“Pro-life warrior” Congresswoman Jackie Walorski remembered

“Pro-life warrior” Congresswoman Jackie Walorski rememberedBella Vita Pregnancy Center co-founder and President Becky Bailey, the late Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Bella Vita Board President Deb Wappel, and Starke County Prosecutor Leslie Baker. (Rep. Jackie Walorski Facebook)

A “passionate advocate for life” who served others in all she did, Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski passed away on Aug. 3, 2022, after a car accident.

There was an outpouring of grief from the pro-life community and beyond as news of a two-car crash on Indiana State Road 19 claimed the lives of four individuals, including Walorski, LifeSiteNews reports.

Walorski’s District Director Zachery Potts and her Communications Director Emma Thomson were in the vehicle with her, and the other car was driven by Edith Schumuker. All four perished.

Walorski is survived by her husband Dean Swihart, her mother, Martha Walorski, two brothers, her mother-in-law and sister-in-law, along with numerous nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and extended family. She was preceded in death by her father, Raymond Walorski and father-in-law, Merl Swihart.

Walorski’s office released a statement in response to the news:

“Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Swihart would tell those gathered later for her funeral that Walorski was alive in eternal life with Christ, his remarks covered in a report from the local PBS outlet.

“Jackie is not dead the way you would imagine,” he said. “Right now, she’s more alive than all of us together in this room. Right now, she knows fully the things that we’re having trouble to comprehend.”

Jackie Walorski

From the moment of the first reports of the tragic accident emerged, a common theme developed as those who knew Walorski as political and pro-life leaders commented on her faith, her character, and her commitment to the defense of life.

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Her fellow Hoosier in the U.S. House Rep. Jim Banks (R- IND) reflected in a statement on Walorski’s Christian witness and passion for the pro-life cause.

“Jackie was a true public servant –selfless, humble, and compassionate,” Banks said. “She was a devout Christian, a passionate advocate for life, and a leader among Hoosier representatives. Everything Jackie did was to serve others.”


Walorski will be remembered as, “A fighter with a huge heart that always went the extra mile,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement posted on Facebook. 

Holcomb asked for flags to be flown at half-staff in Indiana immediately upon news of Walorski's death until the date of her burial, a report from the Indy Star said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had also ordered flags to be flown half-staff at the U.S. Capitol in honor of Walorski, the report said, and the White House followed, announcing it would also lower its flags the next two days to honor Walorski.

Walorski’s August 11 funeral service was held at Granger Community Church in Mishawaka, Ind., and attended by an estimated 2,000 people, according to the Washington Examiner, including dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Indiana officials.

Holcomb was among those to address mourners.

“I think about Jackie’s steel spine, her still visible footsteps,” he stated, saying that Walorski was a combination of compassion and passion.

“She could bring it,” Holcomb said. “She did whether you agreed or not. No one led this country more than Jackie.”

Walorski had served as the U.S. representative for Indiana's 2nd congressional district since 2013. 

A member of the Republican Party, Walorski served three terms in the Indiana House of Representatives from 2005 to 2010. 

In 2010 she had won the Republican nomination for Indiana's 2nd congressional district but lost narrowly in the general election to Democrat incumbent Joe Donnelly. Walorski would win the seat in 2012 after Donnelly stepped down to run for the U.S. Senate. She went on to be reelected four times.

Walorski had been a television reporter in South Bend, Ind., and later executive director of the St. Joseph County Humane Society.  

She and her husband served for four years as missionaries in Romania, operating a foundation they established to provide food and medical supplies for children. She had also worked as a development director for Indiana's colleges and universities

Numerous condolences expressed by her colleagues in the U.S. Congress were shared in various news reports.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., offered praise for Walorski in his remarks at her funeral.

“To tell you the truth, Jackie never really had a job. She always had a purpose and a mission,” McCarthy said. "She lived with true grace. She was direct. She had the highest respect of every colleague."

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) was an honorary pallbearer and spoke as well at Walorski’s funeral.

“Jackie Walorski did not waste one minute of her time on earth,” he said. “I feel a void that will never go away.”

“Her earthly mission is complete,” Wenstrup said, “but the positive effects of her work will never perish.”

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) was a close friend of Walorski and spoke with emotion about the personal support Walorski had given her in Congress. 

“Jackie was a no-nonsense, get-it-done, move-it-or-lose-it woman of strength and intense integrity,” she said.

Wagner remarked on Walorski’s pro-life conviction, saying Walorski was always, “Standing tall for the sanctity of life and our precious unborn.” 

“She was a pro-life warrior,” Christa Brown, director of Medical Impact for Heartbeat International, said of Walorski. “And in her last act as a congresswoman, the day before her death, she visited one of our affiliate centers.”

Walorski visited Bella Vita Pregnancy Center in Knox, Ind. Aug. 2.

“She put us first,” Bella Vita co-founder Becky Bailey told local radio news outlet WKVI. “She really did care.”

Walorski stated in a Facebook post of the visit:

Such a privilege to visit Bella Vita Pregnancy Center in Knox to catch up with its founder & pro-life leader Becky Bailey, Board President Deb Wappel, and Starke County Prosecutor Leslie Baker. The entire Bella Vita Pregnancy Center team is doing amazing work to meet needs in our community and uplift vulnerable women and children.

Walorski had been out for a knee replacement and was trying to catch up with as many constituents as she could, Bailey said. Walorski’s staff had reached out and wanted to come and get an update on what was going on with the center.

“We always just stayed in touch,” Bailey told Pregnancy Help News. “She would visit us whenever she was in the area.”

Among the things they discussed was the latest in Indiana abortion law. The visit preceded by a few days Holcomb’s signing of legislation banning most abortions in the state, which is set to take effect Sept. 15.

Walorski and Bailey also talked about adoption and making it more affordable, Bailey said.

Rep. Jackie Walorski Facebook


“She was just the go-to person, the person that we knew that we could count on for representing life and pregnancy centers,” Bailey said. 

Walorski helped connect Bella Vita with a larger pregnancy center in Elkhart so that the Bella Vita center could take their nurses there to be trained by the Elkhart center’s nurses. 

“She was always helping, even though we were a small center,” said Bailey. “She was connecting us with people she knew to help us get to where we need to be.”

Brown said of Walorski, “She loved the work of pregnancy help centers in Indiana and was appalled about the recent attacks.  

Brown commented as well on Walorski’s recent work to expose the truth about chemical abortion and the risks of those drugs to women. 

“She proclaimed to be pro-life and worked to help Indiana protect our most innocent and vulnerable citizens,” Brown said.

To protect women and children from chemical abortion Walorski introduced the Safeguarding Women’s and Children’s Health Act of 2022 into Congress. 

“While pro-abortion activists make flippant promises about ease and safety, too many of the risks are unknown,” Walorski had said. “To safeguard women’s lives, I am fighting to strengthen transparency at the FDA and ensure that Americans have clear access to the truth.”

Also in this session of Congress, Walorski co-sponsored pro-life legislation including the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2021, and the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, Catholic News Agency reports.

She had also served on the House Committee on Ways and Means and was the ranking member for both the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support and House Ethics Committee.

Tweet This: Rep. Jackie Walorski was a pro-life warrior who loved loved the work of pregnancy help centers in Indiana and who worked to protect life.

In July of this year, Walorski weighed in on pro-abortion measures in Congress and called out House Democrats for their support for taxpayer-funded abortion, stating, “at any time in pregnancy, anywhere in the country, and bankrolled by American Taxpayers. Abortion on demand is a direct affront to pro-life values and Americans’ conscience rights.”

“This radical anti-life agenda goes beyond Roe v. Wade to not only encourage—but also celebrate—abortion and the destruction of life,” she said.

Numerous pro-life groups issued statements upon Walorski’s passing, The Catholic Telegraph reported, citing her “legacy of devotion to the unborn.” 

Roxana Konopinski, executive director of RETA Pregnancy Clinic and Family Resources in Elkhart, expressed how Walorski would be hard to replace. 

“Jackie loved this country, and she was such a patriot and she loved pregnancy center work,” Konopinski. “She loved RETA, she loved the cause we all have, our passion and our mission.”

She noted how Walorski meant it when she said she was there for the pregnancy center. 

“I called her personal cell phone, and she was there for us all the time,” Konopinski said.

“We have a huge void to fill, but God knows that,” Konopinski said. “God knows and has it all planned already.” 

“She was a wonderful person and more than that she was a friend,” Konopinski stated.

A special election will take place to fill Walorski’s seat in Congress on Nov. 8, the same day as the general election, The Indiana Republican Party had caucuses scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, to select candidates for the ballot.

Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.

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