Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois Insists That There Is Never Any Need for an Abortion to Save a Pregnant Woman’s Life Because of Advances in Science and Technology

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Is there a Republican war on women? Paul Ryan, the GOP candidate for vice president, mocked the idea of any such thing when he made the following comment at a private fundraiser in Florida last week: “Now it’s a war on women; tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something like that.”

Ryan may think his party’s “war” on women is a topic of humor…something to be derided. He may perceive things like a woman’s right to determine what is best for her own health and well being differently from the way many of us of women do. After all, Ryan did cosponsor personhood, ultrasound, and “Let Women Die” legislation. He also supported the Blunt Amendment.

Ryan is not the only Republican politician who has brought his party’s comments and positions on women’s issues under scrutiny. Not long ago, Todd Akin, a senate candidate from Missouri, was skewered by the media when he made a claim that women who are victims of “legitimate” rape can’t get pregnant. And just last week, a comment made by Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois about abortion brought the whole issue of the Republicans’ anti-woman attitude into the limelight once again. After Walsh’s debate with Democrat Tammy Duckworth the other night, he claimed that there is never any reason for a woman to have an abortion—even to protect her health or save her life.

Walsh said—and I quote: “There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing, with advances in science and technology. Health of the mother has become a tool for abortions any time, under any reason.”

There you have it…straight from the mouth of Rep. Joe Walsh:  Women today can never suffer any adverse effects of a pregnancy or die from complications of pregnancy because of “advances in science and technology.” Unfortunately, Walsh never mentioned what those scientific and technological advances might be.

It appears that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists may not be aware of all the newest scientific and technological advances that Rep. Walsh spoke of. That’s probably why the organization said that remarks like his are one of the reasons why it feels politicians need to “get out of our exam rooms.”

The organization said:
“Contrary to the inaccurate statements made yesterday by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), abortions are necessary in a number of circumstances to save the life of a woman or to preserve her health. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not a risk-free life event, particularly for many women with chronic medical conditions. Despite all of our medical advances, more than 600 women die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related reasons right here in the US. In fact, many more women would die each year if they did not have access to abortion to protect their health or to save their lives.”

It seems there are others in the medical community who are also unaware of those scientific advances. Mark I. Evans, president of the Fetal Medicine Foundation of America and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said that Walsh’s claim was “absolute nonsense. This is scientific and political malpractice.” Lawrence Pratt, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles and the director of the Center for Fetal Medicine and Women’s Ultrasound, said that abortions can save the lives of pregnant women who suffer from different medical conditions—including an ectopic pregnancy, “in which a fetus develops outside of the normal location in the womb and can cause the uterus or tube to rupture, leading women to bleed to death.” He added that pregnancy can also “worsen the conditions of women suffering from heart, lung and kidney diseases, among others, that can lead to death.”

Dr. Carrie Terrell, an ob-gyn and chief of staff at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, said that there “are innumerable potential instances wherein a termination of pregnancy would be indicated to save a woman’s life.” She added that some of those “instances” included such serious conditions as the following:

• chorioamnionitis in pre-viable pre-term premature rupture of membranes (a bacteria-related inflammation of the fetal membranes),
 • severe pre-eclampsia and other hypertensive (high blood pressure) disorders,
• certain forms of cardiomyopathy (a disease that weakens and enlarges the heart),
• various maternal cardiac and pulmonary anomalies,
 • severe nephrosis,
• severe cancers,
• infections with sepsis, and
• multi-organ failure.

Terrell also said that “she sees pregnant women with these kinds of conditions several times a year”—and that in some cases the women who choose not to terminate their pregnancies “die as a result.”

I’ve been trying to figure out if politicians like Todd Akin and Joe Walsh really believe the things that they say about women, rape, pregnancy, and abortion—or if they are just attempting to tell their constituents what they think they want to hear. What do you think?

From CBS News–Walsh backtracks: Abortion to save a mother’s life is up to her


Joe Walsh On Abortion: No Exception For ‘Life Of The Mother’ Thanks To ‘Advances In Science And Technology’ (Huffington Post)

Walsh, Duckworth clash on Medicare, abortion (WGN Radio)

Paul Ryan Mocks ‘War On Women’ At Private Fundraiser (Huffington Post)

Rep. Joe Walsh: “Not one instance” where abortion necessary to save woman’s life (CBS News)

Rep. Walsh Says No Need for Abortion to Save Mother’s Life (ABC News)

Congressman Walsh Says Abortion Not Needed to Save Lives (Business Week)

Rep. Joe Walsh’s abortion comment is stunning in its ignorance (MinnPost)

61 thoughts on “Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois Insists That There Is Never Any Need for an Abortion to Save a Pregnant Woman’s Life Because of Advances in Science and Technology

  1. “Both Todd Akin and Paul Broun are supposedly well-educated too. I guess that hasn’t stopped them from saying and believing stupid crazy stuff.”

    Guess that depends on what you learned before you bought your college diploma.

    Bpth seem to be biological wonders. Surviving
    without a brain (each although) and only a big mouth!!

  2. “So is Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., who identified colleagues in Congress’ Progressive Caucus as “communists.””

    I think former Congressman Grayson will be pleased to nnote that he has been labeled a communist.
    He thoiught that his only fault is that he hate(d) the Republican Death Plan, sorry health plan.

    So do all living, except Republicans, but they died years ago—-mentally.

    Any Republicans here? Fess up. Come on, there must be at least one supporter of Walsh!

  3. GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Calls Rape Pregnancies A ‘Gift From God’
    By Ian Millhiser
    Oct 23, 2012

    At a debate this evening with his Democratic opponent Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock claimed that raped women should be forced to carry their rapist’s baby to term because their forced pregnancy is a “gift from God”:

    “I believe life begins at conception. The only exception I have for to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

  4. “I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

    Because sometimes God is just a cruel spiteful child who thinks it’s funny to follow a brutal sexual attack by forcing a woman to carry to term and preferably raise an ever present reminder of her ordeal and her attacker. You see, God is just like a budding sociopathic kid with an ant farm and a magnifying glass. Your suffering is funny as long as it brings an unwanted foetus to term.

    That sure sounds like a kind and benevolent God to me. God is love. Love of a cruel unjust prank that is.

  5. “I believe that having insane right-wing candidates piss away the natural GOP Senate majority is part of God’s perfect plan. ” Jonathon Chait

  6. DE-StSen-19] Delaware Indicts Top Republican by kavips – 2010 not-a-witch Christine O’Donnell gave a ringing endorsement to Eric Bodenweiser (R-Teabagger) for the State Senate 19th district seat. Unfortunately Bodenweiser was indicted Monday on 113 counts of child molestation and is in jail, not making campaign appearances. Jane Hovington (D) is now the only candidate on the stickered-over ballot.

    • If the progeny of a rape is a gift from God, then the rapist was doing God ‘s work and shouldn’t be prosecuted. Now of course if you commit a rape and no pregnancy results, then you should be prosecuted because you failed God’s mission.

  7. Romney is endorsing Mourdock:

    Romney Stars in Ad For Candidate Who Says Medicare And Social Security Are Unconstitutional
    By Rebecca Leber on Oct 22, 2012

    For the first time this election, Mitt Romney is starring in a campaign ad on behalf of another Republican candidate. Romney’s candidate of choice is none other than Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party favorite in a tight race for a Senate seat, who says things like Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional.

    Romney has stumped for Mourdock before, saying “This is a man that I want to see in Washington” to “actually have the votes to get things changed.” He doubles down on his endorsement with the latest ad:

    “This fall I’m supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate. As state treasurer, Richard worked with Gov. Daniels to balance the budget and make government more accountable. As senator, Richard will be the 51st vote to repeal and replace government-run healthcare. Richard will help stop the liberal Reid-Pelosi agenda. There’s so much at stake. I hope you’ll join me in supporting Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate.”

  8. rafflaw,

    Mike’s theory is an interesting one–for sure. I wonder how many more of these “rape” and “ladyparts” nutcases haven’t crawled out from under the woodwork yet.

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