Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

In an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP front-runner described himself multiple times as "pro-life" but struggled to define what the legal ramifications of that position should be. When continually pressed for what the answer is regarding punishing women who would break any theoretical ban, Trump said the "answer is that there has to be some form of punishment, yeah." (Image: via MSNBC)

Burn Them at the Stake? Trump Wants 'Punishment’ for Women Who Have Abortions

Proving GOP bona fides, Trump endorses federal ban on abortion

Jon Queally

In a televised interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said that for women who would ignore a theoretical ban on abortion there would have to be "some form of punishment, yeah."

"Perhaps burning at the stake?" —Rewire

Speaking with Chris Matthews, who pressed the candidate on how he would enforce a nationwide ban on abortion, Trump said, "I'm pro-life, yes" and "[abortion] is a big problem." Asked by Matthews to explain how it would be done, Trump continued, "You could go back to a position like they had where people will, perhaps, go to illegal places — but you have to ban it."

The full town-hall style forum will air Wednesday evening on MSNBC.

Watch:

Though reports indicated his chief Republican rival Ted Cruz responded by questioning Trump's claim that he is an authentic "pro-life" candidate, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton slammed Trump's remarks.

Though perhaps not surprised, given his record of misogyny and hateful rhetoric, reproductive and women's rights advocates were not about to let Trump's latest comments go without response:

In a statement to Politico, Marge Baker, executive director of the People for the American Way, described Trump's comment about women as an "absolutely abhorrent" position to take.

"Criminalizing abortion would endanger the lives of women — it’s ... unthinkable, and shows just how much is at stake in the November elections," Baker stated. "The fact of the matter, though, is that all of the Republican presidential candidates would like to criminalize abortion — Trump is no outlier on this.”

Following the fierce backlash against what he said during his interview with Matthews, the Trump campaign attempted a (rare) walk-back of the comments by releasing a clarifying statement about his position on abortion.

"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," Trump stated, "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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Judge Blocks Biden From Continuing 'Inhumane' Trump Policy to Deport Families

"This is not the end of the battle against this practice," said one rights group, "but it is a major step to ensure that the U.S. welcomes these asylum-seeking families—as we should."

Jessica Corbett ·


400+ Economists Press Congress to Permanently Expand Child Tax Credit

Such an expansion would "dramatically reduce childhood poverty in the United States," they said.

Andrea Germanos ·


Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass 'Imperiled' Polar Bears

"We're hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Cruel and Callous': Biden Slammed for Resuming Deportations to Battered Haiti

"Hours after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, President Joe Biden released a statement saying that the United States was a 'friend' of Haiti. A 'friend' does not continuously inflict pain on another friend," said Guerline Jozef of the Haitian Bridge Alliance.

Kenny Stancil ·


Indian Civil Society Groups to Biden: Force J&J to Share Vaccine Recipe With the World

"His administration has the moral, legal, and if necessary, financial power to lift intellectual property barriers and persuade J&J to license its vaccine."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo