Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions, if it becomes illegal.
However, the front-runner did not disclose what that punishment would be, during a town hall event with cable network MSBNC.
Mr Trump supports a ban on abortions, with certain exceptions.
Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973 after a landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Only the high court, not the president, has the power to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal.
Once a Democrat, Mr Trump has been criticised for supporting abortion rights in the past.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump’s stance on women’s issues.
“Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse. Horrific and telling,” said Mrs Clinton after his latest comments.
Republican leaders have expressed concern about Mr Trump’s prospects in the general election because polls show that the New York businessman is extremely unpopular with female voters.
Mr Trump has come under fire for disparaging women including former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and TV presenter Megyn Kelly.
“If Trump’s words about women – calling us ‘disgusting’, ‘slobs’ and ‘fat pigs’ – didn’t scare us, this should,” said Kate Black of Emily’s List, a group committed to electing female Democrats who support abortion rights.
His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was arrested on Tuesday, accused of a minor assault on a female reporter. Mr Trump has vehemently defended Mr Lewandowski.
Anti-abortion activists traditionally have avoided placing blame on women who undergo abortions, but have focused on those who perform the procedure.
In recent years, conservatives have sought to tighten restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors rather than seek an outright ban.
Abortion rights advocates say these measures are meant to restrict women’s access to abortion. The new laws are particularly pervasive in conservative southern states.