Donald Trump Provides a Crazy Explanation for Those Abortion Comments

Trump suggests women will want to "punish themselves" for seeking abortions. Yeah, that's not how that works.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Remember when Donald Trump inadvertently exposed a reality behind the anti-abortion movement—namely that if you make it illegal for women to obtain abortions, you must inevitably criminalize abortions and therefore have some form of punishment for women who seek illegal abortions? 

And then remember the next day when he abruptly walked back his position, claiming he would only punish the people performing the abortions, not the women seeking them, as if that did not also punish women.

Well, in a New York Times profile by journalist Robert Draper, Trump insisted he was completely misinterpreted when he suggested punishing women in the first place. 

“I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison,” Trump told Draper (“unconvincingly,” as Draper puts it). “I’m saying women punish themselves,” Trump continued. “I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back.” 

According to Draper, Trump originally “saw nothing wrong with his remark” and refused to backtrack on the suggestion that women should be punished for obtaining abortions. But once media outlets inundated his campaign with request for specifics on how women should be punished, Trump asked New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s team to draft a statement that would appease social conservatives and moderate voters.

Trump later added that his position on Planned Parenthood makes women’s issues “a very good issue for me.” Trump, of course, takes a less-than-insane approach to the health clinic, suggesting Planned Parenthood is a valuable organization that “does wonderful things.” 

Still, he insists his administration would seek to  deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood if it continues to provide abortions (despite the fact that the organization can’t use federal funding to pay for abortions in the first place).

“I’m going to be better to women on women’s issues than Hillary Clinton and everybody else combined,” Trump told Draper in the profile.

Sure—if we really want to punish ourselves.

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Elizabeth Preza is the Managing Editor of AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.