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Women say they #WontBePunished for their abortions, despite Trump’s comments
Women explain to the presidential candidate why they don’t deserve his scorn.
Donald Trump pissed off a good portion of the population yet again on Wednesday when he asserted that women who have abortions should “receive some form of punishment.” Now women are sharing their outrage over the presidential candidate’s comments by saying they #WontBePunished for supporting and having an abortion—a procedure that has been legal in the U.S. for more than 40 years.
The comment came during an MSNBC town hall event in response to a question from host Chris Matthews: “Do you believe in punishment for abortion—yes or no—as a principal?”
“The answer is, there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said. “For the woman?” Matthews clarified. To which Trump replied yes, but that he didn’t know exactly what that punishment should be. He also added that the men who impregnated the women should not be subject to punishment.
MSNBC reporter Ali Vitali first reported the quote via Twitter. And from there, people went completely nuts.
Cecile Richard, president of Planned Parenthood, was quick to respond with “this from a man who wants to be president of the United States of America, in 2016. And he is dangerously close.” Fellow presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton also chimed in with “just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling.”
Wendy Davis, the former Texas state senator best known for her 13-hour fillibuster against a bill that would gut abortion rights in her state, naturally had strong feelings about Trump’s condemnation of the legal procedure.
In an open letter to Trump (who she refers to as “Drumpf,” a joke from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver) on Feministing, Renee Bracey Sherman, a prominent abortion rights activist, wrote frankly and unapologetically about her own abortion.
You see, Mr. Drumpf, I had an abortion when I was 19. I am not ashamed of it. I am not ‘a victim’. My abortion provider did not prey on me and did not commit a crime. I became pregnant when I didn’t plan on it, and I went to my abortion provider for care. I received compassionate care, which I am thankful for over a decade later. And like 95 percent of women, I don’t regret my abortion. We aren’t scared of you anymore. We are sharing our abortion stories unapologetically. I’m sure it scares you and your ilk, but with the climate you have created, we have nothing more to lose.
There are so many of us who have had abortions – 1.3 million per year. We’re a third of women. Are you really going to punish us all? Everyone loves someone who had had an abortion – even you Mr. Drumpf, although you probably don’t believe it.
But not just politicians and activists were disturbed by Trump’s comments, women and men from all walks of life took to Twitter to share their dissent and stories.
Shortly after his controversial statement, Trump’s campaign released a clarification of his remarks.
“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed—like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”
In response to Wednesday’s outcry, Planned Parenthood Votes and Priorities USA launched a five-figure digital ad slamming Trump’s comments.
“Donald Trump’s clear disregard for women’s health and lives is staggering,” said Deirdre Schifeling, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, wrote in a statement. “We know what it looks like to see women punished for having an abortion: It is already happening across this country, and the consequences are devastating.”
Over at Slate, Christina Cauterucci echoes Schifeling’s sentiment that women are already punished for their abortions, writing that some must travel great distances and move through crowds of protestors to get to clinics, while the poor are disproportionately affected since they are unable to use Medicaid to pay for the procedure.
In short, the America that Trump envisions is, in some ways, already here.
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.