Thursday Reads: Only One Presidential Candidate Understands The Full Significance of Reproductive Rights


Good Afternoon!!

The political issue that is most on my mind today is the reactions of the candidates to remarks Donald Trump made on abortion in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews yesterday. You can read the full transcript at The Guardian. An excerpt:

MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished?

TRUMP: Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and Conservative Republicans would say, “yes, they should be punished.”

MATTHEWS: How about you?

TRUMP: I would say that it’s a very serious problem. And it’s a problem that we have to decide on. It’s very hard.

MATTHEWS: But you’re for banning it?

TRUMP: I’m going to say — well, wait. Are you going to say, put them in jail? Are you — is that the (inaudible) you’re talking about?

MATTHEWS: Well, no, I’m asking you because you say you want to ban it. What does that mean?

TRUMP: I would — I am against — I am pro-life, yes.

MATTHEWS: What is ban — how do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?

TRUMP: Well, you know, you will go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places


TRUMP: But you have to ban it

MATTHEWS: You banning, they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school….


Trump begins talking about the Catholic Church’s position, interrogating Matthews on whether he agrees (Matthews is a Catholic).

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment

MATTHEWS: For the woman

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form

MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?

TRUMP: Let me just tell you — I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.


TRUMP: I don’t know.

MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.

TRUMP: Because I don’t want to — I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.

MATTHEWS: But you say, one, that you’re pro-life meaning that you want to ban it


More efforts by Trump to deflect to the fact that Matthews is a Catholic.

MATTHEWS: I’m asking you, what should a woman face if she chooses to have an abortion?

TRUMP: I’m not going to do that.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

TRUMP: I’m not going to play that game.


TRUMP: You have…

MATTHEWS: You said you’re pro-life.

TRUMP: I am pro-life.

MATTHEWS: That means banning abortion

TRUMP: And so is the Catholic Church pro-life.

MATTHEWS: But they don’t control the — this isn’t Spain, the Church doesn’t control the government

TRUMP: What is the punishment under the Catholic Church? What is the…

MATTHEWS: Let me give something from the New Testament, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Don’t ask me about my religion.

TRUMP: No, no…

MATTHEWS: I’m asking you. You want to be president of the United States.

TRUMP: You told me that…

MATTHEWS: You tell me what the law should be.

TRUMP: I have — I have not determined…

MATTHEWS: Just tell me what the law should be. You say you’re pro-life.

TRUMP: I am pro-life.

MATTHEWS: What does that mean

TRUMP: With exceptions. I am pro-life.

I have not determined what the punishment would be.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

TRUMP: Because I haven’t determined it

MATTHEWS: When you decide to be pro-life, you should have thought of it. Because…

TRUMP: No, you could ask anybody who is pro-life…

MATTHEWS: OK, here’s the problem — here’s my problem with this, if you don’t have a punishment for abortion — I don’t believe in it, of course — people are going to find a way to have an abortion.

TRUMP: You don’t believe in what?

MATTHEWS: I don’t believe in punishing anybody for having an abortion

TRUMP: OK, fine. OK, (inaudible)/

MATTHEWS: Of course not. I think it’s a woman’s choice.

TRUMP: So you’re against the teachings of your Church?

MATTHEWS: I have a view — a moral view — but I believe we live in a free country, and I don’t want to live in a country so fascistic that it could stop a person from making that decision.

TRUMP: But then you are…

MATTHEWS: That would be so invasive.

TRUMP: I know but I’ve heard you speaking…

MATTHEWS: So determined of a society that I wouldn’t able — one we are familiar with. And Donald Trump, you wouldn’t be familiar with.

TRUMP: But I’ve heard you speaking so highly about your religion and your Church.


TRUMP: Your Church is very, very strongly as you know, pro-life.


TRUMP: What do you say to your Church?

MATTHEWS: I say, I accept your moral authority. In the United States, the people make the decision, the courts rule on what’s in the Constitution, and we live by that. That’s why I say.

TRUMP: Yes, but you don’t live by it because you don’t accept it. You can’t accept it. You can’t accept it. You can’t accept it.

MATTHEWS: Can we go back to matters of the law and running for president because matters of law, what I’m talking about, and this is the difficult situation you’ve placed yourself in.

By saying you’re pro-life, you mean you want to ban abortion. How do you ban abortion without some kind of sanction? Then you get in that very tricky question of a sanction, a fine on human life which you call murder?

TRUMP: It will have to be determined.

MATTHEWS: A fine, imprisonment for a young woman who finds herself pregnant?

TRUMP: It will have to be determined.

MATTHEWS: What about the guy that gets her pregnant? Is he responsible under the law for these abortions? Or is he not responsible for an abortion?

TRUMP: Well, it hasn’t — it hasn’t — different feelings, different people. I would say no.

MATTHEWS: Well, they’re usually involved.

I applaud Chris Matthews on forcing Trump to demonstrate some of the problems with banning abortion. Trump actually said that we would go back to the time when women had to get illegal abortions, and that they should be punished if they made that choice. But the men who were also involved in the creating unwanted or dangerous pregnancies and in making the decision to end those pregnancies should not be punished. 


Matthews could have been talking to any “pro-life” candidate, and if he or she were pushed on the practical results of their policies they might be similarly confused. Because that might mean sending women to jail. As Matthews pointed out, the Church does not control the U.S. government, and candidates who think abortion is a crime should not make decisions about women’s bodies and their choices. These choices are complex and they should be private.

How did the Democratic candidates respond to Trump’s remarks?

From CNN:

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton pounced on Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday on MSNBC that abortion should be banned and women who receive one should should face “some form of punishment,” seeking to tie it the entire GOP field.

Hours later, Trump reversed his initial position — criticized as extreme by both supporters and opponents of abortion rights — saying only the doctors should be held liable.
“The Republicans all line up together,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“Now maybe they aren’t quite as open about it as Donald Trump was earlier today, but they all have the same position,” she said, noting anti-abortion positions taken by both John Kasich and Ted Cruz. “If you make abortion a crime — you make it illegal — then you make women and doctors criminals.”
“Why is it, I ask myself, Republicans want limited government, except when it comes to women’s health?” she said.
Many Trump’s critics have sought to paint him as hostile to women, and Clinton said she largely agreed with that assessment.


You can watch Clinton’s full interview with Anderson Cooper at the link. I couldn’t find a full interview with Sanders on this other than the one he did with Rachel Maddow. He apparently sent out a tweet calling Trump’s remarks shameful. This is what he told Maddow in a lengthy interview yesterday.

MADDOW:  After, uh, the word spread that Donald Trump had made those remarks today about abortion, that a woman needs to be punished, uh, if she seeks an abortion and abortion should be banned, you said today that was shameful.

What is shameful about it?

SANDERS:  Well, I think it is — shameful is probably understating that position.  First of all, to me, and I think to most Americans, women have the right to control their own bodies and they have the right to make those personal decisions themselves.

But to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension.  I — I just — you know, one would say what is in Donald Trump’s mind except we’re tired of saying that?

I don’t know what world this person lives in.  So obviously, from my perspective, and if elected president, I will do everybody that I can to allow women to make that choice and have access to clinics all over this country so that if they choose to have an abortion, they will be able to do so.

The idea of punishing a woman, that is just, you know, beyond comprehension.

Maddow tried to press Sanders, asking if Cruz may be even worse on the abortion issue than Trump.

Uh, look, they have nothing to say.  All they can appeal is to a small number of people who feel very rabid, very rabid about a particular issue, whether it’s abortion or maybe whether it’s gay marriage.  That is their constituency.  They have nothing of substance.

You know, you mentioned a moment ago, Rachel, that the media is paying attention to Donald Trump.


No kidding.  Once again, every stupid remark will be broadcast, you know, for the next five days.

But what is Donald Trump’s position on raising the minimum wage?

Well, he doesn’t think so.

What is Donald Trump’s position on wages in America?

Well, he said in a Republican debate he thinks wages are too high.

What’s Donald Trump’s position on taxes?

Well, he wants to give billionaire families like himself hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks.

What is Donald Trump’s position on climate change?

Oh, he thinks it’s a hoax perpetrated, shock of all shock, by the Chinese.  You know, on and on it goes.

But because media is what media is today, any stupid, absurd remark made by Donald Trump becomes the story of the week.  Maybe, just maybe, we might want to have a serious discussion about the serious issues facing America.  Donald Trump will not look quite so interesting in that context.

MADDOW:  Are you suggesting, though, that the media shouldn’t be focusing on his call to potentially jail women who have abortions?  Because that’s another stupid —

SANDERS:  I am saying that every day he comes up with another stupid remark, absurd remark, of course it should be mentioned.  But so should Trump’s overall positions.  How much talk do we hear about climate change, Rachel?  And Trump?  Any?

I heard that as exactly what Maddow suggested: To Sanders, the issue of women’s reproductive rights is just another “stupid” social issue–nowhere near as important as income inequality, increasing the minimum wage, and the other economic issues that Sanders focuses on.


And here is what Hillary Clinton told Rachel Maddow last night, from Politicus USA.

“What Donald Trump said today was outrageous and dangerous. And you know I am just constantly taken aback by the kinds of things that he advocates for. Maya Angelou said, ‘When someone show you who they are, believe them.’ And once again he has showed us who he is. The idea that he and all of the Republicans espouse that abortion should be illegal is one that is not embraced by the vast majority of Americans. And in fact as he pointed out, if it were illegal, then women and doctors would be criminals.”

“I think not only women, men, but all Americans need to understand that this kind of inflammatory, destructive rhetoric is on the outer edges of what is permitted under our Constitution, what we believe in, and people should reject it.”

“Women in particular must know that this right which we have guaranteed under the Constitution could be taken away, and that’s why the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher.”

Maddow explained that Trump walked it back and then wanted to punish doctors. Clinton made the point that women have the right to their own autonomy. Criminalizing doctors for helping women have medical authority over their own bodies doesn’t make this better.

Maddow said that she spoke with Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s 2016 primary opponent, and that Sanders was critical of Trump’s remark but he also thinks it’s another “Donald Trump stupid” remark that will be covered by the media ad nauseam as opposed to issues like taxes, climate change, minimum wage that might be more deserving of extended attention.

Maddow asked Clinton if she agreed, and Clinton said she doesn’t think the media is making too much of this, “No, absolutely not. I’ve been on the front lines of the fight to preserve a woman’s choice and ability to make these difficult decisions… I’ve been a leader in trying to make sure that our rights as women were not in any way eroded.”

“To think that this is an issue that is not deserving of reaction just demonstrates a lack of appreciation for how serious this is,” Clinton said. “This goes to the heart of who we are as women, what kinds of rights and choices we have, it certainly is as important as any economic issue because when it’s all stripped away so much of the Republican agenda is to turn the clock back on women.”

It is easy for even liberals and progressives to forget that without legal and safe abortion, women die. This is no small issue. This is one of the issues of 2016. It is economic, it is about personal freedom, it is a matter of life and death. Hillary Clinton punches back even when others will not. She sees this issue for what it is.

control women

This is why we need a woman POTUS. This is why we need Hillary. These interviews by Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow represent the first time anyone at a debate or “town hall” has seriously asked candidates to talk about women’s reproductive rights.

Donald Trump showed us why putting a Republican in the White House in 2016 would be dangerous for women.

Bernie Sanders showed us that he “supports” abortion rights, but doesn’t think this issue rises to the importance of his rants on economic issues like income inequality, Wall Street corruption, and the minimum wage. He clearly doesn’t understand that abortion and birth control are also important economic issues.

Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate who understands the important of these so-called “women’s issues.” She is the only one who will speak for women and girls in a serious way if she is elected to the presidency.

What do you think? Please discuss this post or any other topic you wish in the comment thread, and have a terrific Thursday.

55 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Only One Presidential Candidate Understands The Full Significance of Reproductive Rights”

  1. NW Luna says:

    Fantastic post, BB!

    “Any right that requires you to take extraordinary means to access it is no right at all.” Hillary is the clear and urgent choice.

  2. dakinikat says:

    This headline says it all: Hillary Clinton Punches Back Hard for Women When No One Else Does

    Tonight during the MSNBC town hall with Rachel Maddow, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked about Donald Trump’s earlier terrifying comments that he wanted to ban abortion and punish women for getting one. Clinton punched back hard as only someone who truly understands the nature of this attack and what it means for women could do.

  3. What a great post bb, wonderful. Taking Bebe bake to hospital now. Dr wants to see her again. She is feverish and bleeding a little more. Love you.

  4. BB,
    Great coverage of the candidates & the issues for women in this election.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Great points by Callum Borchers on how Chris Matthews was able to “trip up” Trump on the abortion issue by refusing to stick to “objective” journalism.

    • janicen says:

      Interesting. When I watched the replay of the interview I cringed when Matthews started answering Trump’s questions but I guess it was a smart play.

  6. Enheduanna says:

    Wow – could Bernie suck more on women’s issues? He still refuses to diversify his message (and mind maybe?). Surely he’s been counseled on the optics of downplaying racial, LGBT and gender-based issues. I don’t believe for a minute he would fight as hard as HRC for marginalized people.

    Add his creepy online army behavior to that and I couldn’t be farther from how I felt about him a few months ago.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Capehart: Here’s why a Bernie Sanders victory for the nomination would make him a hypocrite

    Bernie Sanders’s ongoing hustle of the Democratic Party was revealed at the very end of his interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday.

    Lauding the Independent from Vermont’s fundraising prowess, the MSNBC anchor asked Sanders when he might start applying his considerable abilities to benefit the Democratic Party. In his response, Sanders pointed out that the average $27 contribution to his presidential campaign is “a very different way of raising money than Secretary Clinton has pursued.”

    Rachel pressed him on when he would donate some of his funds to the DNC, as Hillary is doing.

    SANDERS: Well, we’ll see. And, I mean right now, again, our focus is on winning the nomination. Secretary Clinton has access, uh, to kinds of money, uh, that we don’t, that we’re not even interested in. So let’s take it one step at a time. And the step that we’re in right now is to win the Democratic nomination.

    • Women’s Reproductive Rights, pushed aside for the ‘important’ issues Sanders cares about and DOWN TICKET CANDIDATES can swim harder because he needs all the millions in donation to BURN alone.

      It’s all about BerNARD Sanders (won’t use the cutesy little Bernie name). Down ticket feeling the Bern alright.

    • NW Luna says:

      “Well, we’ll see.” = “No. It’s all mine.”

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Sanders supporters interrupted Hillary’s rally in Wisconsin today, and she gave them hell!

    “I have earned 9 million votes in the election already,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says after being heckled at New York campaign event.

    “I have one million more votes than Donald Trump, and I have two and a half million more votes than Bernie Sanders,” Clinton says after hecklers shout, “If she wins, we lose”

    “The Bernie people came to say that. We’re very sorry you’re leaving,” Clinton said

    “What I regret is they don’t want to listen to anyone else”

    “We’ve got to unite and make sure we have a Democrat in the White House in January”

    “We actually have to do something. Not just complain about what is happening”

    Watch the video at Bloomberg TV. It’s very inspiring!

    • Handled it very well, had they stayed they could have heard her views/positions on the issues. Sad they are being sent to heckle her.

    • NW Luna says:

      She can think on her feet, has a command of the facts, understands the issues and problems, has ideals, and gets things done. I’m With Her!

    • Fannie says:

      I’m sick of the lies too. Most of my morning has been fighting those lies on fb, and I am about sick of it. And glad she fighting back on it too.

      I am sick of Sanders pocketing money from democrats, our campaign dollars, and giving nothing to the party. He really is abusing the democrats good faith.

    • Valhalla says:

      Hillary handled it fabulously (no surprise), but I’m furious about this. Those little shits!

  9. bostonboomer says:

    The Amsterdam News endorses Hillary Clinton.

    While Sen. Bernie Sanders believes that he is a revolutionary who will change the face of politics and claims to have been part of the good fight for decades, we ask at the Amsterdam News: If he has been part of the struggle, did we just miss all those protests in Vermont about voter suppression and civil rights?

    We first met Hillary Clinton when she was the first lady. We sat with her and discussed health care reform and the issues of the early ‘90s. We met her again upon her arrival in New York. She came to us to explain why she had decided to make New York her home and why she wanted to be our senator.

    We watched as she continued to fend her way through Washington. We saw where she put her priorities and how she made our community a priority.

    Hillary has always delivered for New York. Both as first lady and as senator. She made the State Children’s Health Insurance Program a reality, as well as spearheading the Zadroga act.

    We applaud her desire and determination not to build walls, but to remove the barriers that keep us apart or limit our aspirations. Her foreign and domestic policies are realistic and attainable, and they are consistent with the outlook and hopes of most Americans.

    During Hillary’s recent appearance at the Apollo Theater, she recounted many of the issues that are germane to Black Americans. She recalled her tenure as the state’s senator, when she joined parents, doctors and community leaders on the epidemic of children’s asthma here in Harlem. It was not about “making points, but making a difference,” she said to thunderous ovation.

    And, in many respects, throughout her political career, Hillary has made a difference. Thankfully, she is still in place to make a difference, but some of that difference will not occur unless we join her and help her to continue to make a difference.

    Action speaks louder than words, Bernie.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Jane Sanders attacked Hillary for campaigning with mothers of murdered black sons.

    • janicen says:

      Kudos to Melissa McEwan for calling Jane Sanders out for her condescension toward the women who have lost their children to gun violence. I loved when Annette Nance-Holt said, my son doesn’t need free college if he’s dead.

      Every time I want to blame the cheap shots and negativity from the Sanders camp on Republican ratfuckers, they prove me wrong.

    • quixote says:

      Jane Sanders says BS has a “common sense” position on guns. O rly? You mean like voting against background checks *right after* Sandy Hook. (Or was it Newtown? There are so damn many of the horrible massacres. Maybe it was both….)

      Just as a matter of tactics, she should have avoided mentioning anything about the Berner. You really really don’t want to draw attention to him and his votes on guns. The image of kindly old eccentric grandpa evaporates into a pocket hamster of the NRA

  11. roofingbird says:

    Yep. Yep and yep.

  12. bostonboomer says:


  13. Sweet Sue says:

    It’s interesting that so many establishment Republicans have attacked Trump, today.
    How dare he take their position on abortion to its logical conclusion!
    Bloody hypocrites.

  14. Rosario Dawson says Bernie Sanders is reaching out to #Trump supporters. So, no party unity in the future. Surprised at all the attacks towards Hillary Clinton and says she is working for Bernie Sanders. See below:

    FULL Bernie Sanders, Spike Lee & Rosario Dawson Rally in South Bronx, New York (3-31-16) HQ HD

    • NW Luna says:

      WTF — Reaching out to Trump supporters? (shudders) I want nothing to do with them.

      • Notice there was no mention of reaching out to Democrats for Hillary. lol Sanders is really using a Party he hates and still running for the Senate as an Independent.

        I don’t hear anyone mention that despite Vermont’s small size, a small African American population, it is ranked 4th in incarceration of Blacks NATIONWIDE. No one ever asks Sanders about what has failed in Vermont and why there is an over representation of Blacks in Vermont’s prison system. When I saw the stats my heart sank and thought this can’t be, but it was.

    • Ron4Hills says:

      I could not be more disaapointed in Rosario. Really.

  15. RT:@bennydiego

    Make America 1950 Again. #WontBePunished #DumpTrump #NeverTrump #NoGOP #Abortion #p2 #tcot

  16. Ron4Hills says:

    Morning Joe back at it. First 15 minutes hatchet job on Hillaty. Heaps of praise for Bernie and Trump. Congratulated themselves for finally spending some time on Democrats. What is MSNBCs problem? What is their agenda? Does anyone have an explanation of why they are so fixated on undermining Hillary?

    • Yes, they said the SD could change over night, mentioned she is under FBI investigation and then wrapped it up with making excuses for Sander’s insensitive remark about disregarding ‘Punishment for Women’ for having an abortion as “It will never happen”. Then suggested she will loose New York, and kept up defending Sanders.

      Yesterday, MSNBC said they didn’t VET Bernie Sanders and said the GOP had plenty.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        The closest to power Mika has ever been is daddy and she hates Hillary because Hillary is everything that Mika could never be. Mika’s bowing and scraping to Scarborough is sickening. I don’t know a single woman who likes watching morning Joe because of Mika’s subservient deferring to him. I feel certain that if you could do a demo on Morning Joe the audience would be primarily male. So screw Mika and triple dip Joe in his coffee.

    • janicen says:

      I really like that phrase, “It’s not my revolution”.

      • Valhalla says:

        Me too, it really covers a LOT of the problems with the whole “revolution” thing. Eg, Susan Sarandon’s revolution is not my revolution either. I want no part of the “Berniebros” either, while we’re at it.

  17. ANonOMouse says:

    The path to a Sanders nomination. It ain’t gonna happen!!