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Month before midterms, abortion in focus as GOP backs Herschel Walker

Bombshell allegations about Herschel Walker, the Republican nominee for US Senate in Georgia, have drawn renewed attention to the abortion debate, which Democrats hope will boost turnout among their supporters, though polls suggest it could be lower than two years ago.

Walker, who has campaigned against abortion rights, denied reports that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion and later offered to pay her for a second abortion.

The mother of one of Walker’s children has said he ended a relationship with her in 2011 after she refused to have an abortion, as she had done two years earlier, according to a report in the New York Times on Friday. The Times report said she was the same woman who previously told the Daily Beast that Walker had paid for the abortion for her first pregnancy with him.

The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her privacy and that of her child, told The Washington Post in a brief interview on Saturday that those reports accurately described her experiences. The Post also looked at a copy of a $700 check, which the woman said Walker wrote to reimburse her for the cost of the abortion. The check did not contain a memo line for any particular purpose. It was deposited days after the date the woman said she had the abortion.

The race could determine which party controls the Senate, with Democrats pushing to highlight Supreme Court overthrow Roe v. Wade attract voters for abortion rights.

Republicans for their part are trying to shift voters attention to other topics, such as crime and economics, amid daily headlines about Walker’s personal conduct, including threats of domestic violence, fathering illegitimate children, and misrepresenting his business record.

While some Republicans have expressed concern about Walker’s “baggage,” many in the GOP are doubling down on backing the troubled candidate. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) plans to meet in Georgia on Tuesday for Walker, as The Washington Post first reported.

And on Sunday, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), who faces a tough reelection for his seat in the House, Walker said, “None of us are perfect.”

“Herschel needs to be honest and just be honest,” Bacon told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We also know that we all make mistakes and it’s just better. If this really happened, say I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness.”

go. Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who campaigns on an anti-abortion platform, has denied paying for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Meg Kinnard/AP/Reuters)

When Kristen Welker, host of Meet the Press, asked if Walker’s controversies were undermining the Republican Party’s broader anti-abortion message, Bacon was wary and returned to his belief that the race would not be decided based on personal behavior. of a candidate.

“You want to walk and talk the word. You want to be consistent with your message,” he said. “But people also make mistakes. I am certainly not a flawless person. I’ve made my own mistakes in life. And Herschel too.”

Bacon’s comments are consistent with a GOP memo released last month that offered talking points for Republican candidates looking to effectively position themselves as they head into the general election this fall. The GOP acknowledged in the memo that the vast majority of voters disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision this summer to Roe v. Wadewho provided a constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years.

The memo, first reported by de Hill, urged Republicans to “draw a contrast” between their stance on abortion — which includes exceptions in the memo for rape, incest and maternal life — against “a Democrat that abortion relies on anytime and for whatever reason.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) dismissed those arguments. She also championed a Michigan voting initiative that would enshrine the right to abortion in the state’s constitution “to the point of viability.”

“And after that, it has to be because of the mother’s health being assessed by a medical professional,” Slotkin said. “So it’s not an abortion on demand, it’s not until the ninth month, all these talking points that Republicans are using because they know they’re hot on this issue. So I support that voting initiative.”

Slotkin also called out the hypocrisy of Republicans, noting that they have called for Walker to be forgiven, even though he has not admitted wrongdoing.

“I think what Mr. Walker himself is doing is enough for the voters to see, right? He’s being accused of something, he doesn’t admit it, or he evades,” Slotkin said.

Overall, the five-page GOP memo argues in favor of shifting the focus from abortion to other issues such as inflation and the economy. But Republicans have found it difficult to avoid the topic of abortion since Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.) last month introduced a bill that would ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor in the battleground state of Arizona, declined to say whether she would pursue abortion restrictions within 15 weeks. Instead of, she shifted the discussion to offering help to women to “keep their babies” or help making an adoption plan.

“I want to give women real choices,” Lake said.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor, dismissed Lake’s claim that late abortions were performed solely at the patient’s discretion as “ridiculous.”

Abortion is a topic that belongs “between a woman and her doctor,” Hobbs added. “The government and politicians have no place in that decision.”

Midterm elections typically favor the party that is not in power, but the Supreme Court ruling in June has prompted Democrats to reverse that trend by emphasizing their goal of codifying abortion rights into law. Planned Parenthood recently announced plans to spend a record $50 million electing abortion rights advocates across the country in November, believing the focus will have a net positive effect on Democratic candidates.

Arizona is one of several Republican-controlled states that cite an age-old law as the rationale to roll back access to abortions. (Video: Julie Yoon, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

However, some Democratic groups have expressed concern that they have not seen the same levels of fundraising and voter enthusiasm seen in 2020.

Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee for governor lagging behind in polls against Governor Brian Kemp (R), said on Sunday that reports of faltering support among black voters were a “fabricated crisis designed to suppress turnout.”

“If you look at my voice numbers and my companion’s voice numbers, [Georgia Democratic] sen. Raphael G. Warnock, we’re just checking with black voters. However, we know that black voters, like any voting population, deserve the respect of having someone come and talk to them, engage them,” Abrams said on Fox News Sunday.

“But it’s always an opportunity to get involved. I don’t take any voting bloc for granted,” she added.

Abrams also noted that black women in Georgia are most likely to die from maternal deaths because they don’t get access to health care before becoming pregnant.

“We know that in Brian Kemp’s Georgia, a black woman faces a deadly choice and that is to either have a crystal ball and know she’s pregnant before she can actually know it, or a forced pregnancy with very little support,” she said. “In the state of Georgia, Brian Kemp has said that Herschel Walker is entitled to his personal choices, but no woman has. And that’s unreasonable.”

Annie Linskey contributed to this report.

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