Is Trump Completely Wrong About ‘Punishing’ Women for Having an Illegal Abortion?

Written by Michael Cummings on April 1, 2016

This week Donald Trump actually said something that aligns with many of those who cherish innocent life. While MSNBC’s Chris Matthews hammered away on an “abortion is illegal” hypothetical, Trump offered the following response
“You go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places,” Mr. Trump said, after initially deflecting questions. “But you have to ban it.”

He added, after a bit more prodding, “There has to be some form of punishment [for the mother].”

Screech! Retreat, retreat
Later, however, Trump clarified his position, saying in a campaign statement that, if abortion is banned, “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.” 

Ted Cruz responded
“Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn’t seriously thought through the issues, and he’ll say anything just to get attention,” Cruz said in a statement. 

“On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother — and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life. 

“Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” he added. 

First, let’s define abortion: The intentional act of ending the life of a baby for no other reason than the desire of the mother not to be pregnant. Medical procedures intended to save a mother whose health is at risk due to the pregnancy, that may result in the death of the baby, do not constitute abortion.  
If a woman knowingly and willingly has unprotected sex, becomes pregnant, and has an abortion, she is not a victim; the baby is. However, if a woman is raped or has incestuous sex that results in pregnancy, she is a victim, and both she and the baby deserve tender care and protection. But in no situation does a baby deserve to be murdered.  

The politics of this issue muddy the waters because any position a local, state, or federal candidate takes on abortion will often be stated from a personal perspective, and then what he or she believes should be legal. Most Republican candidates say they’re pro life with the exception of rape or incest, and then dodge the question by saying it’s up to the states to determine legality and penalty. It’s an expedient and practical response, but one that doesn’t answer the question. 

Candidates or otherwise, we are pro life or we are not. If we are to charge, hold trial for, convict, and penalize those who would perform abortions, are we not obligated to do the same for mothers who choose by their own free will to get an abortion? Do I believe such a woman deserves a first degree murder charge? I don’t know. But what does it say about us that we would punish only one of the willing perpetrators? 

If you’ve had an abortion, I do not condemn you; I pray for you. Whether you regret your decision or not (odds are you do, tremendously). if you were to tell me your story directly, I would give you as much love and understanding as I could, and I would not deny you friendship. But that doesn’t mean I condone the taking of innocent life.

To add to what Cruz said, we must become a culture that respects innocent life at all stages – viability and the other, stupid excuses in support of abortion be damned. We must help women facing an unwanted pregnancy such that if they are unable or unwilling to raise a child, that we make adoption easier and more cost effective so couples and families desperate to love another life can take over. 

Share if you agree Donald Trump’s statement on abortion and punishment has raised some important questions.

Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.