Tea party-backed Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) suggested on Thursday that exceptions to abortion bans were not necessary to protect the mother's health because science had advanced to the point that pregnant women can't die.

In their final debate before the November election, Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth noted that Walsh did not support "exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother" and he "would let a woman die rather than give a doctor the option to save her life."

"That's not fair," Walsh complained.

Following the debate, the Illinois Republican told reporters that abortion was "absolutely" never medically necessary to save the life of the mother because "with modern technology and science, you can't find one instance," according to WGN.

"This is an exception that opponents of life through out there to make us look unreasonable," Walsh explained. "There's no such exception as life of the mother. And as far as health of the mother, same thing. With advances in science and technology -- health of the mother has become a tool for abortion for any time under any reason."

Statistics released by the United Nations in 2010 indicated that the United States ranked 50th in the world for maternal deaths.

Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) campaign for U.S. Senate was also recently set back when he wrongly claimed that science prevented women from getting pregnant from "legitimate rape."

Following Akin's anti-scientific remarks, Walsh lashed out at members of his own party who he said had refused to "stand up" for the Missouri Republican.

“What he said was offensive, insulting and wrong, but I’m bothered by this rush to pile on,” Walsh opined. “And I’m bothered by the silence of members of our own party to stand up for him.”

A September PPP survey indicated that Duckworth had a 14 point lead over Walsh, but a more recent We Ask America poll gave the Republican a 1 point advantage.

Update: Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens sent the following email statement: “Joe Walsh’s ignorance about women’s health is alarming.  It is deeply troubling that he and some politicians have such a fundamental disregard for women and women’s health.  As the advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers, we know that ending a pregnancy can often be a very complex, personal decision and that there are absolutely times that a woman’s life depends on it."

“If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are elected, these ignorant statements will be more than words – they would become law.  Joe Walsh and the Tea Party Congress are ready to completely ban abortion, and Mitt Romney has said that he ‘would be delighted’ to sign an abortion ban into law. The Romney/Ryan ticket has promised that they would put women’s personal medical decisions in the hands of politicians like Joe Walsh and Todd Akin.”

Watch this video from WGN, broadcast Oct. 18, 2012.

(h/t: The Huffington Post)