GOP frontrunner’s comments draw harsh criticism from presidential candidates in both parties
Donald Trump said Wednesday that there would “have to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.
The comment, which will likely do little to curb his problem with women voters, was made during a taping of an MSNBC town hall meeting, which airs Wednesday evening.
Trump’s remarks were deemed so newsworthy that the network released part of the interview before airing the town hall.
Town hall host Chris Matthews pressed Trump on his anti-abortion position, asking him whether abortion should be punished if it is outlawed.
“This is not something you can dodge,” Matthews told Trump.
“Look, people in certain parts of the Republican Party, conservative Republicans, would say, ‘Yes, it should,'” Trump answered.
“How about you?” Matthews asked.
“I would say it’s a very serious problem and it’s a problem we have to decide on. Are you going to send them to jail?” Trump said.
“I’m asking you,” Matthews said.
“I am pro-life,” Trump said.
Asked how a ban would actually work, Trump said, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it,” Trump said.
Matthews then doubled down, asking Trump whether he believes there should be punishment for abortion if it were illegal.
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said.
“For the woman?” Matthews asked.
“Yeah,” Trump finally conceded.
Trump said the punishment would “have to be determined.”
The issue of abortion has become a hot button issue since the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February.
“They’ve set the law and frankly the judges, you’re going to have a very big election coming up for that reason because you have judges where it’s a real tipping point and with the loss of Scalia, who was a very strong conservative, this presidential election is going to be very important,” Trump said.
The comment drew some harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton called Trump’s comments “horrific.”
“Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling,” she said on Twitter.
John Kaisich responded to Trump’s remarks during the taping of his own MSNBC town hall by saying, “Absolutely not.”
The Kasich Town Hall airs at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the Trump Town Hall at 8 p.m. ET.