After having first called for the punishment of women who have abortions during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Donald Trump reversed his position on the same day. According to ABC News on Wednesday, Trump issued a statement later in the day that described women who have abortions as “victims” and instead called for punishing the doctors who perform the abortions. However, Trump’s statement clarified that his program only would be able to be put into effect if Congress were to make abortion illegal and the courts were to uphold the law.
Trump then compared himself to Ronald Reagan in his statement, stating that like Reagan, he is “pro-life with exceptions” (rape, incest or the “life of the mother.”) When Trump reversed his position, he did not stipulate why he originally called for punishing women who have undergone abortions; although many observers have stated that they believe that Trump simply had not researched the issue of abortion thoroughly nor clearly defined his position on the issue.
Trump’s comments during the MSNBC debate raised the ire of many observers, including that of Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards. Despite what some people may believe, the bulk of the services provided by Planned Parenthood involve pre-natal care, MRI’s, breast cancer screening, and counseling services. A very small percentage of the services provided by Planned Parenthood involve abortions. Richards tweeted this after Trump’s MSNBC interview:
…. Trump is vocalizing the motivations of every politician who votes to restrict access to abortion. It’s about controlling women.”
Bernie Sanders weighed in on Trump’s abortion comments as well with his own tweet:
….Your Republican frontrunner, ladies and gentlemen. Shameful.”