In 2016, Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for the presidency, claimed there must be "punishment" for women who get abortions.
Video of Trump, who would go on to win the 2016 electoral election despite concerns from the intelligence community that Russian operatives had interfered in the electoral process, resurfaced after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization will move to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that protects a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Trump, speaking during a town hall, claimed to be pro-life and opined there should be "some form of punishment" for getting an abortion, suggesting that a ban should go forward even if it means that people have to "go to illegal places" to get them.
You can hear Trump's remarks in the video below.
"I am pro-life. The answer is, you go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places, but you have to ban it."
When asked whether abortion should be banned outright, Trump dodged the question, only saying:
"The answer is... that there has to be some form of punishment."
However, Trump never elaborated as to what a "punishment" for those who get an abortion might look like.
While in office, Trump had the opportunity to appoint three conservative justices who had gone on record opposing abortion to the Supreme Court, raising concerns among Democrats that they would threaten the Roe v. Wade precedent.
While the largely conservative court ultimately voted to uphold abortion rights in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo (2020), in which the Court ruled that a Louisiana state law placing hospital-admission requirements on abortion clinics doctors was unconstitutional, fears that Roe would ultimately fall were not unfounded.
The draft opinion would have sweeping ramifications, resulting in abortion bans in roughly half the country, and comes as Republican-led legislatures nationwide have moved swiftly in recent weeks to curb the right to an abortion and have signaled efforts to further limit access to contraception.
The footage quickly made the rounds on social media and served as a reminder for many that Trump and Republicans had telegraphed their intentions for the future of abortion rights long before Trump entered office.
The Supreme Court has confirmed the draft opinion is "authentic" but says "it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case."
Chief Justice John Roberts said the leak signals a "betrayal of the confidences of the Court" but insisted while it was "intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed."