In news from the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has sparked widespread outrage by saying women should be “punished” for having abortions if the procedure were to become illegal. Donald Trump has advocated for banning abortions. This is Donald Trump speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall aired Wednesday night.
Chris Matthews: “Should abortion be punished?”
Donald Trump: “Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and conservative Republicans would say, yes, they should be punished.”
Chris Matthews: “How about you?”
Donald Trump: “I would say that it’s a very serious problem. And it’s a problem that we have to decide on.”
Chris Matthews: “Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?”
Donald Trump: “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.”
Chris Matthews: “For the woman?”
Donald Trump: “Yeah, there has to be some form.”
Chris Matthews: “Ten cents? Ten years? What?”
Donald Trump: “Let me just tell you—I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.”
Chris Matthews: “Why not?”
Donald Trump: “I don’t know.”
Chris Matthews: “You take positions on everything else.”
Donald Trump: “Because I don’t want to—I—frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.”
The comments drew immediate backlash from other presidential hopefuls, an array of women’s groups and even some anti-choice groups. NARAL, the nation’s oldest pro-choice group, called the statement “horrifying.” The anti-choice group March for Life said Donald Trump was “completely out of touch with the pro-life movement.” All the other presidential candidates responded to Trump’s statements. Ohio Governor John Kasich told MSNBC, “Of course, women shouldn’t be punished for having an abortion.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz did not reject the proposal, but said Trump would “say anything just to get attention.” On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “What he said today is among the most dangerous and outrageous statements that I’ve heard anybody running for president say in a really long time.” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said, “To punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension.” Following the backlash, Donald Trump attempted to walk back his comments by saying that if abortions are banned, then it should be doctors who perform the procedure who should be prosecuted, not the patients.