Donald Trump took 5 different positions aborti in 3 days

Donald Trump took 5 different positions on abortion in 3 days

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stirred up controversy when he said there should be some sort of punishment for women who have abortions. Heres a look back at how he evolved into his pro-life views. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

You can see the exact moment last week that Donald Trump made up his mind on whether women would face criminal punishment once he signed new restrictions into law. He is at a town hall with MSNBCs Chris Matthews, and, after Matthews badgers him for a while, he finally answers the question.

The answer is … that, Trump says, eyes looking to the side in thought, there has to be some form of punishment. He punctuates has with a hand gesture. Done. Final.

But as it turns out and as it has turned out repeatedly over the course of his life that was not, in fact, Trumps final position on the subject. This past week alone, he has held multiple contradicting positions, including that one. So we figured that a timeline was in order, so that you could see the date and time and know, concretely, what Trumps abortion position was at that moment.

Trump co-sponsored a dinner at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan (which he then owned) honoring Robin Chandler Duke, a former president of NARAL. He chose not to attend, theNew York Times reported, after his family was threatened by anti-abortion activists.

Ten years later, Trump appeared on NBC in an interview with Tim Russert. In a clip that has received newfound life during this election cycle, Trump defends his broadly liberal positions by explaining that he grew up in Manhattan, not Iowa.

Im very pro-choice, Trump says. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still I just believe in choice.

Russert clarifies his original point: Would you ban partial-birth abortion? No, Trump replies.

At some point between 1999 and 2011, Trumps position on abortion changed. He explained the reason for his switchduringthe first debate of 2015.

[W]hat happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasnt aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances.

In 2011, as he was toying with running, hetold activistsat the Conservative Political Action Conference that, among other conservative positions, I am pro-life [and] against gun control.

Shortly after announcing his candidacy, Trumpappeared on CNNin an interview with Jake Tapper. He got a little tripped up.

TAPPER: Let me ask you about a few social issues because they havent been issues you have been talking about for several years. I know youre opposed to abortion.

TAPPER: Youre pro-choice or pro-life?

The interview with Matthews is taped, and Trump asserts that women who receive abortions once the procedure is illegal will face punishment. The men are involved will not, he adds.

Before the MSNBC town hall even airs, a spokesperson for Trump releases a statement changing what he told Matthews.

[email protected] on abortion: says it should be put back to the states and hes pro life, like /rPaTXxTnd3

Ali Vitali (@alivitali)March 30, 2016

About an hour later, Trumps campaignreleasesa more formal statement regarding abortion. Its different than what he said to Matthews and his initial statement.

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 statement says, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. (Its worth noting that this is in line with the pro-life movements position.)

The statement includes a snippet written in the first person: My position has not changed like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

CBS releases an excerpt of its interview with Trump that aired Sunday morning.Asked againabout abortion, Trumps position seems to change yet again.

The laws are set now on abortion and thats the way theyre going to remain until theyre changed, he said, according to CBSs transcript. I wouldve preferred states rights. I think it wouldve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set…. At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.

Understandably, this is not well-received. The pro-life group Susan B. Anthony Listrepliesthat he had disqualified himself as the GOP nominee if this were his position.

Trump also offered a reason for his initial comments to Matthews: Ive been told by some people that was an older line answer and that was an answer that was given on a, you know, basis of an older line from years ago on a very conservative basis.

Again before the program airs, the Trump campaignre-frameswhat the candidate said.

Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now until he is president, it read. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.

Should Mr. Trumps position on abortion not be anything new or different again in the future, this article will be updated.

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