Congressman claims abortion never necessary to save lives

AFP Photo / Mladen Antonov
Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh said during a fierce congressional debate that abortions are never necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.

­“With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” that abortions are necessary to save lives, the Republican congressman told reporters after the Thursday night debate against Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth.

The congressman, who is a Tea Party favorite, in turn faced a firestorm of opposition.

“Walsh’s comments have no grounding in science and are completely inaccurate,” Dr. Cassing Hammond, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, told the Chicago Tribune.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in response stated that 600 women die annually in the US from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth. The group told politicians to “get out of our exam rooms.”

Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, told the Tribune that politicians like Walsh view “women as some kind of Tupperware container that holds the fetus for nine months.”

“I am flabbergasted that he is that out of touch with science,” said Duckworth, the congressman’s Democratic opponent.

Even the National Right to Life Committee, which normally opposes abortion, said it supports the procedure “if it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother.”

Walsh’s comments come two months after Republican Senate candidate and sitting Missouri Congressman, Todd Akin, told a reporter that women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” Akin claimed that women’s bodies have a mechanism that prevent pregnancy in situations as traumatizing as rape. The claim had no scientific basis and sparked nationwide outrage as other Republicans distanced themselves from Akin’s stance.