Herschel Walker, who has strongly opposed abortion rights as a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, paid for an abortion for his girlfriend in 2009, according to a new report released late Monday. The candidate called the accusation “an outright lie” and said he would sue.
The Daily Beast spoke to a woman who said Walker paid for her abortion while they were dating. The news outlet reviewed a receipt showing her payment of $575 for the procedure, along with a standby card from Walker and her bank statement records that showed an image of a $700 personal check from Walker dated five days after proof of abortion.
The woman said Walker encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy, saying it wasn’t the right time for a baby, The Daily Beast reported.
In a statement, Waker said he would file a lawsuit against the news outlet Tuesday morning.
“This is an outright lie – and I deny it in the strongest possible terms,” he wrote.
Matt Fuller, the political editor of The Daily Beast, tweeted in response: “I can tell you that we stand behind every word and feel very strongly about the story.”
Later Monday night, Walker appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, where Walker was asked if he remembered sending a $700 check to a girlfriend.
“Well, I sent money to a lot of people,” he said. “I give money to people all the time because I always help people. I believe in being generous. God has blessed me. I want to bless others.”
The allegation against Walker is the latest in a series of stories about the football legend’s past that have rocked his campaign as a first-time candidate in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. Earlier this year, Walker acknowledged reports that he had three children that he had not previously spoken about publicly.
As a Senate hopeful, Walker has supported a national abortion ban with no exceptions for cases of rape, incest or danger to a woman’s health — particularly notable as Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court and Democrats in Congress debated the codification of abortion rights into federal law.
“I’m pro-life,” Walker has said repeatedly as he campaigns. When asked if he would allow exceptions, he said there are “no excuses” for the process.
As the Republican nominee, Walker has sidestepped many questions about his past support for a national abortion ban, instead trying to turn the issue against his Democratic opponent, Sen. Raphael Warnock, who supports abortion rights. Walker often describes abortion as “a woman killing her baby” and says he doesn’t understand how Warnock, a Baptist pastor, can argue the procedure is legal.
Campaigning in Dunwoody, a suburb of Atlanta, on Monday night, Warnock emphasized his support for abortion rights.
“I have a great reverence for life. I have a deep and abiding respect for choice. I think a patient’s room is a very small and confined space for a woman, her doctor and the United States government,” he said, emphasizing Walker’s support for a national ban.
Warnock was dismissive when told the story to The Daily Beast and when asked if it could influence the result in Georgia. “I’ll let the experts decide,” he said.