How Donald Trump's Abortion Statement Actually Aligns With U.S. History

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tags: abortion, election 2016, Trump



Donald Trump stirred controversy on Wednesday when he said in an interviewwith MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions, were the procedure banned. As Matthews pressed the candidate to explain his specific views, which he summed up as “pro-life,” Trump elaborated that he also did not believe a man whose partner sought an abortion should be held legally liable.

The remarks immediately elicited reaction from politicians and activists on both sides of the debate. Anti-abortion conservatives distanced themselves. As Trump’s rival John Kasich put it, “of course, women shouldn’t be punished” for having an abortion. Current mainstream anti-abortion viewstend to advocate for legal punishments for abortion providers, rather than for women, who are often referred to as victims of the crime rather than perpetrators. After the interview, Trump quickly issued a statement walking back his earlier remarks, clarifying that “the woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb” and that the provider would “be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

Anti-abortion advocacy groups sometimes claim that a legal stance sympathetic to women who seek abortions is a historically accurate version of the way abortion was treated prior to Roe v. Wade. But the real history of criminalized abortion is a little more complicated.




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