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Donald Trump: Women Who Get Abortions Should Be ‘Punished’

Trump Debate

Donald Trump says that women who seek abortions should be punished, a position that is earning him criticism from even the most strident pro-life conservatives:

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Donald Trump believes that there should be punishment for women who undergo abortions if the procedure was outlawed, but indicated he has yet to determine what that punishment should be.

In an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the GOP front-runner described himself multiple times as “pro-life” but struggled to define what the legal ramifications of that position should be. When continually pressed for what the answer is regarding punishing women who would break any theoretical ban, Trump said the “answer is that there has to be some form of punishment, yeah.”

When asked what kind of punishment he had in mind, Trump lacked specifics and said he has “not determined what the punishment would be.” Trump noted that he does “take positions on everything else but this is a very complicated position.”

“If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law,” Matthews stated, making the pivot from the moral position of being pro-life to the practical implications of implementing that position in the law.

Trump asked Matthews “are you going to say, well wait, are you going to say put them in jail? Is that the punishment you’re talking about?”

Matthews responded that that’s the question he was asking the front-runner himself. Trump responded that he was pro-life.

The MSNBC host followed up wondering if a man should bear responsibility for abortions as well, to which Trump said “no” he didn’t think so.

Trump asked repeatedly about the Catholic church’s position on abortion, at multiple points trying to turn the questions on the interviewer himself in relation to how he squared the moral position of the church with the real life implications.

Should the United States change the law of the land on abortion as set by the landmark SCOTUS ruling Roe vs Wade Trump says “you’ll go back to a position like they had where people will, perhaps, go to illegal places.” Still, he maintains “you have to ban it.”

After the interview, the Trump campaign released a statement from the candidate saying: “This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination. Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro- life with exceptions, which I have outlined numerous times.”

Already, Trump’s position is being denounced by John Kasich and Ted Cruz as well as spokespeople from several leading anti-abortion groups who have generally taken the position that if abortion were to be made illegal it should be the medical care provider, rather than the women seeking the abortion, who should be punished under the law. More importantly, Trump’s position that women who seek abortion, if he really means it, puts him at the extremist edge of the anti-abortion movement since this is generally not the position that most anti-abortion activists take, preferring instead to focus punishment on doctors and other medical care providers. In no small part, of course, this is because the prospect of punishing women who have already made the profoundly emotionally difficult decision to have an abortion is one that doesn’t play quite so well with the public at large, even among people who might be sympathetic with the idea of restricting abortion at some point during the course of a pregnancy.

On some level, this is kind of an odd statement for Trump to make since he’s never really been known as someone who takes strong positions on social issues like this. As Trump’s opponents have argued in the past, there was a time in the not too distant past when Trump insisted that he was pro-choice and he criticized the Republican Party for wedding itself to the pro-life position so closely. Now that he’s running for the Republican nomination, Trump claims to have become pro-life thanks to some revelation in the recent past, but abortion has not played a prominent role in his campaign, not even during the run up to the Iowa Caucuses and South Carolina Primary. In any case, the position Trump is taking here is unlikely to help him with women voters, a demographic where he has been performing poorly since virtually the beginning of the campaign. Indeed, between this, and his continued mocking of the female reporter who his campaign manager is accused of committing battery against, one wonders if Trump just might set a record for the worst performance among women voters if he does end up becoming the GOP nominee.

Update: The Trump Campaign is now attempting to walk back Trump’s answer to Chris Matthews’ question:

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    I get the impression that every evening The Donald is running around in circles pulling his hair, screaming “HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS?!!! WHAT CAN I SAY THAT WILL BE SO STUPID THEY’LL TURN AGAINST ME?!!”

    Yes, indeed, dear Donald. To misquote slightly, “Tomorrow Belongs To Thee.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  2. Jen says:

    Good grief. Ever weirder.

    On some level, this is kind of an odd statement for Trump to make since he’s never really been known as someone who takes strong positions on social issues like this.

    My hunch here is that he said what he thinks might play with pro-life voters, based, as usual, on nothing but what was in his head at that moment.

    Either that or he’s striving to hit a 90% disapproval rating among women voters. I suppose we all need goals.

    Seriously though, it’s stuff like this that makes the case for booting him as the nominee at the convention. He’s making Cruz’s case *for* him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  3. Beth says:

    I love the “the woman is the victim” statement. Maybe President Trump will set up an elite group of law enforcement units that will once and for all end the scourge of pregnant women being abducted off the street and forced to have abortions.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  4. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: Well, it’s mainly because most of the forced-birthers realize that saying you’re going to dump women in the slammer for having had had an abortion isn’t the way to convince people to make abortions illegal.

    Sort of like how it’s not very practical to say “unh-unh, we’re not going to treat any illegal immigrants in our hospitals or clinics.” Which means that you’re just making it easier for a contagious disease like TB to spread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. James Pearce says:

    Trump’s walking it back. It’s not that he’s a blowhard. We misunderstood him, of course.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. reid says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to write this, but…. I’m almost feeling a tiny bit of sympathy for Trump. MSNBC just ran a crawl saying, “Trump would consider using nuclear weapon on Europe”, or something like that. I listened to the interview where he was pressed on that, and that is really a hyperbolic, unfair interpretation of his words.

    Having said that, I of course hate the idea of Trump being president. If he wins, the slide into Idiocracy is moving faster than I thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. Michael says:

    The Pro-lifers are trying to have it both ways. If you think abortion is murder and the doctors performing them are murderers, then it follows that those who hired them to perform the murder are as culpable.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 1

  8. Hal_10000 says:

    My hunch here is that he said what he thinks might play with pro-life voters, based, as usual, on nothing but what was in his head at that moment.

    This exactly. I doubt he has invested more than five minutes thought into ANY issue. His interview with the NYT makes that clear. This is like watching Sarah Palin in 2008 only with less folksy “charm”.

    Every GOP candidate knows he’s going to be questioned on abortion and every GOP candidate knows how he intends to answer it. This wasn’t exactly a trick question.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  9. Joe says:

    @Jen: My hunch is that he never real thought about it very much till Matthews asked him the question. That’s just how he rolls.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  10. CSK says:

    He certainly is providing the Clinton campaign with some great advertising material.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. stonetools says:

    Trump is as usual saying openly what the other Republican candidates are thinking privately. In truth, the woman seeking an abortion should be punished and indeed charged with attempted murder, if we follow the anti-abortion position to its rational conclusion.
    The pro-lifers and Republicans can’t say that though, so they talk instead about “saving the babies” and punishing “abortionist” doctors.
    Poor Donald just doesn’t know how to be “politically correct” with pro-life rhetoric, and so he shot himself in the foot. Again.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  12. Pch101 says:

    If someone genuinely believes that abortion is murder (and they seem to enjoy waving around signs that claim that they believe that to be true), then it would make sense to punish the person who ordered the hit, as it were.

    Unfortunately, Roe allows this sort of thing to fester with its viability test. The Canadian Supreme Court took a smarter approach, deciding that abortion restrictions violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; in essence, abortion is a civil right. The choice to have an abortion really should not be the government’s business, at all; we talk a lot about freedom in the US, but don’t really mean it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  13. jib says:

    Trump wings it. If you are going to make something illegal, then dont you have to punish people who break the law? Seems reasonable if your making it up as you go along.

    Why is this too far for a bunch of folks who think that a woman who is pregnant because of rape should not be allowed an abortion? I think all the repubs prez candidates took that position.

    Too far for the rest of us? Hell yes but Trump is very unpopular outside the GOP so what else is new.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pch101:

    we talk a lot about freedom in the US, but don’t really mean it.

    For a large portion of the US population, “freedom” actually means “you’re free to agree with me and see things my way, otherwise I’m going to punch you in the face”.

    In hindsight, it was probably foolish of the Founders to think they could escape the religious strife of Europe. Europe exported its religious nuts to America. We started the game with crazy already built into the recipe.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose … :-(

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  15. Gustopher says:

    This isn’t the official Republican policy?

    Ok, if we don’t punish people who get an illegal abortion, can we stop punishing people who buy illegal drugs? What about public officials who set up private email servers (assuming they do it after laws and regulations banning it)? Should we just punish the technical staff? Should we stop prosecuting Johns, and only prosecute prostitutes (bad example, because in many places that is what happens already, but should that be an official policy?)?

    Maybe I’m an old fashioned law and order kind of guy, but I kind of think things should either be legal, or illegal, and we should punish the people morally culpable for the illegal.

    I disagree with the Republican position on what should be illegal — I would favor fewer crimes about drugs, and more about financial malfeasance — but I thought there was common ground on the need to punish people for illegal acts. Who knew?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  16. Dumb Brit says:

    Did Chris Matthews just send a rill down the Donald’s leg?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. @reid:

    If he wins, the slide into Idiocracy is moving faster than I thought.

    It should be noted:

    1) As crude as the characters in Idiocracy were, not one of them make reference to President Comacho’s race the entire movie.
    2) President Comacho’s reaction to a crisis is to find the smartest people he can find and listen to their suggestions even if he doesn’t personally understand them.

    Idiocracy was overly optimistic in its predictions of what the future would be like.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Oh, I know what you’re going to say. “If you kill the mother, the fetus dies, too.” But the fetus is going to be aborted anyway, so why not let it go down with the ship?

    – Albert Goldman in The Birdcage.

    Yes, if you think abortion is murder, the logical conclusion is that the woman should be punished. Unless you’re really punishing the sex, in which case the forced child birth and rearing is maybe punishment enough. But even the most rabid reproductive slavers realize that to say the woman should be punished is bad tactics.

    That, incidentally, is the secret to Trump’s success w/ the GOP base. He says straight out what others only hint and dog whistle. Why? Cowardice? Political correctness? No, they realize that making it obvious to the soccer moms that you’re a racist, misogynist asshat may hurt you in the general. Trump is either unserious, naive, or confident he can lie his way through the general. How are his favorables with women doing? (21/70.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  19. KM says:

    Dear Women in America,

    If you get Zika from your husband because he got some on his business trip, passed it to your 5-month pregnant self and now the fetus has microcephaly or worse, no abortions for you cuz illegalness! Congress dun passed a law, you know, so there’s limits and you crossed the line! IDK it might be needed to save your life or whatever, do it and go to jail you murderous strumpet. Enjoy SuperMax and remember to vote for me!

    – D. Trump, A-hole for President

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  20. Robert in SF says:

    @gVOR08: Darn, I was busy looking for a clip on Youtube for this exact scene before I read all the way down here to your comment! You beat me to it!

    Trump is playing this like a stereotype at any given time of a particular aspect of an ideal member of the Republic Party…just straight up extremist at times, seemingly taking things to their ‘logical conclusion’. Problems with terrorists? Restrict all Muslims from coming into the country. Problem with abortion? We also need to punish the mother. Problem with debt? Just drop tax rates on the those who actually have money.

    He’s starting to come off like a desperate man, hoping to be liked by a fickle public, by winging it whenever a pet topic of theirs comes up.

    There has been the odd moment of …incongruity…when he praises Planned Parenthood for women’s health service, and imminent domain. Any others? Those I can’t figure out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. appleannie says:

    @Robert in SF:

    I was also looking for a clip of that scene on youtube last night.

    Boy, do I ever miss the days of back alley abortions, wire coat hangers and knitting needles. The only thing that would make bringing them back better would be to punish the woman for surviving.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  22. cian says:

    Did I miss something along the way? I was under the impression that the Republican party has been punishing woman over this for the last 8 years (longer than that of course, but effectively, I mean). Isn’t forcing women in Texas to travel hundreds of miles for an abortion, no matter what the circumstances, punishment? Or how about inserting ultra sound sticks into women who have concerns and may be contemplating ending a pregnancy, isn’t that punishment? Both Cruz and Kasich support such moves as we know, as does the republican party as a whole. Trump? You know, I’m fairly sure he has no position whatsoever, but if he has to have one, it will be the most extreme position possible. Not because he believes it, but because, until now, it has worked. I’m just hoping the implosion doesn’t occur too soon

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  23. Franklin says:

    @Dumb Brit: Well that’s my vocabulary lesson for the day. Well played!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. C. Clavin says:

    Let’s be honest…a woman who wants an abortion is already punished. Republicans have spent every day since Roe v. Wade making sure of that. Trump finally said what it is that Republicans have always wanted…which is why all the anti-choicers are so pissed off. The curtain has been torn back from their actual end-game.
    Why anyone should be punished for removing an unwanted thing the size of a banana from their body is beyond me. Maybe one of our anti-choice commentators, who is for small government but wants the government to interfere with a woman’s privacy, can try to explain it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  25. Jim R says:

    The way I see it, he was reciting a tautology of sorts: If X is illegal, there should be punishment for doing X. Does anyone actually think Donald Trump wants to ban abortions and punish women who have them, or has even thought much about it before? He was making shit up as he goes along, like everything else, and he probably wouldn’t remember the next day that he’d even said it if it hadn’t caused a firestorm.

    If anything, his campaign’s backtracking statement about how women are actually victims of those evil doctors who perform abortions at their request was even more nonsensical and insulting, as it was presumably composed by some other person with a functioning brain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  26. Jen says:

    @KM: Heck we don’t even need Trump for that scenario, it’s now the law in Indiana.

    The fact that terminations for reasons of genetic abnormalities are no longer legal in that state is astonishing. I know the numbers for such terminations are rare, but to require these families to carry to term pregnancies with severe genetic conditions seems incredibly cruel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: especially when it’s something like Tay-Sachs, where you don’t know exactly how long the child will survive, but it will have a pain-wracked existence the entire time.

    Oh, and notice that there wasn’t a word about providing financial or physical help for these families? Hey, we want to impose a HUGE burden on you, increase the possibility that the parents are going to divorce, create a situation where it’s quite likely the rest of the kids are going to be neglected, and It’s All Because Of The Will Of God.

    I’ve always considered late-term abortions to be a case of triage. It sucks, but it’s the least damaging of all of the bad options available.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:

    All Because Of The Will Of God.

    Nonsense…some old white dudes wearing pointy hats and velvet robes made it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  29. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Most Trump supporters support him because he gets away with being angry and spiteful all the time. They don’t support him because of (or in spite of) his positions on the issues. This won’t hurt him with his hardcore backers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Oh, and notice that there wasn’t a word about providing financial or physical help for these families?

    Didn’t Republicans used to make a big deal out of objecting to “unfunded mandates”?

    I saw a reference last night to conservatives putting opinions down the memory hole and believing they’ve always held the opinion they formed last month. What was that referring to? Oh yes, it was an article on how, at the time of Roe v Wade protestants generally believed “life”, aka the implantation of the soul, occurred at birth, so they had no particular problem w/ abortion. They started objecting when Falwell and his ilk saw how much money Catholics were raising on the issue. Hence the oft quoted line, “Last year Jerry Falwell couldn’t spell abortion.”

    And like punishing the mother, souls are another thing the reproductive slavers don’t mention for tactical reasons. They babble on endlessly with semantic BS about “life”, but bringing up souls makes it clearly a religious issue and clearly a 1st amendment establishment issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  31. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Trump is his supporters, and they are him. The Trumpkins don’t just identify with him; they’ve merged their identities with his. Same thing happened with Palin, and in fact it’s pretty much the same group.

    The Trumpsters don’t care what positions Trump takes (except on the mythical wall). They support him because he’s loud, crude, bigoted, boorish, and ignorant–exactly like themselves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  32. Pch101 says:

    @CSK:

    There is a segment of the population that resents the idea that they can’t use “straight talk”, i.e. refer to certain people as wetbacks, spics, niggers and towelheads. The things that your mother (assuming that she wasn’t a Klansman) would have told you were impolite are now labeled as “politically correct,” and that just won’t do.

    At the same time, we have this Ayn Rand cult that believes that all of the stuff that you learned in kindergarten about playing nicely and sharing with the other kids is some sort of offense to decency.

    Should it really be a surprise that these two groups (bigots and selfish jerks) have joined the same political party?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  33. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    Unless you’re really punishing the sex, in which case the forced child birth and rearing is maybe punishment enough.

    To understand just how messy it is inside some Republican heads, note that the intersection between the “children are the ultimate blessing from God” and the “the child is the punishment for the sin” subsets is not empty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  34. C. Clavin says:

    THIS…is what Republicans want.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/31/texas-forced-this-woman-to-deliver-a-stillborn-baby.html
    Along with firefights in dark movie theaters.
    The GOP has become the most despicable organization on the planet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Republicans have spent every day since Roe v. Wade making sure of that (punishment for the woman).

    As I recall, and I’ve seen others state state this since, R v W was not a big deal or a partisan issue at the time. Generally only Catholics strenuously objected. I’m not sure when it became a Republican issue, but it took some time for the TV preachers to realize they could fund raise off abortion and then for the Evangelicals and the Republicans to become a symbiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  36. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    But even the most rabid reproductive slavers realize that to say the woman should be punished is bad tactics.

    But that’s the beauty of Trump — he says what the base thinks and believes, regardless of potential fallout or ‘optics’. As usual, he is not wrong that this is the logical consequence of a belief that abortion is murder, and is what abortion opponents would prefer. And you can bet that responses among the base (as opposed to the Party and the media) are the usual 50/50 split of “Right on!” and “Whoa, what!?”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  37. bill says:

    so if something was “illegal” then there should be some sort of “punishment” for doing it? wow, i’m angry now………said the person who didn’t read what was said.
    grow a pair, you whiners!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  38. KM says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And you can bet that responses among the base (as opposed to the Party and the media) are the usual 50/50 split of “Right on!” and “Whoa, what!?”.

    It’s kinda funny how he exposes to so many what their belief set entails when you go further then the arbitrary lines they’ve personally drawn. Funny how something seems so logical/reasonable until you hit your individual tolerance limit……

    For instance, if abortion is truly murder, why are exceptions for rape OK? What makes it not “murder” if the donor was committing a crime at the time…. or are they saying that the results of said crime aren’t the same level of human being? If you acknowledge that the distress of the mother is primary here over a potential existence, why isn’t distress valid in other cases?

    Legally blaming and punishing the mother for “murder” puts protesters in an awkward position as well. After all, they sat by and let it happen. Just stood there and waved signs. Maybe shouted a little. Wouldn’t it be a bitch to be charged with failure to render assistance/ notify the police or accessory to commit murder? What’s to stop Congress for passing a law saying that you are required to report someone who’s had an abortion as child abuse in a fit of righteousness and now we’ve got a nation wondering if snitches get stitches? Turning the whole country into legally mandated reporters will be interesting for sure…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  39. Monala says:
  40. An Interested Party says:

    grow a pair, you whiners!

    Says the man who likes to refer to Muslims as “towelheads” and who thinks that just because he supposedly has a black girlfriend that it’s ok to write all kinds of racist things…while we’re dispensing advice, perhaps he could grow that thing slightly to the left in his chest, not to mention really growing that thing between his ears…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    It took this long for someone to try the abortion gotcha question on Trump? That’s just pathetic. I’ve been waiting for a couple of months for someone to try this, and was curious how Trump would handle it. I’m disappointed all around.

    Funny how liberals are never asked the equivalent gotcha question on abortion, though. Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Monala: Did you even read your own link? 13 separate anecdotes.

    1) Georgia woman took abortion pill at home, five-and-a-half-month-old fetus (just short of viability) lived for half an hour after being aborted.

    2) Idaho woman took RU-486 to abort a 20-week fetus (just short of viability), which is only supposed to be used in the first 9 weeks, and left the aborted fetus on her back porch.

    3) No abortion involved; Montana woman charged with “child endangerment” for taking drugs while 12 weeks pregnant.

    4) Pennsylvania woman gets abortion drugs online for her 16-year-old daughter.

    That’s just the first 4. Should I continue to read your links? It’s pretty obvious you didn’t. I’ll just skim them.

    The Mississippi cases are summarized as “miscarriages.” So are the Louisiana and Alabama ones.

    That’s enough. I think I’ve already spent more time on your “evidence” than you did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  43. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    For instance, if abortion is truly murder, why are exceptions for rape OK?

    It’s interesting you bring that up. Trump is actually on record supporting an exception for rape victims. That makes him officially more moderate on the issue than Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Scott Walker.

    Up to now, every Republican presidential nominee since George H.W. Bush has supported the rape exception, though the last two vp nominees (Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin) didn’t.

    Of course, a good question is whether their position on this point matters. A constitutional amendment banning abortion is a practical impossibility regardless of whether or not it contains a rape exclusion, but to see Roe overturned as a result of Republican-appointed justices is a very real possibility, and in that scenario, some states may very well ban abortion in the case of rape, and they may very well treat the women who have them as criminally culpable.

    In a sense, all this parsing of the candidates’ statements is a distraction from what they likely would do while in office. For all we know, even a President Kasich might be more dangerous to abortion rights than a President Trump (though Trump would be more dangerous in other respects). Hillary needs to run on the slogan, “It’s the justices, stupid.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  44. SKI says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Funny how liberals are never asked the equivalent gotcha question on abortion, though. Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed

    Because their answer would be that we don’t know exactly (for terminations early in pregnancy) and that it is a very fact-specific determination typically (for later term ones), so we don’t criminalize/legislate that decision out of the hands of the mother.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    @SKI: Nice copout. So, you favor legal abortion right up until birth? Can a woman in the delivery room suddenly announce “I don’t want it any more, kill it!” about a nine-month fetus?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  46. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: don’t be more of a straw-manning jackass than you already are, please. Read the answer. Slowly. Look up the words in a dictionary if you don’t understand any of them. And then think about what was being said.

    We have trade-offs and balances on everything. Stop taking a “well, it depends on the circumstances” answer and turning it into a scream of SLIPPERY SLOPE OH MIGOD HELP HORRORS HORRORS HORRORS!!!! Sensible adults, if they are really interested in dealing with ethical conundrums don’t act like bratty 14-year olds.

    Are you an adult?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  47. KM says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed?

    The historical (and traditionally religious) answer: birth, the ancient measurable act of when the fetus is capable of living in the outside world successfully. As the sainted Founding Fathers did not see fit to give citizenship to fetuses but rather to those actually birthed, one wonders what those liberal pansys were thinking. After all, shouldn’t Jus Soli really be Jus Soli Conceptus in that case? (Wow, think about it – how many Americans conceived in Cabo or other vacation hotspots would flip sh^t to find out the are really Mexican?)

    You ask a misleading question as there’s no quantifiable answer. Define “human being” – social, philosophical or taxonomic meanings? Define “interest” (I’m assuming you avoiding the can of worms that is “rights” )? Who’s expressing it (fetus can’t) and why does their “interest” matter? What you meant to ask is “When does life start?” – a deeply religious question that’s had an answer for centuries. Birth is when the potential becomes the actual.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  48. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Funny how liberals are never asked the equivalent gotcha question on abortion, though. Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed?

    That isn’t an equivalent question. Trump wasn’t being asked for his philosophical views on the interests of a fetus; he was being asked a specific policy question about the legality of abortions and the consequences of a hypothetical law outlawing them. An equivalent for the other side might be asking Hillary or Bernie for their positions on late-term abortions–something they both in fact have a clear public record on and have never shied away from discussing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  49. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: That’s pretty funny–you call SKI’s entirely cogent and valid answer a “copout” and then immediately throw out a strawman argument.

    You’re immune to irony, aren’t you? LOL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  50. Pch101 says:

    Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed?

    As I noted above, viability is (unfortunately) at the essence of Roe v. Wade.

    So anyone who claims to be a supporter of the Roe decision has already answered your lame question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  51. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Funny how liberals are never asked the equivalent gotcha question on abortion, though. Why won’t anyone ask Hillary or Bernie at what point a fetus is enough of a human being to have an interest in not being destroyed?

    Funny how some conservatives don’t realize that Republicans get questioned on this (abortion) because, in conservative ranks, this issue (abortion) has become a litmus test, in fact it’s almost at the level of a loyalty oath. Generally not the case with liberals.

    Many conservative politicians have abandoned the incest, rape, or health of the mother exceptions to a prohibition on abortion, and as they have become more restrictive they’re prone to evasive weasel language when it comes to explaining their position on abortion or all manner of issues related to a woman’s right to determine her reproductive health choices.

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  52. Lenoxus says:

    Why would we hold thousands of actual women, eight weeks pregnant with a blob tinier than a grape, hostage to one hypothetical women who frivolously wants pregnancy terminated days before birth would happen and who found a doctor willing to perform the procedure? (We don’t require doctors to perform all elective surgeries requested of them.)

    In reality the law functions without bright lines all the time. We don’t abolish voting for everyone on the grounds that it’s preposterous for a baby to vote, and who can specify the age it’s not preposterous anymore?

    If you must have a bright line on abortion, birth is clearly the more rational demarcation than conception, for multiple reasons. But thanks both to an absence of actual women making that choice, medical practitioners sanctioning it, and judges/politicians of all persuasions being against partial-birth abortion, there’s little risk of things going that far.

    Something like the current Supreme Court stance of fetal viability or Roe v Wade’s third trimester is going to remain in place no matter what (barring the complicated exceptions involving non-hypothetical pregnancies that threaten the lives of both woman and fetus). And as someone who doesn’t insist on bright lines, I’m okay with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  53. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I read the entire article. The point is, women are already being prosecuted for these things. Women are taking abortion pills they ordered online because they don’t have safe access to abortion at a clinic in their communities. Women are prosecuted for miscarriages because they had drugs in their system – instead of given treatment for their addictions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  54. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: As I noted above, viability is (unfortunately) at the essence of Roe v. Wade.

    Yes, that is a crappy standard. Because currently the record is 21 weeks and five days for a surviving, healthy fetus. That’s a lot sooner than it was when Roe V. Wade was handed down. And it’s only going to get shorter as technology continues to develop.

    BTW, Roe v. Wade is one of the worst legal rulings of the Court. Its rationale is from a “penumbra” of an “implied right.”

    But there are other fun questions for the pro-choice crowd that never get answered. If the fetus isn’t a person, does that mean killing a fetus against the woman’s choice is murder. If I kill a pregnant woman, can I be charged with two murders? What if the woman is on her way to an abortion clinic — does that still count?

    Whether or not the fetus has any legal status is entirely dependent on the woman’s state of mind at that particular moment. There is nothing about the fetus that has any relevance whatsoever to the situation.

    If I punch a pregnant woman and induce a miscarriage, I can either be charged with the death of the fetus or get a thank-you from her for saving the cost of the abortion, depending on what she feels like at the time. Even if I intended to kill the fetus, it’s irrelevant.

    So — to those who say that it’s always up to the woman, and the law should have no say in the matter. She’s in the delivery room, feet in the stirrups, and says “I’ve changed my mind! Kill it! Kill it now! Get it out of me and get rid of it!” Is that OK?

    And why not right after birth? We’re talking a difference of a few seconds and a few inches. Why is that such a huge difference? The fetus is exactly as developed as it was when it was still inside the womb (or the birth canal). What’s the difference?

    It’s an ugly situation, lending itself to ugly options on both sides. And it’s hell to discuss the legal and ethical aspects.

    What’s most annoying, though, are the True Believers on both sides who are convinced of their moral superiority. It’s so black and white to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  55. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You still haven’t figured out that your lame question was already answered. You should spend less time typing and more time improving your reading skills.

    (If you were educated in public schools,then I humbly apologize for the disservice.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  56. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    currently the record is 21 weeks and five days

    And? The IAAF world record for men is 2:02:57, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya on September 28, 2014 at the Berlin Marathon. Does that mean anybody who can’t run that isn’t viable for “human” status?

    Ever been in a NICU, Jenos? They’re %#*&$*@ depressing bastions of desperate hope and sad realities. One of my best friends seems to consistently have preemies. Two boys pulled through but the third was not so lucky and they weren’t even close to Amillia Taylor (your record holder). There’s a freaking reason we don’t give birth at 3 months or 5 or 7. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it probable or even likely. Records are extremes. Extremes always change. The mean doesn’t really move.

    Only psychos wish a lingering death upon someone. Nature is a hideous bitch goddess and there’s only so much we can do. Amillia was the exception; short of an artificial womb, there is a bottom limit on viability that isn’t going to change. Meanwhile, to cite the conservative refrain: who’s going to pay for this? Watch your insurance premiums SKYROCKET if massive preemie care becomes the norm. The hospitals will have to eat the cost when the debts can’t be paid and they will happily pass that along to you any way they can. Be careful what you wish for……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  57. Mikey says:

    @KM: My marathon PR is 4:00:18…guess I’d better go off myself. Been nice knowing you all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Shorter Jenos: “I’ve actually never met a real woman before.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  59. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    And why not right after birth? We’re talking a difference of a few seconds and a few inches. Why is that such a huge difference?

    Can you sign contracts right after you die? We’re talking a difference of a few minutes and a few heatbeats. The body is exactly as intact as it was when it was still breathing. What’s the difference? Last minute will change! *smh* ….. seriously, Jenos, for a conservative you’re very disrespectful of traditional religious and legal boundaries.

    Birth and death as the markers of life are literally as old as time. But then again, it WAS legal to kill a newborn back in the olden days so maybe you’re just referencing your roots? Look up exposure, abandonment, child sacrifice and all the wonderful little surprises a newborn could expect in biblical days if the parent changed their minds. In some cultures, you didn’t get a name until you were like 3 because the chances of you dying were so damn high you weren’t a real person till you hit that marker. Your example would have been perfectly acceptable to your ancestors in just a century or two ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  60. KM says:

    @Mikey:

    Better then mine. Race you to the light? :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  61. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Or to look at it from another point–one minute the almost-born entity is inside the woman and has a “CONSTITOOSHUNAL RAAIGHT!” to demand the woman use her body to support it. After birth? Nope, no right whatsoever to anything physical from the mom, not even as some thing as simple as a blood transfusion. Can’t demand mom’s kidney, can’t demand mom’s breastmilk.

    So yeah, there’s a difference.

    And contrary to Jenos’ fantasy that there are tons of women just about to give birth who demand abortions (because it’s so much FUN!), most late-term abortions are due to cases such as the following:

    1) the fetus is dying/dead.
    2) the fetus is heavily handicapped, to the point of requiring daily support for the rest of its life.
    3) the fetus is missing such useful organs for survival such as kidneys, heart, lungs, or brain.
    4) the fetus’s continued existence inside the woman poses a deadly risk to the woman for other reasons.
    5) the fetus suffers from a genetic disease which means its life will be short, pain-filled, and in the NICU for the rest of its life.

    As said, late-term abortion is awful; it’s just the least worst of all of the options.

    Jenos, if this really bothers you, why don’t you contact one of the pro-life groups and state that you will provide financial support to any pregnant woman who is considering abortion due to financial difficulties? Put your money where your mouth is, hmmm?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  62. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: um, i’ve never used the word “towelhead”- that’s totally gay/pre 2000….
    i use “sheethead”- it’s way more appropriate/ tongue in cheek for today’s chronic muslim offender.
    and yes, i know it offends some of you that my gf is black (and a “legal” immigrant to boot) and that that kind of bs is even relevant to people like you- but the dreaded “racist” moniker is dying on the vine as you losers have used/abused it to no end. so yes, grow a pair, as apparently its never sprouted.
    maybe google the difference between “racism” and “reality”?
    don’t bother, it was squelched by herr leader!

    so back to reality- did you actually read//comprehend what was said vs. what was spouted by your heroes in the msm?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  63. An Interested Party says:

    um, i’ve never used the word “towelhead”

    Towelhead or sheethead, either is childish and bigoted…

    that’s totally gay/pre 2000….

    How old are you? 14?

    i know it offends some of you that my gf is black

    Actually, what is offensive is that you use that as a “Get Out of Being a Bigot” card when you write bigoted things…

    so back to reality

    Indeed! Let us know when you get there…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  64. Lenoxus says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    If I punch a pregnant woman and induce a miscarriage, I can either be charged with the death of the fetus or get a thank-you from her for saving the cost of the abortion, depending on what she feels like at the time.

    Sure, just like how if I stole and disposed of someone’s appendix while they slept, then either (a) they had appendicitis and should be grateful without any malice against me, or (b) I should be charged with murder, the victim being said appendix. How is there any other option?

    The rest of your dumb hypotheticals are likewise resolved with the understanding that abortion is just a surgical removal, albeit one with more emotional weight. (Your imaginary woman screaming “Kill it” just before birth simply wouldn’t find a licensed medical team, just like she wouldn’t find one to remove a leg that she just want removed on a whim. Except people like that actually exist, and it therefore would make more to discuss the philosophical issues they raise than the question of frivolous partial-birth abortion. By all means, let’s ban frivolous partial-birth abortion, okay? Done.)

    It’s the begins-at-conception stance that muddies the waters, not the pro-choice one. And pro-choicers, by and large, do not believe embryos become people if they are wanted. “The embryo is an actual person whose ending is equivalent to human death” isn’t the only possible reason that miscarriage or abortion can be unfortunate/distressing for the woman (or those around her).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  65. Jenos Idanian says:

    Sorry for the delay; I’ve been busy laughing too hard at some of the responses here. I mean, you people couldn’t be funnier if you tried.

    “Signed a contract after you died?” Really? You physically can’t sign a contract after you die. Not being able to move your hand and write your name is part of the definition of death.

    “Already answered?” Please. Roe V. Wade set the end of the 2nd trimester (26 weeks) as the landmark, but that was 43 years of medical development ago. Planned Parenthood v. Casey amended that to “viability,” which it alluded to being as early as 24 or even 23 weeks. Even then, though, the record was 21 weeks and 5 days for a boy who not only survived, but did just fine. (James Elgin Gill, born May 20, 1987 in Ottawa.)

    So we set the deadline for an abortion as “viability,” which is currently 21 weeks, 5 days. Hell, let’s just round it up to 22. What about women who want an abortion after that date? What you wanna do?

    The problem is that fetal development is an analog process, and laws work best in a digital context. So we pick arbitrary numbers that make sense to us, but have only a passing resemblance to reality. 18 years age for legal adulthood. Other numbers for drinking, sex, marriage, and the like. There’s no magic switch that gets thrown on one’s birthday, but legally there is.

    So, is the key element “viability?” If so, why don’t you support laws that recognize that? And what would you propose as the penalties for breaking that law?

    Be considerate with your answers, please. I don’t think I can handle more of the kind of laughter you’ve been giving me so far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  66. Pch101 says:

    If being a vacuous redundant idiot can be turned into some sort of career, then Jenos deserves a raise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  67. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: Well, a vacuous, redundant idiot is the current front-runner for the Republican Presidential nomination…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  68. CSK says:

    Trump has changed his mind, yet again. He now says the abortion laws should stay as they are. I’m not sure how the fan club will rationalize that one. The default excuse seems to be: “He was quoted out of context.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  69. Jenos Idanian says:

    So the limit on abortion is “fetal viability,” but it’s not, really, and it’s not really enforced, and there shouldn’t be any restrictions anyway. Oh, and dead people should be allowed to sign contracts — presumably before rigor mortis sets in, and their hands can’t move.

    Is that about it?

    Everyone wants to attack the other side’s position on abortion, and no one wants to detail their own position, let alone defend it. And everyone has this incredible sense of moral and intellectual superiority about their position.

    I think that’s a fairly accurate summation.

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  70. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I mentioned in an earlier thread that birth slavers avoid mentioning souls for legal reasons and are therefore left babbling about “life”. Are you able to think about this in any way except eagerly parsing others’ words looking to split some hair and make some semantic argument?

    You want a clean, bright line? I’ll give you one. Before this became a political football, most protestant theologians held that “life” began at birth.

    And if you want to argue about exactly which split second in the process constitutes “birth” you’ll grow hair on your palms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  71. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    About 90% of abortions occur during the first trimester. No conflict with the Roe viability standard for those.

    Perhaps 1% of abortions occur during the third trimester, and those usually involve some sort of mitigating circumstances.

    This concern of yours is about as relevant as discussing how you should spend the $100 million in lottery winnings that you’re never going to have.

    Right-wingers love to fuss about stuff that isn’t happening and that doesn’t exist. Like children, but more mean-spirited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  72. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: There’s a logical fallacy, isn’t there, in the way they focus on the horrible but tremendously uncommon? “Parade of horribles,” or something like that?

    I mean, besides the obvious collection of inane strawmen like a woman on the delivery table suddenly yelling “kill it!” and whatnot.

    Seriously, anyone who even poses that scenario must be utterly ignorant of what’s involved in the decision to abort. I, unfortunately, am not, having had a wife who was raped and impregnated thereby.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  73. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    It seems that modern American conservatism is a channel for baseless fears, the advancement of mythology and a fixation on non-problems, not a coherent political philosophy. At this point, it isn’t a legitimate alternative point of view, but just a code word for stupid.

    It’s a shame, because we really could use a coherent loyal opposition. Yet instead, we end up with babbling idiots who can’t understand when their dumb questions have already been answered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  74. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: So, you wanna use the trimester standard. It’s totally arbitrary, but at least it’s simple. I can go with that, for the sake of discussion.

    You didn’t express a position, so I’ll extrapolate yours for you. (If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me. I’m not trying to trap you into anything.)

    First trimester: no restrictions.

    Second trimester: ?

    Third trimester: extenuating circumstances only.

    That’s a fairly widely accepted position, which is why I feel comfortable tentatively assigning it to you. The ugliness comes when you start trying to apply those rules.

    First up, the second trimester. What sort of restrictions?

    Then, the third trimester. That’s where things have historically gotten ugly. One side put forth what I call The Big Three: “Rape, incest, life of mother.” Most people agree that those are justifiable grounds for abortion, even in the third trimester.

    Oops, let’s also add in “severe fetal damage or defect.” Some people disagree with that — some people said that Sarah Palin should have aborted her son with Down Syndrome, and to many that’s a valid choice. So that’s in there, too.

    Now is when it gets ugly. We have these fairly clear rules on abortion. So how do we enforce them? If it’s written into law, then there have to be some kind of penalties for the law. What should the penalties be, and who should bear them?

    Let’s be clear on one point: if there is no penalty behind these rules, then the rules are totally meaningless, and abortion is totally unlimited. Bringing up my prior example, a pregnant woman could be in the delivery room, feet up in the stirrups, just about fully dilated, and then decide “I don’t want it! Get rid of it!” and the medical staff would be obligated to abort the about-to-be-born fetus — as that would be her choice.

    So… what restrictions? Any? What penalties for breaking them?

    I have been very careful about not stating my position, and I would be astonished if anyone could articulate it. I’ve spent years considering it, and I’m still working on it.

    But I’ve managed to get a good grasp on both positions, and can play “devil’s advocate” on either side. Were I talking on a predominantly pro-life board, I could present the pro-choice argument quite adequately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  75. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I have been very careful about not stating my position, and I would be astonished if anyone could articulate it. I’ve spent years considering it, and I’m still working on it.”

    Oh, please, Everyone here knows your position: Whatever you think will annoy the most people and get you the most attention.

    It’s your sole position on any subject, and probably the only thing that matters in your pathetic excuse for a life.

    You want to irritate people? Knock yourself out. But don’t insult us by pretending you’ve been working on some deep philosophical treatise for many years.

    If you want to pretend to be an intellect, do what you always do — come up with another screen name and lie about who you are. Even you can’t expect anyone to take “Jenos Idanian” seriously on any subject.

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  76. Jenos Idanian says:

    @wr: Just because you see a punch bowl does NOT mean you have to be the turd in it. Embrace self-restraint.

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  77. Lenoxus says:

    and the medical staff would be obligated to abort the about-to-be-born fetus — as that would be her choice.

    Nobody except you believes this is what “her body, her choice” entails. Nobody asks for a world where doctors must perform every concievable procedure a patient requests. Sometimes no actual licensed doctor would agree to do it.

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  78. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Lenoxus: I can think of one (now formerly licensed) doctor who would be likely to honor such a request — it isn’t that far removed from what he did routinely.

    So where is the line drawn? At what point do you wish to have the law defer to the individual consciences of doctors? And what is the rationale here for substituting the doctor’s right to follow their own conscience against the woman’s right to have an abortion?

    Recall that we recently had a huge national discussion about one person’s right to follow their own beliefs versus the right of another person’s right to obtain a legal good or service, and the latter won. So there’s that precedent there — if a woman has a right to an abortion, which is a legal service, then doctors who perform abortions are obligated to provide that service.

    This is an incredibly complicated issue, involving so many matters. Individual rights, laws, choices, ethics, even religion. I have a great deal of contempt for those who insist that it’s a simple matter, and the other side is just plain wrong and evil for rejecting what is obviously such a basic question.

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