Donald Trump, Part-Time Abortion Foe, Eyes ‘Punishment’ for Women, Then Recants
Donald J. Trump said that women who seek abortions should be subject to “some form of punishment” if the procedure is banned in the United States, further elevating Republican concerns that his explosive remarks about women could doom the party in the fall.
The comment, which Mr. Trump later recanted, attracted instant, bipartisan criticism — the latest in a series of high-profile episodes that have shined a light on Mr. Trump’s feeble approval ratings among women nationally.
In this case, Mr. Trump also ran afoul of conservative doctrine, with opponents of abortion rights immediately castigating him for suggesting that those who receive abortions — and not merely those who perform them — should be punished if the practice is outlawed.
The statement came as Mr. Trump appeared at a town-hall-style forum with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, recorded for broadcast on Wednesday night. Mr. Matthews pressed Mr. Trump, who once supported abortion rights, on his calls to ban the procedure, asking how he might enforce such a restriction.
“You go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places,” Mr. Trump said, after initially deflecting questions. “But you have to ban it.”
He added, after a bit more prodding, “There has to be some form of punishment.”
Hours later, Mr. Trump recanted his remarks, essentially in full, a rare and remarkable shift for a candidate who proudly extols his unwillingness to apologize or bow to “political correctness.”
If abortion were disallowed, he said in a statement, “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,” he continued.
Donald Trump manged to anger literally every single person in the abortion debate. He upset the pro-choicers by being pro-life and his misogynistic stance to blame the woman, he upset some pro-lifers for going too far, and finally he upset the other pro-lifers for not going far enough.
Bravo, sir. Bravo.
This isn’t the first time Donald Trump flip-flopped on the abortion issue. For example in 1999 he told Meet the Press he was “very pro-choice“.