Ever since the news broke that Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a doctor, had an affair with one of his patients, developments have continued to dribble in.
In a 12-year-old recorded telephone call, DesJarlais was caught urging the woman he had an affair with to have an abortion. DesJarlais was married but separated at the time.
DesJarlais has assumed a strong pro-life position while in Congress. That makes his words to the pregnant woman particularly difficult to reconcile with his political beliefs.
“You told me you’d have an abortion, and now we’re getting too far along without one,” DesJarlais said.
DesJarlais has been widely criticized as a hypocrite for that, but he has an explanation.
The woman was not really pregnant. DesJarlais was just playing along to get her to admit that she was not pregnant. He was only calling her bluff wrote DesJarlais in an email.
“Here is what is true. While legally separated from my wife, I was involved with a woman who I had briefly treated for a foot injury. The relationship was completely mutual.
“After approximately four months after we had last seen each other, she told me she was pregnant. I won’t go into details out of respect for those involved, but I had several reliable reasons to believe this was false.”
DesJarlais also stated that he and his wife at the time were separated and had a written agreement to see other people. That is supposed to justify DesJarlais’ behavior.
Yet even if DesJarlais was simply bluffing, he still is a hypocrite. DesJarlais opposes same-sex marriage because it is destablizing to the traditional family, as his website suggests:
Marriage is traditionally defined as being between a man and a woman and we feel this distinction is important to the wellbeing of the American family.
Getting divorced, as DesJarlais did with his wife of that time, breaking up a family (DesJarlais had a child with that wife) and having an affair might bring people of lesser hubris to consider that their own behavior is less than pro-family. DesJarlais is not one of those people though.
DesJarlais feels that he is being unfairly targeted. Yet even if his abortion-bluff story is believed, DesJarlais is still a hypocrite for opposing same-sex marriage as a threat to the “wellbeing of the American family” when he had an affair with one of his patients while he and his wife were separated and still trying to work things out. It was only after DesJarlais’ romantic involvement with his patient that the divorce was finalized.
DesJarlais has another problem too. The Tennessee Department of Health has disciplined at least five other doctors in the time since DesJarlais’ affair for doing what DesJarlais did. These doctors have either been placed on probation or had their licenses suspended for unethical behavior.
DesJarlais can spin his situation any way he wants, but the conclusion still comes back to the same. He is a hypocrite for thinking that he should be treated one way while holding beliefs that would treat the rest of society another.