Will Republican Policy Makers Survive Scandal Post-Roe V. Wade?

Health and Gender Policy Brief #147 | By: Geoffrey Small | October 16, 2022

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Policy Summary

Republican policy-makers are facing a post-Roe v. Wade political landscape, where hypocrisy on anti-abortion platforms is in the national spotlight. The Herschel Walker controversy is just the latest scandal to impact the GOP.

 Examining mainstream abortion-related controversies can provide some insight into the potential consequences today’s Republican politicians and officials may face.

Policy Analysis

Herschel Walker and The Georgia 2022 Senate race are the latest examples of these controversies. An Emerson College Poll indicated that Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock is pulling ahead of Walker, the Republican challenger. The recent polling data may be related to the bombshell report by the Daily Beast. Walker’s stance on abortion has been well documented. 

He stated that the procedure is equivalent to murder and there’s “no exception” related to the life of the mother, incest, or rape. However, a woman who asked to remain anonymous has told the Daily Beast that she became pregnant during a relationship with Walker in 2009.

 After informing the Republican candidate, he requested that she undergo an abortion. The woman provided a copy of a receipt from the abortion clinic, a Bank of America receipt showing a $700 check written by Walker to cover the cost, and a signed “get well” card he sent to the woman. 

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Representative Scott DesJarlais

Photo taken from: Daily Herald

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Senator Raphael Warnock (Left) and Herschel Walker (Right)

Photo taken from: The Associated Press

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Scott DesJarlais , the U.S Representative for Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District, was embroiled in a similar campaign controversy in 2012. The Huffington Post reported transcripts of a phone conversation, which he recorded in 2000, pressuring a woman he was having an affair with into getting an abortion. 

DesJarlais was a practicing physician at the time, and the woman was also his patient. Information about his affair and abortion was already heavily circulated when he rose to power on the Tea Party platform in 2011. It was also reported that Washington D.C watchdog group, The Citizens for Responsibility in Ethics, helped initiate a Tennessee Board of Health investigation into claims that he was having multiple affairs with patients.

 As a result, he was officially reprimanded and fined a total of $1500 for his conduct. Despite the reported controversies, DesJarlais is still a Republican representative for Tennessee with a pro-life stance. Democratic candidate Wayne Steele is currently challenging his seat for the 2022 election in November.

Scott Lloyd

Photo taken from: Politico

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Scott Lloyd’s abolitionist stance on abortion is similar to Walker’s. Lloyd was selected as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the Trump Administration in 2017. During his college years, Lloyd wrote a class assignment about assisting a woman he had gotten pregnant with getting an abortion, despite his own reluctance. The controversy escalated when it was reported that he personally intervened in preventing pregnant refugees from receiving an abortion during his time as Director. 

These interventions caused major lawsuits claiming that he was violating the constitutional rights of young refugee women. After less than a year-and-a-half mishandling refugee family separations, he was removed from his position in July 2018. He recently resigned from a town council position in Fort Royal, Virginia, due to a conflict of interest.

Republicans certainly faced less severe consequences before the recent Supreme Court Roe V. Wade decision, but that may come to an end. The majority of the U.S. public are in favor of a women’s right to choose and Republican policy-makers may not be as insulated as Scott DesJarlais was in 2012. 

It is important for pro-choice advocates to donate to the campaigns for Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Tennessee Democratic challenger Wayne Steele. This will send a message to anyone in the GOP that a hypocritical stance on abortion will no longer be tolerated.

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