On tap today we have Donald Trump saying definitively that women who obtain abortions should be "punished".
Trump made the incendiary claims during a taping of an MSNBC town hall where host Chris Matthews pressed Trump on his anti-abortion position asking him if "the woman [should] be punished for having an abortion".
Here is a transcript of the salient section of the interview...
MATTHEWS: No, should the woman be punished for having an abortion?
MATTHEWS: This is not something you can dodge.
TRUMP: It’s a -- no, no...
MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished?
TRUMP: Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and Conservative Republicans would say, “yes, they should be punished.”
MATTHEWS: How about you?
TRUMP: I would say that it’s a very serious problem. And it’s a problem that we have to decide on. It’s very hard.
MATTHEWS: But you’re for banning it?
TRUMP: I’m going to say -- well, wait. Are you going to say, put them in jail? Are you -- is that the (inaudible) you’re talking about?
MATTHEWS: Well, no, I’m asking you because you say you want to ban it. What does that mean?
TRUMP: I would -- I am against -- I am pro-life, yes.
MATTHEWS: What is ban -- how do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?
TRUMP: Well, you know, you will go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places
TRUMP: But you have to ban it
MATTHEWS: You banning, they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school.
At this point Trump, feeling the pressure of having to actually give an answer to Mathew's question derails the interview into a debate about the host's Catholic upbringing. It's a grade school diversionary tactic that works only for a few seconds until Mathews snaps the questioning back on track. I left this section in because it gives us a glimpse into Trump's evasion tactics when he doesn't like the way an interview is going and wants to dodge a question.
TRUMP: Are you Catholic?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think...
TRUMP: And how do you feel about the Catholic Church’s position?
MATTHEWS: Well, I accept the teaching authority of my Church on moral issues
TRUMP: I know, but do you know their position on abortion?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I do
TRUMP: And do you concur with the position?
MATTHEWS: I concur with their moral position but legally, I get to the question -- here’s my problem with it...
TRUMP: No, no, but let me ask you, but what do you say about your Church?
MATTHEWS: It’s not funny.
TRUMP: Yes, it’s really not funny
What do you say about your church? They’re very, very strong.
Here is where Mathews realizes what Trump is doing and gets the interview back on track.
MATTHEWS: They’re allowed to -- but the churches make their moral judgments, but you running for president of the United States will be chief executive of the United States. Do you believe...
TRUMP: No, but...
MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment
MATTHEWS: For the woman
TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form
MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?
TRUMP: Let me just tell you -- I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: Why not
TRUMP: I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.
TRUMP: Because I don’t want to
At the end of the segment Mathews tries once again to pin Trump down on just how he would "punish" women who obtain abortions...
MATTHEWS: Can we go back to matters of the law and running for president because matters of law, what I’m talking about, and this is the difficult situation you’ve placed yourself in.
By saying you’re pro-life, you mean you want to ban abortion. How do you ban abortion without some kind of sanction? Then you get in that very tricky question of a sanction, a fine on human life which you call murder?
TRUMP: It will have to be determined.
MATTHEWS: A fine, imprisonment for a young woman who finds herself pregnant?
TRUMP: It will have to be determined.
MATTHEWS: What about the guy that gets her pregnant? Is he responsible under the law for these abortions? Or is he not responsible for an abortion?
TRUMP: Well, it hasn’t -- it hasn’t -- different feelings, different people. I would say no.
So the woman gets punished but the man gets off scott free... Nice.
Here's the video of the exchange...