Donald Trump to Talk With Pro-Life Leaders After Controversial Comments on Punishing Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2016   |   12:16PM   |   Washington, DC

After taking multiple positions on whether or not women who have illegal abortions ought to be “punished,” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump today will talk with pro-life leaders representing multiple organizations across the country.

Trump stirred a nationwide controversy by saying women who have potentially illegal abortions should be “punished,” and the subsequently backtracking just hours later to say that abortion bans should target abortion practitioners instead.

Trump then stirred controversy this weekend saying the nation’s abortion laws — which allow virtually unlimited abortions and have resulted in the destruction of 58 million unborn children, should not be changed.

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Then he apparently flip-flopped by saying that his initial answer supporting punishment for women was “not a wrong answer.”

Now, Politico reports that Trump will call into a meeting today of pro-life leaders from across the nation:

Donald Trump is expected to address a gathering of anti-abortion leaders on Wednesday — one week after he set off a firestorm for comments he made on the issue.

Trump is scheduled to speak to the 115 Forum, a conference of abortion foes in Washington that is being organized by Priests for Life, according to two sources familiar with the plans. He is expected to call in to the conference rather than appear in person.

A Trump spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

After the initial comments saying women should be punished, Trump surrogates were doing damage control — also saying he misspoke — 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.

Abortion activists like Hillary Clinton and Planned Parenthood have already seized on the comments to bash pro-life people and many pro-life advocates have said Trump hurt the pro-life cause with his comment and subsequent reversal.

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 and current abortion bans, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women who have abortions.