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Why Everyone Hates What Donald Trump Said About Abortion

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 4/04/2016 Kicker

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Fact: About 30% of American women get an abortion by the time they turn 45.
Fact: Donald Trump is the front-runner to get the Republican nomination for president.
Fact: Abortion is is a serious issue to many American voters.
So it matters, a lot, what Trump's views on abortion and abortion policy are.
Yesterday, Donald Trump said 2 key things about abortion:
1. "You have to ban it."
2. If and when you do ban abortion, "there has to be some form of punishment" for women who get illegal abortions.
These two simple statements infuriated both conservatives and liberals.
Let's take a step back from all of the controversy and fury and examine what is really going on here:

What did Trump actually say about abortion, in context?


Trump has often complained about being the target of the media. Sometimes an out-of-context clip of him gets blown up to an insane proportion, and attracts both adoration and disdain.
So let's watch and listen to what he said, in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews:

Trump mentioned that while he was originally pro-choice, his stance has since changed.
His authenticity as a pro-lifer has frequently been questioned during the entity of this election, including in an ad for Ted Cruz's campaign.

BTW, here is the full context to those remarks:

Trump may have thought his comments this week on banning abortion would help to solidify his stance as a pro-life conservative, but his comments have sparked outrage on both sides.

What does the pro-life movement think?


If you're pro-choice, you might think pro-lifers would agree with Trump that if abortion is banned, women who get illegal abortions should get some kind of punishment. But they definitely do not.
Actually, many pro-life activists are cringing. They worry that Donald Trump will fuel a "caricature" about their movement because of his seeming lack of knowledge and uncomfortable nature about the topic.
March for Life, a pro-life advocacy group, said this:

That being said, there are still some people who side with him, or at least understand his logic. After all, usually if you get or even try to get something that's legally banned, there are criminal consequences.

Abortions used to be illegal--were women punished then?


Criminally? No.
Abortions were illegal until 1973, when the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade legalized it.

Before that, when it was illegal, there were restrictive laws--but not ones that criminally prosecuted women who would get abortions.
But restrictive laws can be even as damaging--as "punishing"--as prosecution laws.
Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens believes Trump's statement is an extension of other anti-abortion laws passed by the GOP that make it harder for women to get abortions.

One example is Governor John Kasich's reproductive rights reforms in Ohio: Since entering office in 2011, he has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures. Including restricting services and cutting funding.

Well, who all is mad it Trump over this?


Almost everyone.
All 4 of the other presidential hopefuls have gone after him, both Republicans and Democrats.

Many Democrats and pro-choice advocates feel like Trump's statements were just a peek behind the curtain revealing the true opinions of the Republican party.

These comments are also being added to a larger, long existing, narrative that Trump is anti-woman.
This video compiles some of the insults that Trump has made about women:

General public opinion tends to see Trump in this negative light.

It's starting to be seen as an electability issue for Trump. Right now relatively few women say they could vote for him.

How Trump is flip-flopping and backpedaling


Trump has since tried to take his statements back. By comparing himself to Ronald Reagan, the hero of the Republican party.
When he was governor of California, Reagan was relatively lenient on abortion but became more conservative about the issue as president:
"By the way, you know who else evolved? Ronald Reagan evolved. Because Ronald Reagan signed one of the toughest abortion laws in favor of abortion in California that had been signed in many, many years. ... He wasn't very conservative, but he was a pretty conservative president."

He also released this press statement:

And his campaign has been making efforts to make amends, including having a spokeswoman for his campaign make the rounds and explain that Trump "misspoke."

Both Ben Carson and Governor Chris Christie have also come out to defend Trump. Carson said:
"Well, bear in mind, I don't believe that he was warned that that question was coming, and I don't think he really had a chance to really think about it."

But here's what many people on both sides are thinking: Donald Trump is running for president of the United States, so he should probably have a coherent policy about an issue as important as abortion.
Do the explanations that Trump "misspoke" and has "evolved" on abortion convince you? Or is this uproar just another example of how Trump, in the view of many on both left AND the right, isn't nearly disciplined or prepared enough to be president?

This article was written by Allison Hollender and originally appeared on Kicker. Kicker explains the most important, compelling things going on in the world and empowers you to get in the know, make up your own mind, and take action. For more, check out the Kicker site, like their Facebook page, or subscribe to their email newsletter.

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