Dr. Ben Carson on Wednesday evening defended Donald Trump after the Republican presidential candidate said that if abortion were illegal there should be punishment for women who seek it before quickly walking his comment back.
“Bear in mind, I don’t believe that he was warned that that question was coming, and I don’t think he really had a chance to really think about it,” Carson said on CNN. “That happens very frequently, and you know, what you develop with experience is how to answer that in a way that is not definitive. You know how politicians are. He hasn’t really learned that because he’s not a politician.”
Carson said that after making the initial comments, Trump was able to develop a more “rational” and “informed” response.
During an MSNBC town hall, Chris Matthews asked Trump whether there should be punishment if abortion is illegal. Trump said that “there has to be some form of punishment.” Trump then said that women seeking abortions would be punished when pressed by Matthews.
Shortly after Trump’s comments were reported, he released a statement clarifying that if abortion were illegal, “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”
Carson told CNN that he agreed that providers, not women, should be punished under an abortion ban.
“I agree that the woman is the victim. She’s traumatized emotionally and in many other ways, and that’s problematic. In terms of who should be punished, that woman has already been punished,” he said. “But if it has become illegal, then obviously the person performing the abortion is the person who is breaking the law, and a determination needs to be made in terms of it that is a civil penalty or something more severe.”