The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 10/19/12, 8:00 PM ET

Rep. Walsh: No abortion exceptions for the life of the mother

In Illinois, the war over women is being fought by a woman with combat experience, Democratic congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth who is running against Republican Rep. Joe Walsh. Walsh said there was no need for an exceptions on an abortion ban,...

Tammy Duckworth: Rep. Walsh ‘taking biology lessons from Todd Akin’

Updated

Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran running for a congressional seat in Illinois’ 8th district, responded to opponent Rep. Joe Walsh’s controversial commentson abortion rights.

“I think he’s taking biology lessons from Todd Akin,” the Purple Heart recipient told msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell during an appearance on The Last Word.

Walsh falsely claimed women do not die from pregnancies because of “advances in science and technology” and the exception for the life of the mother has become “a tool for abortions at any time under any reason.”

During a press conference on Friday, the anti-abortion incumbent somewhat walked back his original statement:

“When it comes to having an abortion to save the life of the mother, I will say again that outside of the very rare circumstances, such as ectopic pregnancies, during which both the mother and baby will die if the baby is not aborted, and other rare health issues and circumstances, the research is pretty clear that with the advances in modern medicine an invasive and traumatic procedure like abortion is often, thankfully, not necessary to save the life of a mother.”


Duckworth, who calls herself pro-choice without restrictions, said at Thursday’s debate that her opponent “would let a woman die rather than give the doctor the option to save her life.”

Following Walsh’s comments, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement on death rates during pregnancies. “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. These inaccurate comments are yet another reason why The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (The College) message to politicians is unequivocal: Get out of our exam rooms.”

On Friday, Duckworth also responded to Walsh confronting her in the first debate over her picking out clothes for the Democratic National Convention. Duckworth said, “He’s a very sexist kind of a guy. He’s called me ‘dear,’ offered to hold my hand, he’s grabbed me during debates, pokes me, and he was just saying that I was more concerned picking out the outfits that I’m going to wear rather than concentrating on the issues.”

Tammy Duckworth: Rep. Walsh 'taking biology lessons from Todd Akin'

Updated