Conservative media have attacked abortion as immoral through years-long misinformation campaigns to turn people against the extremely safe and widely common procedure. However, after recent reporting that Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker paid for a former girlfriend’s abortion, right-wing outlets and media figures are looking the other way and continuing to promote Walker’s campaign in what is expected to be a toss-up election. Some in conservative media are also using the moment to sling mud at Walker’s opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), in the weeks before Election Day.
Earlier this week, The Daily Beast reported that in 2009, Walker urged a past girlfriend to get an abortion and paid for the procedure, writing her a personal check for $700 and signing a “get well” card. The woman, who remains anonymous, also substantiated her claims to The Daily Beast by providing a receipt from the abortion clinic. Walker denied the report outright in a Twitter statement, calling the story “a flat-out lie” by a reporter he deemed a “democrat activist.” That same night, Walker’s son spoke out in a series of tweets that accused his father of violently threatening family members, claiming the family was forced to “move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.” On Wednesday night, The Daily Beast published another report, in which the woman who said Walker paid for her abortion also stated that she and Walker have a child together. Walker again denied the report, stating, “There is no truth to this or any other Daily Beast report.”
Throughout his campaign, Walker has been an adamant opponent of abortion, voicing his support for a federal ban without exception and speaking out against the dangers of a “fatherless home.” Previous reports have also alleged Walker engaged in intimate partner violence in at least two separate instances; revealed he has several previously unacknowledged children; and fact-checked false claims about his work in law enforcement, his academic achievements, and his role in helping veterans.
Conservative media have long amplified attacks on abortion rights, offering a friendly platform to violent rhetoric and misinformation surrounding reproductive health and creating a hostile culture for abortion providers and patients. Now, many of the same right-wing figures and outlets who have aggressively opposed abortion are rallying behind Walker, dismissing his hypocrisy while attempting to bolster his Senate run and divert attention to Warnock:
- Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza tweeted:
- Right-wing radio host Erick Erickson repeatedly suggested that Walker funding his girlfriend’s abortion is not news, adding that “I thought we all knew this” and that people can change. In a second threaded tweet Erickson wrote, “Note Walker is denying it. I thought it was an old story.” Erickson went on Substack the next day to elaborate on his earlier tweet, stating that the “unsubstantiated rumor” is an attack from both The Daily Beast and Democrats to turn both independent and Republican voters off from Walker in the midterm election.
- Later in the day, Erickson went back to Twitter and posted:
- On her podcast, right-wing provocateur Dana Loesch said, “I don't know what Herschel Walker did or didn't do,” before continuing, “All of this is about controlling the Senate, and I'm not going to apologize for wanting to control the Senate. Raphael Warnock wants taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. That's indisputable.”
- Conservative news site RedState published a piece former Managing Editor Bill Crews wrote in support of Walker and his denials of the claims, saying, “I’m not sure this adds up to what is being claimed, as Walker has a long record of giving money to those in need. Taken in its worst light, it was 13 years ago, and if the pro-life movement can welcome [former Planned Parenthood employee] Abby Johnson, it can show a bit of grace to Herschel Walker.” The article went on to promote his Senate run, claiming that “Walker is still a better man than Warnock” and that “even if the abortion story is true, he will not be in the Senate advocating for late-term abortions like his opponent.”
- RedState published an article by Deputy Managing Editor Brandon Morse supporting Walker and calling the left’s criticism of his hypocrisy “divisive bait,” urging its readers, “Don’t fall for the trap of living up to a standard while the left has no intention of doing it themselves. Don’t let them toy with you and use you.”
- The Federalist asserted that the allegation about Walker funding an abortion “changes nothing.” Writer David Harsanyi suggested that “people have a right to wonder” if the check provided by Walker’s ex-girlfriend was forged and asserted that “ideological indecency” is more important than “personal failures” such as assisting someone seeking an abortion.
- Newsmax host Greg Kelly called The Daily Beast “Fake News” and implored the outlet to “do a ‘deep dive’" into Walker’s Democratic opponent, claiming, “Warnock is actually GUILTY of everything they accuse Herschel of.”
- One America News Network host Addison Smith similarly alluded to wrongdoing by Warnock to dismiss the story against Walker, saying, “Warnock has been accused of the same thing and then some AND likes murdering babies on top of it.”
- On his radio program, Fox News host Sean Hannity said, “If you're going to ask all these questions of Herschel Walker, I would imagine that those questions toward Raphael Warnock have to come out as well.” Hannity added that “this is the silly season when accusations are flying everywhere — anywhere and everywhere.”