So as principal author of this important constitutional amendment, how does Sen. Hershman stand up as a family man? Not too good, at least according to his ex-wife. On election day in 2000, the Logansport Pharos-Tribune ran a shocking story in which Tracy Johnson Hershman alleged her ex-husband, Brandt, a few years earlier drove her to an abortion clinic in Merrillville where he paid for her to have an abortion and then filed for divorce one week later. As the newspaper wrote in November, 2000:
Because the story didn't hit the newspaper until the day of the election in just a single newspaper in Hershman's Repubican-leaning Senate district, it had little impact on the race. The issue seemed to fade away by the time Hershman, an advocate for Right to Life, sought re-election in 2004. Although Hershman denied forcing his ex-wife to have an abortion according to the newspaper account, he didn't appear to deny the abortion took place.
The open seat for one Logansport area legislative race is encountering an open season on a controversial issue as the campaign enters its final day.
The former wife of Republican State Senate candidate Brandt Hershman said Monday that his pro-life positions and endorsement by Indian Right to Life do not conform with his personal beliefs. Tracy Johnson Hershman said when she became pregnant in early 1997, Hershman asked to have an abortion. On May 30, 1997, she claims he drove her to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Merrillville where he paid for her to abort their child. Hershman asked her for a divorce a week later, she said.
“This is about somebody who really isn’t who he says he is,” Johnson Hershman, a former Valparaiso Vidette Messenger reporter who now resides in Michigan City.
Tracy Johnson Hershman, who says she is a Republican, said he forced her to have an abortion. Brandt Hershman said, “I did not force anyone to do anything, ever, period. Tracy Johnson Hershman’s response is that he may not have forcibly made her have an abortion, but he made it clear he wanted her to abort the child.Tracy Johnson Hershman, who is also Catholic, said her former husband did not want her to go to church.
“If he just got religion, he just got religion,” she says.
“I am the one with the Catholic guilt over (the abortion),” she said. “I’m the one who sat there and cried over the entire thing.”
The couple had been married since 1989.
Tracy Johnson Hershman said she is not out to assassinate the character of her former husband, but the truth has to be known, but she learned of some of the claims her former husband was making after his campaign supporters called on a former business associate.
The account of Hershman's ex-wife, if true, is quite relevant to the senator's public life and the issues he advocates today. For a man who devotes so much time in the legislature touting family values, he doesn't practice those values in his private life based on his former wife's account. But with so many hypocrites on the religious right, it's do as I say, not as I do.
Sen. Hershman was elected to serve as the Majority Whip for the Senate Republican caucus at the beginning of this session and is employed as a district staffer for U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer (R).
Let's hope the mainstream media takes Sen. Hershman to task on his own private life as he seeks to write discrimination into the Indiana Constitution against the state's gay and lesbian citizens, and doesn't ignore his hypocrisy as they did two years ago.
Hat tip to the anonymous commenter who dug up this old newspaper story.