As the exchange makes clear, the logical progression that follows from a legal restriction on abortion isn't something he's given much thought to until now. Trump isn't naturally oriented towards the Culture War stuff. But his instinctive position, existing inside the parameters of the 21st century Western world, seems like the only one that doesn't make a mockery of itself.
If abortion is tantamount to--or, more precisely, is--murder, why would pro-lifers (outside of an 'extreme' 10th amendment aversion to federal laws prohibiting homicide) support anything less than incarceration for those who undergo the procedure?
Kasich and Cruz, both of whose priors are that a fetus is as much a human being as a toddler or a teenager are, lost no time haughtily dismissing Trump's response to the Matthews' question.
Kasich, after the standard exceptions-for-rape-and-incest qualifier, agreed with the characterization that abortion should otherwise be outlawed while simultaneously insisting that women shouldn't be punished for having them.
Cruz wrote the following in response:
On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother — and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life.When I employ the phrase "masturbatory values conservatism", this is exactly what I'm talking about. These reactions are as substantively devoid as they come. Granting that abortion is murder, which, when pressed, is what both Kasich and Cruz say they believe to be the case, how then is permitting a woman to have the procedure anything other than acquiescing to homicide?
Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.
If they don't believe there should be any legal repercussions for having an abortion, isn't their putative opposition to Roe v Wade--an opposition that is shared by nearly every congress critter with an R next to his name during election season--revealed to be totally hollow? What would an overturning of the ruling mean, then, in practice? Parenthetically, saying that it would return to the issue to the states doesn't ultimately answer the question, it just poses it on a smaller geographical scale.
Tangentially, my view is that abortion is the termination of a human life, but that not all life is of equal value, either objectively or subjectively. Who? Whom? looms large.
Objectively, terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester is less repulsive than doing so in the third trimester. Euthanizing an infant is less repulsive than euthanizing a twenty year-old, while euthanizing an octogenarian is less repulsive than destroying either of the fetuses, the baby, or the young adult. Subjectively, I care about abortion in Uganda about as much as I care about civil war in the Congo. Abortion inside my Dunbar Number, in contrast, is abhorrent, and in the case of my wife, unthinkable.