After Donald Trump ignited controversy with his ever-shifting position on abortion, he’s put the other Republican presidential candidates in a real bind as they try to answer those questions as well. John Kasich did an interview with George Stephanopoulos and ducked and dodged all over the place.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): I spoke to John Kasich from Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, and we began with the topic Donald Trump put front and center this week, abortion.
JOHN KASICH: Well George, I hope they do repeal Roe v. Wade and then, you know, it will be up to the states to decide how they want to proceed. It’ll be up to them to figure out what they want to do and that’s precisely what we would do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said there are legitimate and constitutional restrictions that could be put on abortion. What are they?
KASICH: Well, George, you know, when you say constitutional restrictions or whatever —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are your words.
KASICH: The only thing I would tell you is I’ve been — yeah, well I don’t know when I said it or why I said that in particular, probably out of context but, look, I mean, I am opposed to abortion except in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. I hope Roe v. Wade will be repealed, and then it will be turned to the states and the states will have to figure out exactly what the restrictions ought to be, period, end of story.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So but if you believe that abortion is taking of an innocent life, how would you enforce a ban on that activity?
KASICH: Well, that will be up to the states to figure out what they want to do. And, you know, obviously when we have seen these comments that have come out earlier this week, it’s the first time I’ve seen the pro-life and the pro-choice people come together to say, you know, that we’ll have to basically work this out and trying to punish a woman would not be the appropriate way to behave. And I think it’s going to take people in a reasonable way working through it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why isn’t it appropriate? If you believe that abortion is the taking of innocent life, why shouldn’t a woman who makes the choice to take that life face some kind of punishment or sanction?
KASICH: Because I think it’s difficult on her to begin with. That’s the way I feel about it, George, and that’s the end of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it follows that it is a woman is there making the choice to take a life?
KASICH: Look, I’ve said what I have to say about the subject, George. You know how I have behaved both as a legislator and as a governor, and I would like to have those exceptions. I would like to leave it to those exceptions and it’ll be up to the states to decide how they want to handle this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe doctors who perform abortions should be punished?
KASICH: We’re going to leave this up to the states to work this out the way they want to, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re not going to take any position on doctors facing punishment?
KASICH: Right now this, let me just put it to you this way I’m not, today I’m not. I’ve just told you how I feel about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, if you’re still governor of Ohio, what would you seek to do?
KASICH: Work with the legislature to figure out what there’s a good consensus to do. In Ohio we have made sure that we have transfer agreements. These are things that we’ve done and I’ve been very careful about making sure that we don’t pass something that is going to cause a constitutional conflict, which is I think what you were referring to, so that the restrictions that we’ve put in place are going to be fine. And I think we’ve behaved there and conducted ourselves appropriately.
Patches O’Houlihan would be so proud.