Republican Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois said after his Thursday debate against Democratic rival Tammy Duckworth that abortions are never necessary to save a pregnant woman's life, because modern technology has eliminated the risks of childbearing.
Walsh was defending his position that abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions, which is also the Republican Party's official stance on the issue.
"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance" of a pregnant woman's life being at risk, he told reporters after the debate. "There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing." He added that "advances in science and technology" meant that abortion is never necessary for the health of a mother.
Walsh, a freshman Congressman, is seen as "likely" to lose his seat to Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War, in part because his redrawn district now includes more Democrats than when he ran two years ago.
In August, Republican Senate candidate and sitting Congressman from Missouri Todd Akin told a reporter that he didn't support exceptions for abortion for rape because women's bodies have a mechanism to prevent pregnancy in the case of a "legitimate rape." Mitt Romney and many national Republican politicians quickly distanced themselves from Akin and his comment. Romney has said he supports abortion exceptions in the cases of rape and the mother's health.
Update: According to The Chicago Daily Herald's Kerry Lester, Walsh said in a press conference Friday that he believes ectopic pregnancies can result in death, but did not take questions about whether he would make abortion exceptions in those cases.