On Wednesday, Donald Trump said, out loud, that abortion should be banned and women who have the outlawed procedure in Trump’s America should be punished. We know he said this because he also said it on television, speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said after being pressed by Matthews about the consequences of outlawing abortion. It was a policy proposal well outside of the mainstream, even for anti-abortion proponents, who generally support squeezing the doctor or practitioner performing the procedure. Three hours after the interview Trump announced, in writing, that on second thought he disagreed with himself, the doctor is the one who should be held legally responsible, not the woman.
The full statement:
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.
The “[m]y position has not changed” line should be read accompanied by a Jedi-like hand wave.