POLITICS

Scott DesJarlais: 'God Has Forgiven Me' For Scandalous Past (LISTEN)

Dec 01, 2012 | Updated Dec 02, 2012

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) told a radio host God has "forgiven" him for his scandalous past, including having an affair with a patient and later pressuring her to get an abortion.

"As far as where I stand on pro-life [issues,] I feel I have been very solid in my views," DesJarlais told conservative talk show host Ralph Bristol Saturday. "I don't think, Ralph, that I implied that there was nothing in my past. I didn’t go back and dig up all my personal shortcomings and display them. I went through this divorce a long time ago. I made a very poor decision in my first marriage. I know God's forgiven me.”

A phone call transcript first obtained by The Huffington Post revealed DesJarlais, a pro-life congressman who worked as a doctor, had slept with a woman he met as a patient with a foot problem as his marriage was falling apart:

"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.

DesJarlais has acknowledged the conversation, but said he was only trying to get her to admit she wasn't pregnant. He easily won a second term despite the controversy.

More scandal from DesJarlais' past emerged when court documents revealed he and his former wife made a "mutual" decision for her to have two abortions. DesJarlais testified during divorce proceedings that the first abortion was was because she was taking an experimental drug that carried potential risks in pregnancy; the second came as the couple experienced problems in their relationship.

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