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A Republican candidate for Idaho’s lieutenant governor has suggested penalizing women who have an abortion with the death penalty. However, hours after confirming his position with the Associated Press, Bob Nonini has walked it back.
When pressed by moderators on what should be included as part of this punishment, Nonini nodded when asked if he supported the death penalty as possible retribution.
Two of his four challengers who were also invited to the forum, GOP businesswoman Janice McGeachin and former Idaho Republican Party chairman Steve Yates, agreed with Nonini that abortion is murder, but did not show the same support for charging a woman with first-degree murder.
McGeachin said she cannot support a woman facing the death penalty for having an abortion and that Idaho must prevent that from happening. Yates said he has no problem with criminalization, but questioned how effective criminalizing women would be for preventing abortion.
The AP reported that Nonini later confirmed his position with the publication in a phone interview. He added that his wife, Cathyanne, did not share his endorsement of the death penalty though they’re both “devout Catholics.”
However, hours later, Nonini issued a statement walking back his death penalty stance, stating that he never said nor agreed the death penalty should be an option and reaffirming his support of overturning Roe v. Wade in order to dissuade women from having abortions and prosecute abortion providers.
“…It is my understanding that in the history of the United States, long before Roe was foisted upon this country; no woman has ever been prosecuted for undergoing abortion. That is for practical reasons, as well as for reasons of compassion. Prosecutions have always been focused on the abortionist,” Nonini’s statement read. “There is no way a woman would go to jail let alone face the death penalty. The statute alone, the threat of prosecution, would dramatically reduce abortion. That is my goal.”
Nonini’s previous stance is one that’s been supported by several anti-abortion groups in the state. Last year, Abolish Abortion Idaho launched a ballot petition to charge both women and providers with first-degree murder. Republican state Sen. Dane Forman has also previously introduced legislation for the first-degree murder charge for both parties, but the proposal was never heard.
On a larger scale, President Donald Trump led with a similar sentiment on the 2016 campaign trail when he said women should receive “some sort of punishment” for getting abortions. His campaign later backtracked as well.
Read Nonini’s full statement below:
LET ME BE CLEAR - I have always been a pro-life supporter. That means classifying abortion as murder. Since abortion is...Posted by Bob Nonini on Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.