Trump surrogates are doing damage control for the Republican presidential candidate after he told MSNBC in an interview that women should be punished for having abortions if abortions are someday banned again.
“Should abortion be punished? This is not something you can dodge,” pro-abortion MSNBC host Chris Matthews asked him.
“Look, people in certain parts of the Republican Party, conservative Republicans, would say, ‘Yes, it should,’” Trump responded.
Trump later added that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who get abortions after a ban is implemented, acknowledging the punishment would “have to be determined.”
Trump quickly walked back his statement in two successive statements from his campaign and said his position is that abortion practitioners should be held accountable, not the women involved.
“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 Trump campaign said in the statement just hours later after significant criticism.
Now, Trump’s top surrogate is dismissing the controversy by saying it was a case of “simple misspeak.”
A spokeswoman for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump says the candidate misspoke a day earlier when he called for punishment for women who get abortions under a hypothetical ban.
“It was a complete misspeak during a conversation over a hypothetical concept and there was a clarification issued,” Katrina Pierson told CNN on Thursday morning.
Asked whether the businessman wants abortion to be banned nationwide, Pierson demurred.
“This is a state issue, that’s the point here, these are states’ issues,” she said.
“He is pro-life, and does not support punishing women for having abortions, even if they are illegal,” said Pierson. “That’s why progressive journalists try to use these questions to get Republicans specifically.”
She said she’s not surprised that Republicans are also jumping on Trump over the comment.
“Even the Republican Party establishment have made no secret that they want to stop Donald Trump,” said Pierson. “Of course, they are going to jump on things like this.”
While pro-life advocates yearn for the day when unborn children are protected under law and abortions are banned, the pro-life movement has historically opposed punishing women who have abortions — instead focusing on holding abortion practitioners criminally accountable for the unborn children they kill in abortions.
That pro-woman mentality is partly due to the understanding that the abortion industry preys on women — selling them abortions by lying to them about the humanity of their unborn children and the destructive effects abortion will have. The pro-woman, pro-life attitude is also partly due to the fact that the pro-life movement is led by millions of women who had abortions and now deeply regret their decisions, thanks to a change of heart on abortion, or a religious conversion or a simply understanding that they took the life of their own child.
When abortions were illegal pre-Roe, women were not prosecuted.