Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently said that he believes women who get abortions illegally should be punished, but soon after retracted the statement.
ABC News reports that Trump made the controversial statement during a town hall held by MSNBC. In the recording, released by MSNBC before the full coverage of the town hall was released, Trump is repeatedly questioned on whether he believes there should be “some form of punishment” for getting an abortion illegally.
“For the woman?” Trump responds. “Yeah, there has to be some form.” When pressed further on what sort of punishment should be in effect, Trump acknowledged that he did not know and that it would “have to be determined.”
Shortly after Trump made this statement, ABC News reached out to his campaign for clarification.
"This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times,” said the Trump campaign.
Shortly after, Trump’s campaign released another statement, seeming to contradict what he had previously affirmed.
"If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed -- like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions," said Trump.
Although he retracted his original statement, it still drew criticism from abortion supporters and from the Democratic candidates.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards tweeted that Trump “is vocalizing the motivations of every politician who votes to restrict access to abortion. It’s about controlling women.”
Hillary Clinton also condemned Trump’s statement: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling.”
Abortion advocates and Democratic candidates weren’t the only ones to take issue with Trump’s statement, however.
Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund said in a statement, “Mr. Trump’s comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about.”
Publication date: March 31, 2016