Trump says “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions, later in the day issues statement saying he wouldn’t punish women

By Dave Andrusko

Donald Trump and Chris Matthews

Donald Trump and Chris Matthews

No media figure has sharper knives than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews so when Donald Trump sat down today to tape a town hall-style meeting with the host of Hardball he could’ve expected Matthews to try to pin him down on issues that to date Mr. Trump has avoided being specific about.

The full program will be aired tonight. But when Trump said (in response to a hypothetical about what he would do if abortion was no longer legal) “there has to be some form of punishment, yeah” for women who have abortions, MSNBC broke in its programming to air a clip from the exchange.

The position of Mr. Trump, a recent pro-life convert, as expressed to Matthews, is diametrically at odds with that of NRLC’s, the leader of the mainstream pro-life Movement.

NRLC’s objective is to save babies, to use legislation to stop abortionists, not punish women. As NRLC President Carol Tobias said today in a statement:

In adopting statutes prohibiting the performance of abortions, National Right to Life has long opposed the imposition of penalties on the woman on whom an abortion is attempted or performed. Rather, penalties should be imposed against any abortionist who would take the life of an unborn child in defiance of statutes prohibiting abortions. National Right to Life-backed state and federal legislation, such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, is targeted at stopping abortionists.

After the clip aired, Mr. Trump’s campaign issued a statement. It read

“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.”