“Donald J. Trump, pressed Wednesday on his support for a ban on abortion and what it would mean in practice, said that ‘there has to be some form of punishment’ for women who have abortions,” as the New York Times is reporting.
“Less than three hours later, Mr. Trump revised himself, issuing a written statement saying that such a ban would criminalize only those performing the procedure, not the women getting abortions. ‘The woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb,’ he said.
“The revision may have set a land-speed record for a recanting of a controversial political pronouncement: Mr. Trump’s suggestion that women should be punished to enforce an abortion ban, which came in an interview on MSNBC, set off an immediate firestorm of bipartisan criticism.
“It was also the latest in a series of episodes that could be highly damaging to Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, in a general election. His approval ratings among women are already low nationally.
“Mr. Trump made the comments in a town-hall-style forum with the MSNBC host Chris Matthews that was prerecorded for broadcast Wednesday night. Mr. Matthews pressed Mr. Trump on his support for criminalizing abortion, asking him how he would enforce such a ban.”
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