Donald Trump Wouldn't Punish Men For Abortion

by Alex Gladu

Donald Trump's campaign for president has come with no shortage of incidents that would make Chrissy Teigen cringe in her totally GIF-worthy way. The current GOP frontrunner and potential nominee started his latest fire on Wednesday when he said that he would ban abortion, and that women who undergo the procedure should then be punished. According to his interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthew, though, Trump would only punish women over abortions, not the men who got them pregnant. Cue the cringe.

At a town hall event hosted by MSNBC in Appleton, Wisconsin, Matthews repeatedly asked Trump to clarify his stance on the issue. He asked Trump, "Should abortion be punished?" In typical fashion, the candidate attempted to avoid giving a clear answer. Instead, he tried to turn the question around on Matthews, asking about his religion and his thoughts on the Catholic Church. Finally, Matthew was able to coax responses out of Trump: "There has to be some form of punishment [for the woman]."

Then, Matthews asked Trump if the man involved in the pregnancy should be punished. To that, Trump said, "... different feelings, different people ... I would say no." By the end of the segment, Trump had revealed that although he is pro-life with "three exceptions," he would support women being punished for getting abortions, but that he would not support punishment for the men who were also responsible for the pregnancy. Cue the cringe again.

Tom Lynn/Getty Images News/Getty Images

After the interview aired Wednesday, Trump's campaign released a statement, probably in the hope of doing damage control. According to the statement, Trump would seek to punish the doctors who perform abortions, and not the women who have them. The statement made no mention of the men involved in aborted pregnancies.

It probably goes without saying at this point that Trump has a knack for outrageous sound bites. He has faulted Mexico for sending "rapists" across the border and has alluded to the size of his penis, just to name two examples. But this latest incident is more than a one-off comment. Trump faltered his entire way through the interview, attempting to distract Matthews from his questions by starting a conversation about the Catholic Church and its stance on abortion. Is that what Americans have to look forward to under a President Trump? Sure, all candidates have sneaky ways of avoiding questions they don't want to answer, but most of them probably don't begin to attack their interviewers.

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Then there's the obvious elephant in the room: the gender divide. Although his campaign later "clarified" Trump's opinions on potential abortion penalties, it's troubling that his go-to answer under pressure was that women should be punished, but not men. I'm going to assume that Trump knows how pregnancy occurs (refer to the aforementioned allusion to his penis). It obviously requires two people. Therefore, does it not seem a bit ridiculous to Trump that a woman would be fined, imprisoned, or otherwise punished for having an abortion because of her anatomy, but a man would bear no responsibility because of his own anatomy? Surely, there's more to the decision to have an abortion than that.

Sure, not every pregnancy occurs in an idyllic relationship. Not every decision regarding abortion is made after a calm, reasonable conversation between two adults. But by leaving men free of any consequences, Trump's plan would by default condone a man's lack of involvement in the pregnancy he helped to create. If Republicans want to celebrate the miracle of human life by outlawing abortion, they wouldn't exactly be telling men to honor the importance of a pregnancy with Trump's consequence-free plan. Abortion generally isn't a decision that anyone wants to make, but it's a decision that might be made more fairly if men assume the same responsibility as women for a pregnancy.

Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Granted, this wouldn't even be a point of contention if abortion were easily accessible nationwide. (Just saying.) While plenty of men would likely step up and assume responsibility for a pregnancy, even an unanticipated one, Trump's plan to punish women and not men creates an inherently unequal playing field and a slippery slope. It takes two to tango and two to make a baby, but it's going to take a lot more than two people to stop Trump's outrageous rise to the top of the polls.