The Big Problem With Donald Trump's Abortion Remarks Blatantly Ignores The Other Half
GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump caused a massive stir on both sides of the aisle when he said that he would ban abortion and suggested that women would then be "punished" for having one. This has seen pro-choice and anti-abortion activists alike come together in a collective "Oh, hell no." The backlash against Trump's comments was so strong that the businessman recanted his statement less than three hours later, claiming that he meant that doctors who perform abortions would be ones "punished" under his proposed nationwide criminalization of the procedure. But there's another big problem with Trump's abortion point-of-view. He also said that any man who gets a woman pregnant in the first place would not be punished in any way after the procedure was performed.
Trump made these remarks during an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday. In addition to his heinous statements about women, he made odd comments about religion and the authenticity behind anti-choice stances. The meat of the interview was an exchange in which Matthews repeatedly asked Trump how he actually planned to deal with abortion as a criminal act under the law.
After Trump suggested that women should be "punished" for getting an abortion, the MSNBC reporter brought up the fact that a man would most likely also be involved in this scenario. He asked the former reality television star: "What about the guy that gets her pregnant? Is he responsible under the law for these abortions? Or is he not responsible for an abortion?" Trump hesitated, saying, "Well, it hasn’t — it hasn’t — different feelings, different people," but ultimately settled on, "I would say no."
This type of rhetoric works twofold against women. It places all of the responsibility of the decision on a woman while simultaneously stripping her of all autonomy. It gives her the power to make a mistake, but no power to make a real choice. By absolving the man from the scenario entirely, Trump calls upon age-old sexism that is more than willing to place blame on a woman, but gives her no agency to refute, claim, or share that blame. She must bear the responsibility alone, despite the fact that she did not become pregnant alone, and just as well may have come to the decision to have an abortion with the help of a partner.
This way of thinking is toxic. In a U.S. dictated by Trump's law, women would be offered no protections, yet would be criminalized for seeking them. And men, likewise, would not be held accountable for sex, fetuses, or babies. The ramifications would be far-reaching. As voters have seen from Trump's statements on women in the past, his usual rhetoric is just the tip of the iceberg. This ban on abortion, criminalization of women, and massive pass for men is a terrifying manifestation of the hateful things the GOP frontrunner spouts off on a daily basis.