Donald Trump sparked outrage Wednesday saying women who receive an abortion should face punishment if they're ever banned.
Trump made the comments during a town hall event that aired Wednesday night on MSNBC hosted by Chris Matthews. But because none of the Republican candidates have garnered enough delegates to secure the nomination they all need as many votes as they can get and abortion rights is a divisive issue.
This is the latest controversy stirred up by Donald Trump.
Chris Matthews: "Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?"
Donald Trump: "The answer is that, there has to be some form of punishment."
Chris Matthews: "For the woman?
Donald Trump: "Yes, there has to be some form."
Minutes later, Matthews asked if men should also be penalized.
Matthews: "Or is he not responsible for an abortion decisions?
Trump: "It hasn't, it hasn't, different feelings, different people, I would say, No."
None of the Republican candidates have enough delegates for the nomination, so they all need as many votes as they can get. It remains to be seen if today's comments will affect Trump's campaign.
An avalanche of criticism immediately followed.
Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton tweeted, "Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling. "
Three hours after the MSNBC interview the Trump campaign issued a statement retracting the idea of penalties for women.
"The doctor, or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman," said his campaign.
For pro-choice advocates the retraction is worse.
"That is even more insulting. It says that women can't make these decisions for themselves," said Amy Everitt of NARAL Pro Choice California.
State Republican party vice-chair Harmeet Dhillon made it clear Donald Trump is a presidential candidate and doesn't speak for the party. California's primary is still months away, but she believes voters have already decided who they'll support.
"Is this going to make of break Donald Trump and his vote in California? No, it's not," Dhillon said.
ABC7 News political analyst and Politico reporter Carla Marinucci says Trump's support among women voters is already low
"He's got the support of white men, but he has opened up a huge gender gap among women. Seventy-three percent of women say they have an unfavorable view of Trump, even almost half Republican women," Marinucci said.
California's primary is June 7.
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Donald Trump sparks outrage over abortion comments at town hall event
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