WASHINGTON, D.C., March 31, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – All Republican presidential candidates secretly want to prosecute women who have abortions, Hillary Clinton has said.
“Now maybe they aren’t quite as open about it as Donald Trump was earlier today, but they all have the same position,” she told CNN's Anderson Cooper last night. “If you make abortion a crime — you make it illegal — then you make women and doctors criminals.”
Her statements came after the GOP presidential frontrunner responded to aggressive questioning from Chris Matthews over whether he believed abortion should be illegal. Trump ultimately said that it should, and agreed that women who procure an abortion should face “some form of punishment” under the law.
Following his MSNBC interview, Clinton tweeted:
Remember: If you make abortion a crime, you make women who seek abortions criminals. You put one in three women at risk.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 30, 2016
His campaign later put out a statement saying that “the doctor…would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb.” Trump's spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, told CNN that the initial comment was “complete misspeak during a conversation over a hypothetical concept.”
The idea that post-abortive women deserve punishment outraged many pro-life leaders, who emphasize that the mother is the second victim in an abortion. Americans United for Life highlighted that it was not common for states to prosecute women for having an abortion before Roe v. Wade.
Trump's answer caused even those who are close to his campaign a few moments pause. Governor Mike Huckabee, who has not endorsed but frequently defended Donald Trump, said the Hardball comment “was a terrible answer.”
“Even in his answer he was fumbling around, trying to figure out what to say,” he said.
Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom have endorsed Trump for president, defended his campaign for ultimately setting the record straight.
Some believe the billionaire's habit of shooting from the hip may cost him the 2016 presidential race. “This election is Trump's to lose,” said Kristin Tate, a political columnist and author. “He polls very well with men but needs to gain ground with women and young people – many of whom are scared by Trump due to what they see in the media.”
“His recent comments about abortion will be especially harmful to Trump if he wins the GOP nomination and needs to run against Hillary Clinton,” she said. “Trump will be perceived as insensitive and out of touch if he keeps up this rhetoric.”
But Gov. Huckabee says Wednesday's rhetorical misfire will not seriously hurt Trump in November. “If you talk to people in line at the grocery story and you talk to people at a restaurant, and you go up and down the streets, they are not talking about the little nuances of what a candidate says,” Gov. Huckabee said on this morning's “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC. “I thought all those issues through and I was ready for every one of the questions you are talking about – but today I’m sitting in a chair as an unemployed ex-candidate talking to you about a guy who didn’t think them through who is the frontrunner.”
But the fact that he is now the leading candidate for the GOP presidential nomination means that Mr. Trump must coalesce the party around himself by learning the pro-life movement's authentic views of children and mothers, according to social conservatives.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that the initial misstatement indicates that Mr. Trump “should spend more time with pro-life conservatives to gain a better appreciation of what their goals and objectives really are.”