(USA TODAY) -- Republican Rep. Joe Walsh told reporters Thursday that it is not necessary to perform an abortion on a woman to save her life.
"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," Walsh said. " 'Health of the mother' has become a tool for abortions anytime, for any reason.
Walsh, a freshman elected in 2010 with Tea Party support, is in a tight battle for re-election against Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a former Veterans Administration official.
The Chicago Tribune said reporters asked if Walsh was saying it is never medically necessary to conduct an abortion to save a woman's life and the congressman responded, "Absolutely."
It's unclear yet whether Walsh's comments will reverberate in the same way as GOP Rep. Todd Akin's on "legitimate rape." Akin has apologized for saying women can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape," but top Republicans have abandoned him as he runs for the U.S. Senate.