Even With Clarification, Trump's Abortion Views Still Punish Women
Remember that time a few months ago when your family was sitting around the dinner table for Thanksgiving and your crazy relative decided now was the absolute best time to make a comment about abortions? Take away the dinner table and replace it with national television, and you’ve got the latest episode of “Donald Trump Says the Darndest Things.” During the MSNBC Town Hall with Chris Matthews, Trump said out loud, in front of millions of viewers, that abortions should be illegal and that the women who get them should be punished. It was a definitive answer.
In the aftermath, everyone has spoken out against the incendiary comment—even Donald Trump has released a statement condemning his own viewpoint. Three hours after he said that women should be punished, he changed his mind and said this:
“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 thing about saying your position has not changed in a presidential race in 2016 is that, aside from Ten Second Tom from 50 First Dates, we have the capacity to remember things that happened hours ago. Even if we do forget, we have Google. A quick search for Trump’s thoughts on abortion will show not only that he switched positions yesterday within hours of making the original comment, but also that he used to be “pro-choice in every respect” in a 1999 interview. It’s the latest in a number of positions that he shifted dramatically on to court the socially conservative voters he needs to win the nomination.
Unfortunately, his plan to be the ultimate conservative has now backfired dramatically. Three of the leading anti-abortion groups in America released harsh statements criticizing Trump. “No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about,” read a press release from the March for Life. Republicans and Democrats came together in a rare moment of unity to condemn the idea of punishing women—though it should be noted that the GOP is still staunchly anti-abortion.
We shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and gift to bring life into the world https://t.co/OwWR96YTF0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 30, 2016
"Donald Trump is not ready to be Commander in Chief." pic.twitter.com/XR3vX4Nl4v
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) March 31, 2016
It’s good to see such a public outcry against Trump. But even with his revised statement on the issue, it still falls in line with the war on women that the Republican Party has been waging for years. Trump may have quickly switched his position on punishing women criminally, but women are still being punished every day when they make the decision to get abortions. From Texas to Planned Parenthood, Republicans have fought back against pro-choice legislation whenever possible. Trump can make whatever statement he wants about who should be punished, and Cruz and Kasich can issue statements against him, but they’re all a bad choice for women.
Images via The New Republic, NY Mag, and AP.
Stay tuned to Milk for more presidential candidate flip-flopping.