Trump attempts to walk back abortion comments
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Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE reversed course Wednesday afternoon, saying he would only seek to punish doctors who perform abortions should the practice become illegal again. The statement came hours after an excerpt of an interview was released in which Trump said women should be punished for having illegal abortions.

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“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” Trump said in the afternooon statement.

“The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”

The statement directly contradicts comments he made earlier Wednesday, during a town hall interview airing tonight with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

Matthews was pressing the former reality television star on what a nationwide ban on abortion would look like.

“The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said.

“For the woman?” Matthews asked.

“Yeah, there has to be some form,” Trump responded.