The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children had to repeatedly press the former football star who is now the Republican Senate nominee in Georgia for funds to pay for a 2009 abortion that she said he wanted her to have, according to the woman and a person she confided in at the time.
“When I talked to him, I said, ‘You need to send — I can’t afford to pay for this,’” the woman said in one of several interviews with The Washington Post in recent days, adding that she also told him: “We did this, too. Both of us did this. We both know how babies are made.”
The woman, who lived in the Atlanta area at the time, said she became pregnant when she was unemployed and had less than $600 in her bank account. Walker sent a $700 check via FedEx about a week after the procedure, the woman said. The Post reviewed an image of the check that was printed on an ATM slip, with Walker’s name, signature and an address associated with him at the time.
It was deposited nine days after the woman said she had an abortion. The Post has reviewed a receipt for $575 at a women’s medical center that day. She said she did not know exactly how much an abortion would cost and estimated the amount she told Walker she would need based on online searches.
The extended discussion over payment for the procedure to end the first pregnancy has not been previously reported. The woman and the person she confided in both spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of themselves and their loved ones.
As previously reported, the same woman also says Walker pressured her to have an abortion again when she became pregnant a second time; she chose to give birth to her son, who is now 10. The woman sued Walker in New York in 2013 for child support after he allegedly refused to provide it, according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details. Walker, who now says he is a multimillionaire, said in that case that he made about $140,000 per year, the person said.
The new revelations deepen questions about Walker’s treatment of women and his children, as well as the conflict between his public opposition to abortion and his alleged private behavior. Walker and his campaign have denied the woman’s claims that he wanted her to have two abortions, and Walker initially claimed he did not know the woman who was making them.
“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week after the Daily Beast first reported the allegation about paying for an abortion. “Had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there.”
Walker is running on a platform that opposes abortion in all cases, without exceptions for rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother. He has said he would vote for a national ban of the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He has also criticized Black men for being absent parents — a criticism now leveled at him by the woman and by his grown son by another mother, Christian Walker. Herschel Walker has acknowledged having four children with four women.
Three women, including his first wife, have told police that Walker threatened them in various ways. Walker has not disputed his first wife’s account, but he or his campaign have denied the others.
The Daily Beast first reported the woman’s account of Walker paying for the cost of an abortion and the New York Times later reported the woman’s account of Walker’s unsuccessful efforts to persuade her to have another abortion. The woman has told The Post that those reports accurately described her experiences.
The woman was initially supportive of Walker’s Senate campaign, but said that changed after he announced that he would ban all abortions.
The woman described an on-and-off-again relationship with Walker; the lawyer who represented her during the child support case said in a statement at the time that it lasted from November 2008 to September 2011. In the weeks before and after the 2009 abortion, the person she confided in at the time recalled her explaining she had to press Walker to send funds, which the person remembered interpreting as an attempt to make the former football player take some accountability for his actions.
“She was like, ‘I’ll do it as soon as you send the check,’” recalled the person. “And he was like ‘I sent the check.’ And she was like, ‘It’s been seven days. I didn’t get it.’”
Walker reported in August 2022 that he had income and assets worth between about $27 million and $59 million, according to financial disclosure forms.
Walker is seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock in November. The race is close, polls show. Both parties see Georgia as a key battleground in the larger fight for the control of the Senate. Walker and Warnock are set to debate Friday in Savannah.
Antiabortion groups have rallied to Walker’s side as have some national Republican leaders. Some Republicans in Georgia have said they worry that they erred in elevating an unvetted nominee.
On Tuesday, Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appeared at a rally for Walker in Georgia. Former president Donald Trump has had discussions about coming to Georgia for a rally in the final weeks before Election Day.
A central part of Walker’s pitch is that he has struggled with mental illness and recovered from it, a story of redemption that his team believes will resonate with Georgia voters. He wrote a book published in 2008 called “Breaking Free,” in which he details violent thoughts he had while struggling with dissociative identity disorder. He also says these episodes ended after he said he received professional help for his condition.
In 2009, at least two women that Walker dated were pregnant, according to public records in one case and three people familiar with the other pregnancy. One gave birth to a boy in February 2009, public records show. Later that year, the woman who spoke to The Post began making repeated calls to Walker to tell him she was pregnant.
When Walker eventually responded, he told the woman that it was “not a good time” for a baby, she said. “We should do this the right way,” he added, implying that the couple could have a planned pregnancy some time in the future, according to the woman. The woman said she did not know he had just fathered a child who was born in February 2009.
The woman agreed to have an abortion, and said she asked him repeatedly for money to cover the cost. The woman had less than $600 in her checking account, according to her account and an ATM receipt. Amid the Great Recession, she had lost her job, she said.
Days after the procedure, Walker sent a $700 check along with a get-well card that features a drawing of a steaming cup of tea and included a handwritten note from Walker. “Pray you are feeling better,” signed, “H.” It was the first time Walker had ever sent money to the woman, she said.
The card was seen as an acknowledgment of the abortion, according to the woman and two other people with contemporaneous memories of it.
The woman also supplied a copy of receipt for $575 from the Atlanta Women’s Medical Center, showing she had paid for the procedure with a Visa card on Sept. 12, 2009. And she had a pamphlet from the center detailing “Post-operative Instructions.”
The second time she became pregnant, in 2011, Walker also did not respond immediately to her calls, she said. Walker again said she should not have the baby, according to the woman and her confidant. Again, Walker said it was “not a good time” for a baby, she said.
But the woman said she did not want to undergo a second abortion and felt fate had intervened, with the second pregnancy being a “sign” that she should raise the child.
Walker sent occasional checks to the woman during her second pregnancy, she said, but the money didn’t come on any regular schedule so she could not depend on it. “It was just whenever he felt like getting around to it,” the woman recalled. Eventually the woman took Walker to court to get child support, records show.
“The child’s mother is a graduate student … struggling to make ends meet,” according to a May 2013 statement about that case from her lawyer at the time, Andres Alonso. “Unfortunately, Mr. Walker has thus far decided not to take full financial responsibility for the care of his alleged son.”
Walker was ordered to pay $3,500 a month in child support, according to the person familiar with the case. He also paid a lump sum of $15,000 to help cover hospital costs connected to his son’s birth and early child care, the person said. The child support payments were based on Walker having an annual income of about $140,000 a year in 2013, the person said.
The financial disclosures Walker filed this year for his Senate run show an annual income of $3 million from H. Walker Enterprises LLC, an entity that he reported being worth between $25 million and $50 million.
Walker’s behavior toward his family has come up repeatedly during the campaign. Walker has been harshly critical of absentee Black fathers, once calling the behavior a “major, major problem.”
“The father leaves in the Black family. He leaves the boys alone so they’ll be raised by their mom,” Walker said in a 2021 interview. “If you have a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman — even if you have to leave that woman — you don’t leave that child.”
But he had only publicly discussed one of his four children until the Daily Beast published a report earlier this year that he had fathered a second child.
He subsequently acknowledged three sons and a daughter, and pointed to a form he filled out ahead of his May 2018 appointment to the President’s Council on Sports, Nutrition and Fitness in which he identified all of them, as evidence he was not hiding anything. They are a boy born in 2012; a boy born in 2009; Christian Walker, 23; and a daughter in her late 30s. Herschel Walker’s daughter has her own children, making him a grandfather.
Walker has had very limited in-person contact with his 10-year-old son despite repeated invitations to be part of his life, including only a handful of in-person meetings, according to the woman and her confidant.
Walker’s adult son, a conservative media influencer, has also recently been publicly critical of his father for not being present. “You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to [have sex with] a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence,” Christian Walker wrote on Twitter after the Daily Beast article published. He continued: “How DARE YOU LIE and act as though you’re some ‘moral, Christian, upright man.’ You’ve lived a life of DESTROYING other peoples lives. How dare you.”
The Post has not independently verified Christian Walker’s claims. Herschel Walker was married to his mother, Cindy Grossman, from 1983 to 2002, according to public records.
The mothers of Walker’s other children declined to comment or did not respond to messages.
Grossman said in two 2008 television interviews that Walker held a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. Walker does not dispute the account but has said he does not remember it.
Another woman, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, contacted the police in May 2002 and accused him of stalking her. A third woman, Myka Dean, told police in 2012 that Walker threatened to “blow her head off” when she told him she wanted to date other people. Walker’s campaign has denied both of those accounts.
In May 2021, Walker married his current wife, Julie Blanchard, a woman with whom he has had a long-term relationship.
Aaron Davis, Shayna Jacobs, Hannah Knowles, Cara McGoogan, Eva Ruth Moravec, Lori Rozsa and Michael Scherer contributed to this report.
An earlier version of this article misstated the state affiliation of Sen. Tom Cotton. Cotton represents Arkansas in the U.S. Senate. This version has been updated.
Roe v. Wade and abortion access in America
In June 2022 the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years has protected the right to abortion. Read the full decision here.
What happens now? The legality of abortion is left to individual states. The Post is tracking states where abortion is banned or under threat, as well as Democratic-dominated states that moved to protect abortion rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade.
Abortion pills: Abortion advocates are concerned a Texas judge’s upcoming abortion pill ruling could halt over half the legal abortions carried out nationwide. Here’s how the ruling could impact access to the abortion pill mifepristone.
Post-Roe America: With Roe overturned, women who had secret abortions before Roe v. Wade felt compelled to speak out. Other women, who were and seeking abortions while living in states with strict abortion bans shared also shared their experience with The Post through calls, text messages and other documentation that supported their accounts. Here are photos and stories from across America since the reversal of Roe v. Wade.