(CN) - Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump weighed in on abortion Wednesday, saying during an MSNBC taping to be broadcast tonight that women who have an abortion should be subject to "some form of punishment."
Trump didn't say what he thought the punishment should be during a taping of a town hall-style meeting in Wisconsin with host Chris Matthews, but in an excerpt of the interview released by the network, he tried to walk back the statement.
In fact, when Matthews asked Trump what would happen if the federal government banned abortion, the candidate suggested back-room procedures would be preferable to the access to the abortions that exist today.
"You go back to a position like they had, where people will perhaps go to illegal places, but you have to ban it," Trump said.
After Trump made his comment regarding punishment for women who have abortions, Matthews sought to clarify.
"For the woman?" he asked.
"Yes," Trump said. "There has to be some form."
"10 years? 20?" Matthews pressed.
"That I don't know," Trump said.
"Why not, you take positions on everything else?" Matthews said.
After the excerpt was released, the Trump campaign issued a statement from the candidate that said, "This issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination."
In a second statement issued by the campaign, Trump said:
"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. 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."
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