Liberal women are more pro-choice than liberal men, while conservative women are more pro-life than conservative men.
If abortion were illegal then presumably three-fourths of conservative white women would want some sort of consequence to be attached to illegally obtaining one. In head-to-head polling, Trump crushes Cruz among conservative men but just narrowly edges him out among conservative women. How do conservative ladies respond to the shrill "war on women" rhetoric? We may soon find out.
It's not clear that the nuance required to reach the seemingly unavoidable logical conclusion that if abortion is illegal then it follows that necessity demands a legal consequence for obtaining one to be in place will be appreciated in the face of context-free headlines that read "Donald Trump: There has to be some form of punishment [for abortion]".
Irrespective of the immediate electoral consequences, the sunlight this exposes on masturbatory values conservatism is worth its weight in gold. The pro-life organizations and their apologists that maintain both that abortion is murder and that a woman who elects to have an abortion shouldn't be punished for it are experiencing an unexpectedly large amount of push back.
Check out the comments to Ben Shapiro's critical article on Trump's remarks. Scrolling through them, a few things immediately jump out. While the commenters are at pains to point out that they like Shapiro and dislike Trump, they are in nearly unanimous disagreement with Shapiro on the subject itself. This is a friendly crowd that thinks Shapiro is dead wrong.
Parenthetically, the objection that abortionists should be punished instead of the women soliciting their services is unconvincing. If the priors are that a fetus is a human life, how is the relationship between a woman seeking an abortion and the abortionist she employs any different from the relationship between a woman seeking an executioner to off her infant and the executioner she employs?
If a doctor doesn't provide the service is it okay for her to initiate it on her own? If so, then the distinction between punishing the doctor and punishing the woman isn't merely semantic, it actually endangers women who would presumably be free to attempt to abort on their own but not to do so with the help of a physician.
Trump's biggest mistake may turn out to be trying to walk his comments back. His instincts are good. He should trust them.
GSS variables used: ABANY, SEX, YEAR(2008-2014), RACECEN1(1), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)