Actually, I should probably get out the popcorn and just settle in because it's quite a show!
Donald Trump, Republican front runner for the presidency, said women who have an abortion should be punished. Okay, really ... that's logical, right? Trump simply applied logic to the abortion issue as seen by most Republican politicians:
1) Anti-choice advocates want the procedure to be illegal.
2) "Illegal" means against the law.
3) If someone violates the law, society calls for punishment.
or ... you might prefer another version of the logic:
1) Abortion is murder.
2) Murder is illegal.
3) People who commit murder should be punished.
So, come on ... if you apply that logic to abortion, then Trump spoke the truth (for once)! If a woman has an abortion, she will have violated the law, thus she should be punished just as any other criminal! And, so should the doctors, nurses, scheduling people - anyone who was complicit in that act.
But, whoa Nellie! Stop the presses! Within minutes of Trump's interview being aired, the Republican machine nearly tore itself apart! Even the anti-choice groups and the pro-birthers went into a panic and started appearing on every cable news program available! Republican lawmakers who have been passing oppressive restrictions on abortion started hiding under their desks. And they all, once again, started distancing themselves from The Donald.
Why? Well, it's really very simple. And it's all politics. Republicans KNOW that people in this country - by every major survey and legitimate poll conducted over the last forty years - support keeping abortion legal.
Republicans KNOW that when anyone starts talking about punishing women, their entire talking point of "protecting women" goes right down the toilet. And that's what they do, you see ... they say their restrictive legislation is all about "protecting women" and, boy, when they say that, many folks will nod their heads and tolerate the overbearing laws because ... who doesn't want to protect women, right? But how can you "protect women" and make them into "victims" of abortion, when you punish them for it?
Republicans KNOW that when you start talking about punishing women for
having an abortion, the American public is going to withdraw support. They KNOW they can't sell restrictive laws to the public if those laws include punishment for women. Big time. And that means they might not get to keep their elective offices! Ain't politics grand?
Ah ... good 'ole Trump didn't understand that he wasn't supposed to apply logic to this issue. And he got spanked for doing it. Poor Donald ... nobody gave him the Republican Abortion Playbook. Within hours, he started walking back on his statement. And then he - and his surrogates - started saying the whole thing was a misspeak. Uh, huh. Right.
So ... poor Trump. But don't weep for him; weep for American women and girls. We need to protect ourselves because politicians just aren't going to do it. At least Republican politicians aren't going to do it.