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By Sky News US Team
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that if abortions are made illegal in the US women who have them should be punished.
"There has to be some form of punishment," he said in a heated exchange at a town-hall style event in Wisconsin on Wednesday.
Pressed by MSNBC's Chris Matthews on the nature of that punishment, Mr Trump responded: "I haven't determined what the punishment should be."
The property billionaire's comments provoked a torrent of condemnation.
Democratic White House front runner Hillary Clinton pounced on Twitter, saying: "Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling."
In the Wisconsin town hall, Mr Trump described himself as "pro-life with three exceptions".
He did not specify what those exceptions should be.
His campaign later issued a statement saying the abortion issue should be left to individual US states to determine.
Abortion rights were enshrined in the US Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade.
However, a number of states have passed controversial measures over the years limiting access to pregnancy terminations.
And criticising Roe v Wade has become a matter of conservative orthodoxy for any Republican who runs for president.
Mr Trump has previously been criticised by his Republican rivals who say he is not conservative enough on abortion.
The real estate magnate's views on the hot-button issue have evolved.
In his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Mr Trump wrote that he supported a woman's right to choose.
But in 2011 he said he had changed his mind on the topic.
Mr Trump more recently said he believes abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy, with exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother.