NASHVILLE (WATE/AP) - A freshman congressman running for re-election on a pro-life platform urged his pregnant mistress to get an abortion a decade ago, according to a transcript of the recorded conversation featured in an article by the Huffington Post.
The phone recording appears to have been made before Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais' divorce from his wife, Susan, was finalized in 2001.
In the conversation, DesJarlais tells the unidentified woman that he was concerned that she has delayed getting an abortion, and that he was willing to travel to Atlanta with her to get the procedure done.
"This is old news from the last election cycle that Tennesseans have already widely rejected," a Desjarlais spokesperson said Wednesday in a written statement. "Since the congressman's opponents cannot attack him on his independent, conservative and pro-life record in Congress they have once again resorted to pure character assassination."
DesJarlais, a physician who opposes abortion rights, defeated Democratic Rep. Lincoln Davis in 2010.
Constituents say if the allegations are true, that would make DesJarlais a hypocrite.
"My view is that if this is fact, it's terrible and he should not be representing the constituents of this district," said Cumberland County resident Bob Mitchell.
"If they turn out to be true, he's basically contradicting everything he's said so far," said Brandon Kendall.
DesJarlais is running against Democratic State Sen. Eric Stewart in the November election.
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