Like Todd "legitimate rape" Akin, Illinois Republican Joe Walsh seems to have mixed up his facts about abortion. "With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance" of a woman being saved by a terminated pregnancy, he said in a debate with his Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth. Unfortunately, modern medicine has not reached science fiction levels and the Twittersphere is predictably aflame over the statements. But one group of users calling Walsh out for his unfounded beliefs is of particular interest: real doctors. OB/GYN and health journalist Jennifer Gunter calls Walsh's statements "a lie," writing:
The treatment of chorioamnionitis for a pre viable pregnancy is delivery (i.e. abortion) cc @repjoewalsh— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) October 19, 2012
Maternal health nonprofit Save the Mothers estimates that 15 percent of expectant women worldwide develop potentially fatal pregnancy complications. The Preeclampsia Foundation cites 76,000 as the number of mothers who die every year from HELLP syndrome and eclampsia.
Walsh remains staunchly against abortion, "without exception." Rape, incest, medical emergencies—none of these are reasons to abort a fetus to Walsh, who thinks these "medical emergencies" are a made-up ploy to smear the radical pro-life agenda, anyway. "This is an issue that opponents of life throw out there to make us look unreasonable," he said in a press conference following the debate. "There's no such exception as life of the mother. And as far as health of the mother, same thing."
Walsh's statements come with a long history of trolling. He previously angled for headlines by saying that Duckworth, who lost her legs serving in Iraq, was not a military hero. He's also known for making sweeping, racially charged statements about minorities, once charging the Democratic Party with trying to hook Hispanics "on government just like they got African-Americans dependent on government." Duckworth had a 14 point lead against Walsh in late September, but Walsh has been gaining on her steadily in past weeks.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.