GOP front-runner Donald Trump found himself in the middle of a massive controversy on Wednesday, after saying that he believed women should face "some sort of punishment" for undergoing an illegal abortion.
With criticisms attacking him from all sides, Trump eventually turned back on his statement, saying that women should not be punished for aborting their unborn children. Rather, it must be the doctors who must face the law.
"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.
"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," he added.
Trump, known for his sharp tongue and strong opinions on a number of pertinent issues, has seen his popularity wane among the female demographic of American voters. Part of this is due to his tendency to refer to women in traditionally misogynistic terms - something that female voters do not welcome.
His statements on Wednesday further added fuel to the fire. In an interview with moderator Chris Matthews, Trump highlighted his anti-abortion stance. When asked if abortion should be punishable, Trump was quick to respond.
"The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. There has to be some form," Trump said.
Though the real estate mogul did not specifically outline what punishments would be in store for women undergoing abortions during his possible presidency, he did state that he believed men should not be held responsible.
Unsurprisingly, Trump's critics immediately honed in on his statements, condemning the GOP front-runner's conservative views.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton said that Trump's statements were "horrific and telling." She further stated that the GOP candidate's statements came at a time "when you thought it couldn't get worse."
Of course, women's advocacy groups were quick to condemn Trump's remarks as well. Marcy Stech, the communications director for women's group Emily's List, said that Trump is a very dangerous candidate.
"The last person women need to police their health-care decisions is someone who sees them not as people, but as 'fat pigs,' 'bimbos' and 'disgusting animals.' Republicans are about to nominate a truly dangerous man to lead their fight to restrict women's access to abortion," she said.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens also echoed that sentiment. "Donald Trump is flat-out dangerous. Women's lives are not disposable. There's nothing else to say, as Donald Trump's remarks today have said it all," she said.
Even anti-abortion groups were quick to condemn Trump's remarks, with prominent anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List releasing a statement disagreeing with the GOP candidate's stance on punishing women who seek out an abortion, should abortion be banned.
"We have never advocated, in any context, for the punishment of women who undergo an abortion. Let us be clear: Punishment is solely for the abortionist who profits off of the destruction of one life and the grave wounding of another," the group announced.