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As Georgia’s runoff election for the US Senate enters the early voting period, every reasonably-informed voter must know that Herschel Walker is a deeply flawed human being. But one of those flaws makes him an especially dangerous Senate candidate. 

We already know that his personal life is a walking disaster. We already know that he has lied, fudged, overstated, or not been completely honest about working for the FBI, working for law enforcement, serving in the military, graduating from college, and graduating in the top 1% of his class.

We already know about credible allegations of his violence against women, including statements by his ex-wife and his son. 

We already know about the “family values” candidate who has children with four different women and his apparent lack of involvement with those children. This indicates that his “family values” stance is only for public show rather than private duty, which is where real family values lie.

But none of those is the most urgent reason to oppose Walker. What is genuinely dangerous is his simultaneous public opposition to all abortions while privately appearing to have knowingly paid for one, and possibly having urged yet another one.

Why is this especially important? Because it makes two things entirely clear.   

The first is that in light of his claim that abortion is murder, Walker is fine with murder. 

The second is that such a public/private contradiction that would constitute hypocrisy in an average citizen becomes dangerous in a US senator.

The issue is one of chilling importance. When a lawmaker says in public that he wants to enact a national abortion ban, then encourages and even pays for an abortion (or two) with a wink and a nod in private, what he is saying is that he will decide who can have an abortion and who cannot. It is nothing less than a bold assertion of power.

Walker is saying, through his actions, that conservative politicians (usually male) should have ultimate power over people’s lives. He is asserting that he will choose who can have an abortion and who cannot—and that makes it about power and power alone. 

A national abortion ban would be bad, of course. But Walker’s stand, as seen from his behavior, is that women can have abortions, but only if he says so. He and his conservative allies will allow a few women of their choosing to have abortions (and may even require it), but no one else can do so. It is the ultimate expression of saying the quiet part out loud. And the existence of such an escape clause for themselves removes a disincentive to pursuing a total ban for others.

The existence of such an escape clause for themselves removes a disincentive to pursuing a total ban for others.

Since ectopic and septic pregnancies are doomed and may kill the women who are forced to continue them, Walker is asserting that he will choose which women live and which women die. Never forget that an outright abortion ban would lead some women to die from failed pregnancies. 

Walker is asking us to let him choose which women live and which women die. That is the power he asserts that he should have.

Exceptions in abortion bans for the life of the mother are not good enough, because by the time a woman’s pregnancy is septic or otherwise dangerous enough to kill her, it may well succeed in doing so.

Walker is saying through his actions that he should be allowed to decide which innocent women live, and which ones die. It is a criminal assertion of his right to murder blameless strangers, a power that a Senate seat would bring that much closer.

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Dr. Abby Hafer

Abby Hafer is a biologist, educator, and public speaker. She has a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Curry College. Her written works include the books...