One of the classic “Gotcha!” questions to ask pro-birth people is this:
Who do you send to jail if someone gets an abortion after you outlaw abortion?
It’s a “Gotcha!” question because it puts conservatives in the position of having to think their rhetoric through to its fullest conclusion. If for some dumb reason this country were to outlaw abortion again, it would invariably mean punishments for those who seek them and for those who perform them, right? So that’s why usually it’s a question when asked of Republicans that they pivot as hard and fast away from as possible, usually with a vague deferential platitude to the sanctity of life.
Well, as per his usual, Donald Trump has just said, “Fuck all that shit.”
As reported by Reuters, Trump told MSNBC that there should “punishments” for women who seek abortions if the procedure is banned, which Trump said “we have to” do.
There has to be some form of punishment,” he said in the excerpt. Asked what form of punishment he would advocate, Trump said, “That I don’t know.” (source)
Make no mistake, Trump is just saying exactly what pro-birthers want to hear, and what Republican politicians for decades have wanted to come out and say but just didn’t have the balls to. Remember, they’re the party of “legitimate” rape. They’re the party of forced vaginal ultrasounds and laws that move the goal posts for meaningful life form existence just after ejaculation. Of course deep-down conservatives would love to put the women they consider “murderers” behind bars. They largely think just saying, “Don’t have sex until you’re married” is real birth control, or at the very least realistic birth control.
Trump’s statements are of course alarming, upsetting, and gross, but they shouldn’t be surprising to anyone with a passing knowledge of this election thus far. The bewigged bastard has made his bones saying all the horrific stuff that Republican voters wanted John McCain or Mitt Romney to say, but didn’t and thus were labeled RINOs. I can promise you that while his numbers will plummet to a new floor with thinking people, Trumps numbers within the Republican Party will surge yet again. He’s in rhetorical territory that even Christian Dominionist Ted Cruz can’t let himself traipse into, and believe it or not, that’s a good thing for Trump…not for the planet, but for Trump it is.
If anyone is looking for reasons as to why Trump is popular with about half the Republican voters, this is why. He will unabashedly feed them the red meat that candidates in the past had to dole out in smaller, subtler chunks. It has been a long time since someone with an (R) next to their name could just outright say that a woman seeking an abortion belongs behind bars. That’s because for a whole generation and more we’ve looked at abortion through more nuanced lenses, and realized that there are all manner of reasons why a woman would need, not just want, an abortion.
Apparently The Donald gives not one fuck about the optics of a statement like this. He doesn’t care that the immediate implication of his statement is that a victim of rape or incest would be thrown behind bars in his America for seeking an abortion to their rape pregnancy. It’s nearly comical what he’s doing now, because he’s testing the limits of public decency and decorum so nakedly and so aggressively it almost feels like he’s trying to break his satirical character’s fourth wall so that he can escape from the lunacy he’s wrapped himself up in.
I keep thinking that he will cross some event horizon of rhetorical drivel that will finally wake up the American electorate that is poised to nominate him, but it seems that Trump is made of Teflon in some respects. Normally this kind of talk would deep-six any candidate, but it won’t with Trump. So what’s the answer to Trump? Beating him at the polls. It’s that simple. And the eternal optimist inside me that hasn’t quite been choked to death inside of me thinks that even if he gets the Republican nomination, statements like these will weigh him down in the General Election so badly he’ll lose in a landslide.
The realist in me thinks I should start brushing up on my Canadian.