State Sen. Bob Nonini first made the comments during a candidate forum hosted by the conservative Christian podcast CrossPolitic. The Republican said: "There should be no abortion and anyone who has an abortion should pay."
Moderators followed-up, asking him whether he supported the death penalty as a form of punishment for women who had an abortion, in the event that was allowed by the law. Nonini nodded in agreement, saying he would support that "based on the case law." He later confirmed his stance with The Associated Press.
But after the inevitable backlash ensued, Nonini backtracked his comments, saying in a statement: "Prosecutions have always been focused on the abortionist. There is no way a woman would go to jail let alone face the death penalty. The statute alone, the threat of prosecution, would dramatically reduce abortion. That is my goal."
"No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about," Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said at the time.
But that hasn't stopped lawmakers from trying to criminalize abortion. Last month, Republicans in Ohio introduced a bill banning all abortions that would allow criminal charges against both women seeking care and doctors.
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