this guy will have the power to cast votes that affect all of us. On top of that, we pay his salary.
    Let's hear the uproar from the Republicans and Faux news over this corrupt person. What? No outcry?
    We finally get rid of Joe Walsh and Allan West, and here comes this guy.

    November 16, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  18. Khaleeshi

    So it's ok for his wife to have a safe, legal medical procedure called an abortion – but he wants to take that right away from everyone else. What a pig.

    November 16, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. California Gary

    Another "family values pro life" Republican crawls out from under a rock and is exposed as a phony. What a surprise......how many is that now? Anyone keeping count?

    November 16, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. PALIN 2016

    As a proud Republican, I am OK with what Representative Scott DesJarlais did. It was years and years ago for one thing and what people don't seem to understand is that those aborted fetuses are in Heaven with Jesus now. The Bible clearly states that ALL children go the Heaven. Had those children been born, they would have been sinners like the rest of the human population and their odds of receiving eternal salvation would have been slim. Abortions guaranteed those angels an eternity in paradise and for that I say Kudos, congressman.

    November 16, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. cashmeremafia

    He's not the only one, nor will he be the last – keep 'em coming Repubs!! Why do you keep wondering why Mitt lost?? I listen to a local conservative talk show in the am (nothing else on), and they NEVER criticize Romney or any Republican. If it's something really obviously bad happening involving a Repub, they won't even mention it. I GAURANTEE YOU the major talking heads will ignore this – Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, etc.

    November 16, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Data Driven

    "won reelection by more than 10 points"

    Proud of yourselves today, Tennessee?

    November 16, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |