Ed. - In a March 30 interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Trump suggested that if abortion became illegal, "There has to be some form of punishment" (for the women).  Turmp's campaign issued a clarification, but the remarks prompted many reactions. The Cruz campaign noted that the episode "demonstrated that he hasn't seriously thought through the issues."  A CNN headline declared "3 positions on abortion in 3 hours."

Donald J. Trump for President

Donald J. Trump Statement Regarding Abortion

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.

Cruz for President

Cruz Responds to Donald Trump's Comment on Punishing Women Who Seek Abortions

Cruz: "We shouldn't be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world." 

HOUSTON, Texas - Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz issued the following statement in response to Donald Trump stating that if abortions were banned, women should be punished if they get an abortion:
"Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn't seriously thought through the issues, and he'll say anything just to get attention. 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; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world." 

Susan B. Anthony List

SBA List on Trump’s Abortion Comments

In response to Donald Trump’s comments on abortion at today’s MSNBC townhall event with Chris Matthews, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, gave the following reaction: 

“Mattie Brinkerhoff, a leader of the women’s suffrage movement, said that when a woman undergoes an abortion it is evidence she has been ‘greatly wronged.’ The Revolution, the newspaper owned and operated by Susan B. Anthony published an op-ed asserting that, on abortion, “thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.’ Alice Paul was known to have called abortion ‘the ultimate exploitation of women.’

“We have never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo abortion.

“As a convert to the pro-life movement, Mr. Trump sees the reality of the horror of abortion – the destruction of an innocent human life – which is legal in our country up until the moment of birth. But let us be clear: punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another.”

March for Life

No Pro-Life American Advocates Punishment for Abortion

Those Who Choose Abortion Can Consider Paths to Healing, Not Punishment

Washington, D.C. – Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who just last night confirmed that he had “evolved” on the issue of abortion and is now pro-life, managed to upset both pro-lifers and abortion supporters with his comments that women who have abortions should face “some form of punishment” if abortion were to be banned in the United States.

“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. “Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby. Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. 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. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.”

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., began as a small demonstration on January 22, 1974, the first anniversary of the now-infamous Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world.  The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary every year since is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, abortion.

Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund is available for commentary.

NARAL Pro-Choice America

NARAL Statement on Trump's Latest Anti-Choice Comments

"Not only is this an unhinged position far from where the American people are, but it is sure to endanger women were he to become president"

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, released the following statement on Donald Trump’s recent, dangerous, anti-choice remarks:

"Donald Trump hit a new low today in not only towing the anti-choice line that abortion should be outlawed but in proposing that women who seek abortion care should be punished. Not only is this an unhinged position far from where the American people are, but it is sure to endanger women were he to become president.

"Everywhere abortion is illegal, the number of abortions don’t go down. But the number of injuries and deaths go up. It’s appalling that in a week where Trump has blamed the victim of violence at the hands of his campaign manager, he would offer to be the leader to inflict more violence on women whether through forcing us back into the back alley or punishing us for making our own health-care decisions.  

"The worldview Donald Trump promotes is one where women should be shamed and blamed for their decisions. In a country where 7 in 10 Americans support legal abortion, this won't help him win the White House. People believe that women deserve compassion and support when we make decisions about our lives, not punished by a self-appointed dictator over our choices. We are so proud to stand with Hillary Clinton who understands that women’s rights are human rights and always puts women at the center of every conversation. We'll continue fighting for her."

This statement adds to Donald Trump's previous anti-choice statements and policies. See a few below.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all Americans. NARAL works to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

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Correct the Record [pro-Clinton]


Today, Donald Trump brought the Republican primary race to a new low when he proposed “some form of punishment” for women who get abortions. Like many of his other "rapidly changing policy positions," Trump later reversed course on his comments, but the damage had already been done.

Throughout his campaign, Trump has brought his history of misogyny to the national stage--but this isn’t a one-man show. The Party of Trump has two supporting actors: Ted Cruz and John Kasich, who have supported anti-women policies, including a ban on abortion and defunding Planned Parenthood. One thing is clear: the GOP candidates are wrong on women's health and wrong for America.

Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump said women who get abortions should face “some sort of punishment.” [MSNBC, 3/30/16]
  • Donald Trump said that Planned Parenthood was “disgusting and absolutely they should be defunded.” [Washington Times, 7/22/15]
  • Donald Trump: “I am pro-life.” [LifeNews, 4/8/11]
  • Donald Trump suggested that he would support shutting down the federal government in order to defund Planned Parenthood. [New York Times, 8/4/15]
  • Donald Trump said that Planned Parenthood was “like an abortion factory.” [CNN, 8/11/15]

Ted Cruz
  • Ted Cruz opposed abortion even for victims of rape and incest, and referred to birth control pills as “abortion-inducing drugs.” [PBS, 3/23/15]
  • Ted Cruz on contraception: There’s no “rubber shortage in America. …. he told a crowd in Bettendorf, Iowa, during an extended riff on the politics of reproductive health.” [New York Times, 11/30/15]
  • Ted Cruz supported the Life at Conception Act. [Pro Life Alliance, 11/9/12]
  • Ted Cruz supported a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks. [Indianapolis Star, 9/17/14]
  • Ted Cruz was a cosponsor of the Senate version of legislation designed to defund Planned Parenthood. [LifeNews, 1/8/15; S. 51, 1/7/15]
  • Ted Cruz said Planned Parenthood was using “taxpayer funds to murder unborn children” and “profiting from the buying and selling of the body parts of babies.” [Senator Ted Cruz press release, 8/3/15]
  • Ted Cruz called Planned Parenthood an “ongoing criminal enterprise.” [Mother Jones, 9/16/15]
  • Ted Cruz said he would open an investigation into Planned Parenthood on his first day as president. [CSPAN, 9/29/15]

John Kasich
  • John Kasich signed into law a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. [Huffington Post, 7/21/11]
  • John Kasich signed into law a bill that enacted strict abortion restrictions, including mandatory ultrasounds. [Washington Post, 7/1/13]
  • John Kasich said he would sign a bill that would ban abortion “if the reason for the procedure is because the child would have Down syndrome.”[CNN, 9/19/15]
  • John Kasich: “Fight like crazy to defund Planned Parenthood.”[Newsmax, 9/28/15]
  • John Kasich signed legislation essentially cutting off Planned Parenthood from $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars. [Columbus Dispatch, 7/1/13]