Donald Trump tells MSNBC if abortion becomes illegal women should face "some sort of punishment." Trump was speaking at a taped town hall event with Republican voters in Wisconsin moderated by Chris Matthews. The town hall will air in its entirety at 8pm on MSNBC.
UPDATE BELOW: Trump releases statement.
Transcript below, via MSNBC:
MATTHEWS: Should the woman be punished? For having an abortion?
TRUMP: Well look.
MATTHEWS: This is not something you can dodge.
TRUMP: It’s not—
MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. Should abortion be punished?
TRUMP: Well people in certain parts of the Republican party and conservatives 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: 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: No I’m asking you because you say you want to ban it. What does that mean?
TRUMP: I am against. I am pro-life. Yes. I am pro-life.
MATTHEWS: How do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?
TRUMP: You know you’ll go back to a position like where they had where people perhaps will go to illegal places.
TRUMP: But you have to ban it. I’m against—
MATTHEWS: Yeah you ban it but they go to someone who flunked out of medical school and-
TRUMP: Are you Catholic?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I think I-I-I
TRUMP: And how do you feel about the Catholic church’s position?
MATTHEWS: I accept the teaching authority of my church on moral issues.
TRUMP: I know, but do you know what their position on abortion is?
MATTHEWS: Yes, I do.
TRUMP: And do you concur with that position?
MATTHEWS: I concur with their moral position but legally I want to get to the question—
TRUMP: No but let me ask you. What do you say about—
MATTHEWS: It’s not funny.
TRUMP: It’s really not funny. What do you say about your church? They’re very very strict.
MATTHEWS: The churches make their moral judgments, but you’re running for President of the United States to become Chief Executive of the United States. Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.
MATTHEWS: For the woman?
MATTHEWS: 10 cents, 10 years, what?
TRUMP: I don’t know. That I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: Well why not, you take positions on everything else.
UPDATE: Trump released a statement that says he would hold doctor accountable, not the woman, for performing an abortion if the practice was deemed illegal. The statement:
If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed - like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.