Congressman Joe Walsh Is the Latest Republican to Say Ridiculous Thing About Abortion

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Legitimate health of the mother? Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Corbis

Turn the "Republican Congressman Saying Ridiculous Thing About Abortion" sign back to zero! During a debate last night, incumbent Illinois congressman Joe Walsh declared that he's against abortion rights without exception, including life of the mother, a position on which elaborated later:

Asked by reporters after the debate if he was saying that it’s never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save the life of a mother, Walsh responded, “Absolutely.”

“With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance,” he said. “... There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.”

Needless to say, Walsh's claim is as false as a giant crate of false teeth manufactured by False Teeth Incorporated. Ectopic pregnancies are but one example of a condition that may require an abortion to save the mother's life. Such a pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself somewhere outside of the uterus — usually, in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are often aborted because, if they're not, the mother can die. From the CDC:

Between 1980 and 2007, 876 deaths were attributed to ectopic pregnancy. The ectopic pregnancy mortality ratio declined by 56.6%, from 1.15 to 0.50 deaths per 100,000 live births between 1980-1984 and 2003-2007; at the current average annual rate of decline, this ratio will further decrease by 28.5% to 0.36 ectopic pregnancy deaths per 100,000 live births by 2013-2017. The ectopic pregnancy mortality ratio was 6.8 times higher for African Americans than whites and 3.5 times higher for women older than 35 years than those younger than 25 years during 2003-2007.

We're sure Congressman Walsh would have Googled this information if he wasn't too busy berating his constituents and denigrating his opponent's war heroics —  time-consuming activities, both.