At a taping of an MSNBC town hall to be aired Wednesday evening, host Chris Matthews pressed Trump on his anti-abortion position, repeatedly asking him whether abortion should be punished if it is outlawed....Subsequently, someone clearly explained to Trump that that was the wrong answer:
Matthews ... pressed Trump on whether he believes there should be punishment for abortion if it were illegal.
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said. “For the woman?” Matthews asked. “Yeah,” Trump said, nodding.
Trump said the punishment would “have to be determined.”
Shortly after a preview of those comments aired, Trump’s campaign issued a brief statement calling the abortion issue “unclear” and saying it “should be put back into the states for determination.” Trump later issued the formal statement saying abortion providers should be held responsible for the procedure, not women.So what's the correct way for an anti-choice Republican to answer this question? As it turns out, Ted Cruz was asked about abortion penalties at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January 2015. Here's that exchange:
QUESTIONER: ... If that view prevails and abortion is criminalized again, what do you think the penalty should be for a doctor who performs an abortion or a woman who obtains one? Should it be an administrative action, a fine, or should it be incarceration or something else? And would this be an example of when a conservative could really stand up and believe by taking a stand on that question?See, Donald? That's how you do it. When someone asks you about abortion penalties after the overturn of Roe, here's what you do:
TED CRUZ: You know, one of the things that I'm always amazed by in the media world is questions when it comes to the right to life -- a majority of Americans support the right to life -- questions that assume that that's somehow an unusual position to hold. It's interesting: Very few folks in the media, for example, ask President Obama about his vote in the Illinois state legislature against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. That was legislation that said, in the course of an abortion, if a child is born alive, is outside the mother's womb, is breathing and crying, the physician cannot then murder that infant. Barack Obama voted against that. That is a radical, extreme position. Fewer that ten percent of Americans believe with that position. And yet, when the media is gathered around the president, I don't recall ever seeing anyone ask that question. At the end of the day, I think we need to move to a culture that values and protects and cherishes human life.
QUESTIONER: So you don't support criminalization, then?
CRUZ: I am pro-life, and I think we need to protect every human life from the moment of conception until natural death.
You attack the questioner.
You attack the media.
You attack Barack Obama.
You tell them what a swell pro-life person you are.
You do everything except answer the question.
Incidentally, reporters in 2008 did ask Barack Obama about not voting for that bill in the Illinois legislature. He was asked by CBN's David Brody, in an interview that also aired on CNN. He was asked in an interview with the Christian magazine Relevant. He sent out a fact check, published online by the Chicago Tribune, in response to a post by a high-profile anti-abortion activist named Jill Stanek. The controversy was covered on CNN and in John Fund's Wall Street Journal column. (Obama said he feared the Illinois bill was worded in such a way that it could be used as a legal wedge to challenge Roe in court.) Oh, and he was attacked again for this during the 2012 campaign by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. So, yes, he faced plenty of questions about it. And he didn't whine about the fact that he was asked to defend his record while running for office.