Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders decried Donald Trump for saying Wednesday that an abortion ban should come with “some form of punishment” for women who have the procedure.
“Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse,” Clinton, the former secretary of state, tweeted.
“Horrific and telling,” she added.
Sanders, a Vermont senator, tweeted: “Your Republican frontrunner, ladies and gentlemen. Shameful.”
During a pretaped town-hall event earlier in the day, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews repeatedly pressed Trump for specifics on the abortion issue.
After Matthews asked Trump if he’s for women being imprisoned for lengthy sentences, the Republican presidential frontrunner said the exact punishment would be “something we have to decide on.”
They have set the law and frankly the judges, you’re going to have a very big election coming up for that reason because you have judges where it’s a real tipping point and with the loss of [Antonin] Scalia, who was a very strong justice, this presidential election is going to be very important.
He added that the legality of abortion depends on the November election, which could have a significant impact on the direction of the Supreme Court.
“When you say what’s the law, nobody knows what the law is going to be,” Trump said. “It depends on who gets elected.”
In a statement, the Democratic National Committee chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said she agreed with Trump about the importance of the November elections. But she also furiously tore into Trump’s “vileness and contempt for women.”
Wasserman Schultz said in part:
It will indeed be Donald Trump and Republican candidates who are punished come November. The Republican Party’s presidential frontrunner has said out loud what the leaders of his party have been working toward since the right to a safe and legal abortion became settled law decades ago – the criminalization of women that denies them the right to make their own decisions about their health care.
Business Insider reached out to the Trump campaign for comment. He reportedly sought to clarify his statement on abortion by saying the issue is unclear:
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