Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz says that abortion-minded mothers shouldn’t be charged for killing their unborn children in response to comments from Donald Trump that they should face “some form of punishment”—a remark Trump later recanted.
Trump had been interviewed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall event on Wednesday.
“Do you believe in punishment for abortion—yes or no—as a principle?” Matthews inquired.
“The answer is there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump replied.
“For the woman?” Matthews asked.
“Yeah, there has to be some form,” Trump stated.
“Ten cents, 10 years, what?” Matthews inquired in seeking to obtain specifics.
“That I don’t know,” Trump said.
Following Trump’s remarks, Ted Cruz released a statement excoriating Trump over the idea that mothers should face any type of criminal charges for killing their unborn children.
“Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn’t seriously thought through the issues, and he’ll say anything just to get attention,” he said. “On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother—and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.”
“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women,” Cruz continued. “[W]e should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.”
Professing pro-life groups such as March for Life also condemned Trump for his statements.
“Mr. Trump’s comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion,” said Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. “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.”
But abortion abolitionists expressed concern that professing pro-life Americans would want a mother who hires a man to kill her child to get away with murder.
“An abortionist can only murder a child if the child’s mother gives him the permission and power to do so. Apart from that an abortionist cannot murder a pre-born child. But hey, the pro-life movement thinks that only the abortionist should be punished, but not the woman in whose hands lies the power of life or death for her child,” wrote Abolish Human Abortion on social media.
“Every day the distinction between abolitionists and non-abolitionists becomes clearer and clearer,” it said. “Although we say abortion is murder, we don’t want the mothers actually charged with murder (prolifeism). Abortion IS murder and should be punishable as such (abolitionism).”
Hours later, Trump later released a statement providing clarification, advising that he believes only the abortionist should be punished, not the mother.
“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,” he said.
“The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb,” Trump continued. “My position has not changed—like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”