Trump reverses position on punishment for women seeking abortions

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Donald Trump reversed his position on punishment for women who seek abortions in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, just hours after saying on MSNBC that they should receive ‘‘some form of punishment.’’

“The doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” Trump said in a statement released by his campaign. “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.”

The move is a reversal of what Trump said earlier in a heated exchange with MSNBC host Chris Matthews during the taping of a town hall in Green Bay, Wis.


“There has to be some form of punishment” for women, Trump said earlier.

Trump described himself as ‘‘pro-life with three exceptions.’’ He has said many times that he is in favor of exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.

Pressed by Matthews on the nature of that punishment, Trump responded, ‘‘I haven’t determined what the punishment should be.’’

Trump has been criticized by some conservatives for his flip-flop on the issue of abortion, and has said that his stance has evolved. At a Fox News debate last August, Trump said: ‘‘I've evolved on many issues over the years. ... Ronald Reagan evolved on many issues.’’