Donald Trump Says Abortion Ban Should Include ‘Some Form of Punishment’ for Women, Then Backtracks

On Wednesday, March 30, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said that there should be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions if the procedure is to be banned in the United States, as he feels it should be.

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, January 18, 2016.
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, January 18, 2016. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

During a town hall meeting with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, the GOP front-runner, 69, was questioned about his stance on abortion. When pressed on whether he believes there should be a punishment for abortion, Trump initially gave a vague answer. “It’s a very serious problem and it’s a problem we have to decide on,” he said.

He then turned it on Matthews, 70, asking him: “Are you going to say, well wait, are you going to say put them in jail? Is that the punishment you’re talking about?”

When Matthews explained to Trump that that was indeed the question, the business mogul stated: “We have to ban abortion,” and eventually declared, “There has to be some form of punishment.”

The political commentator pushed Trump to clarify if he was speaking about women specifically, to which the former Celebrity Apprentice star plainly responded, “Yeah.”

Asked if he thinks a woman seeking out a hypothetically illegal abortion should be sentenced to 10 days or 10 years in jail, Trump skated around the question and said he didn’t know.

Trump has since released a statement backtracking on his original comments. “This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.”

Trump’s interview with Matthews is set to air tonight on Hardball With Chris Matthews on MSNBC at 7 p.m. ET. 

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