With all the certainty of a graying obstetrician, Scott Walker declared that the question of aborting a pregnancy to save a woman's life is a hypothetical that doesn't need discussing, because it’s a situation that just never happens.
"It's a false choice," said Walker. "There's always a better option out there. I've said for years, medically, there's always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother, so that's just a false choice out there. That's my point. There's always better choices out there. Medically, that's just a non-issue."
Meet Cecily Kellogg.
In 2004, during her second trimester, her pregnancy with twins suddenly went horribly off the rails with severe pre-eclamsia.
"I was in advanced kidney failure. My blood pressure was skyrocketing, and it could not be controlled with medications. My liver was beginning to decline," Kellogg wrote in a 2009 op-ed. "The horrific headache I was experiencing could no longer be treated with pain medications because they were afraid it would depress my ability to breathe when I began to have the seizures they expected at any moment. I would soon likely suffer a stroke or a heart attack. In other words, I was going to die unless the pregnancy was terminated. Immediately."
In what she calls "the worst day of my life," Kellogg agreed to abort her pregnancy after a team of doctors told her that one twin had already died and the other was too tiny and frail to survive.
In other words, the only choice for Kellogg was to die with her remaining son or live.
As you can imagine, when I contacted Kellogg she was stunned by Walker's "false choice" comments.
"There is no treatment for pre-eclampsia other than ending the pregnancy," she explained. "Because I was so sick a medical termination was the only option. My doctor stated it this way, 'it was me and my sons, or just my sons.' It was a horrible and agonizing decision. I grieve their loss to this day. But without that life-saving procedure, I wouldn't have my brilliant and amazing daughter now."
"Until Scott Walker goes to medical school, he can at least learn to listen to the stories of women like me and medical professionals who know more about it than he does," Kellogg added. "When I hear him discuss my life in that casual way, as if I have less value than my children, I want to smack some sense into him."
Kellogg's experience is similar to that described by the Preeclamsa Foundation's medical board, which states on its website, "Once the course of pre-eclampsia has begun, it cannot be reversed and the health of the mother must be constantly weighed against the health of the baby. In some cases, the baby must be delivered immediately, regardless of gestational age, to save the mother's or baby's life."
According to the foundation, pre-eclamsia and the resulting eclamsia cause 76,000 pregnant women to die every year.
If nominated for president, Walker would be the first major party candidate to not allow abortion in any circumstances.
In addition to opposing exceptions for health and life of the mother, Walker has also opposed exceptions for rape and incest and has supported pharmacists and employers who take the position that traditional birth control pills are "abortifacients" that also should be banned.