Trump’s remaining GOP rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is unabashedly anti-abortion.
There was a time, however, when Trump said he was pro-choice. But he’s flip-flopped on the issue.
In his latest pronouncement, Trump caused an uproar when he proclaimed that women who seek abortions should face “some form of punishment” during a town hall television event in Wisconsin.
Within hours, however, he was modifying his position. Instead, he said doctors and other medical personnel should be prosecuted for performing abortions. He declared that a woman and the life in her womb would be “victims.”
“The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” Trump said in a statement released to news reporters.
“The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed.”
Trump initially said just the opposite during an interview earlier in the day with MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews. He replied yes, when asked if he favored legal penalties for a woman who chooses to have an abortion.
In a further modification of his position, Trump later said the issue should be resolved at the state level. Many interpret that position as tantamount to overturning Roe v. Wade.
The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision held by a 7–2 vote that the right to privacy guaranteed under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion.
Conservatives and the religious right have been trying to roll back the decision ever since.
Generations have come of age since then, and likely have no collective memory of back-alley abortions. But prior to the ruling abortion was considered crime and both the doctor and the woman faced potential prosecution.
They were only available in most states if it could be medically certified that the life of the woman was in danger.
Although some doctors and trained medical professionals still performed abortions, those services were only available to the wealthy, who could pay substantial fees for the procedure.
Poor women and young teens seeking an abortion without their parents’ permission were often forced to use “home remedies” or unlicensed and often ill-trained abortionists, according to Health Research Funding, a non-profit group.
As many as 10,000 women a year died from botched abortions, a number colored by the fact that many cases likely went unreported, according to the organization.
If Trump or another “pro-life president is elected and Roe v. Wade is overturned, women are unlikely to stop seeking abortions, or trying to perform the procedure themselves, the group said.
The victims are likely to be society’s vulnerable–the poor, uneducated and young women between the ages of 15 and 24, who are most likely to seek an abortion, according to the group.
Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest on the presidential campaign.