It’s said that the true definition of a political “gaffe” is when a politician accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head, and Donald Trump’s latest comments about punishing women for having abortions couldn’t be a better example.
The fact is that the anti-abortion policies supported by Donald Trump and the Republican Party would inevitably make criminals out of women for exercising their constitutional rights to abortion care. If abortion is declared a crime, then by definition the women seeking abortions would be engaged in criminal activity.
In fact, women are already being criminally prosecuted for trying to end an unplanned, unwanted or unhealthy pregnancy. Thirty-eight states have enacted fetal homicide laws, and women who have attempted to self-induce an abortion, or to purchase abortion medication via the internet, have been prosecuted and imprisoned.
Right wing politicians have devised a long list of other ways to punish women who seek abortions, including mandatory ultrasounds, biased counseling, 48-hour or even 72-hour waiting periods, and TRAP laws designed to shut down abortion clinics by imposing unnecessary and expensive regulations, like the Texas law now before the Supreme Court.
It may be that Donald Trump isn’t satisfied that only 73% of women voters dislike him, and he’s going for 90% or higher. But Trump is far from alone in looking for ways that government can punish or prosecute women for seeking reproductive health care. The candidate who boasts, “I know words, I have the best words” knows exactly what he’s saying, and how many other Republicans agree with him.