A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Idaho is walking back comments he made where he posited that women who’ve had an abortion should be put to death.
During a candidate forum on Monday that was hosted by the conservative Christian podcast CrossPolitic, Bob Nonini said that abortion should be outlawed and “anyone who has an abortion should pay.”
Pressed by the podcast’s hosts, Nonini nodded in agreement when asked if he thought women who’ve had an abortion should be eligible for the death penalty. As the Idaho Statesman points out, Nonini later reaffirmed his position in an interview with the Associated Press.
But hours later, he was having second thoughts.
“I strongly support the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Nonini said according to the Statesman. “That would allow states like Idaho to re-criminalize abortion as a deterrent. However, it is my understanding that in the history of the United States, long before Roe was foisted upon this country; no woman has ever been prosecuted for undergoing abortion. That is for practical reasons, as well as for reasons of compassion.”
Nonini added that his wife, Cathyanne, does not share his endorsement of the death penalty even though both are devout Catholics.
It’s common for Republican candidates to express their anti-abortion positions in GOP-dominant Idaho. Typically, many stress the importance of educating women on alternative options to an unplanned pregnancy or making access to abortion clinics more difficult rather than focus on possible punishment for the woman.
Nonini’s comments, although shocking, represent a growing movement among some of the further-right religious conservatives. Last year, Arizona pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church said that he believes women who intentionally abort their pregnancies should be given the ultimate penalty. Just recently, The Atlantic received heavy criticism for the hiring of conservative columnist Kevin Williamson, who once tweeted that woman who’ve had an abortion should be hanged.
Even President Trump hinted at sympathy for such a law during the 2016 campaign, where he said “some sort of punishment” should be applied to women who get abortions. The campaign later backtracked.
You can watch the full CrossPolitic podcast below (he makes his comments at around the 1:18:00 mark):
Featured image via/YouTube screen grab