Meet the teen whose abortion question could sink Trump

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Meet Teen Who Asked Abortion Question to Trump

With one question about abortion, a Wisconsin teenager may have accomplished what a raft of Republican presidential candidates could not -- she put the brakes on Donald Trump.

And 19-year-old Tanya Niemi is just fine with that.

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"It's funny how such a person -- me in Green Bay -- can make a difference," Niemi told NBC News on Tuesday as she was preparing to vote in the Wisconsin primary. "I'm pretty proud of myself. I mean, honestly, I'm excited."

Niemi's brush with history came last Wednesday at an MSNBC Town Hall meeting where Chris Matthews was grilling the GOP front-runner.

Stepping up to the microphone, the University of Wisconsin Green Bay student asked the question that had been on her mind.

"What is your stance on women's rights and their rights to choose in their own reproductive health?" she asked.

"Okay, well look," Trump replied. "I mean, as you know, I'm pro-life. Right, I think you know that, and I -- with exceptions, with the three exceptions. But pretty much, that's my stance. Is that OK? You understand?"

Matthews then followed-up, asking Trump, "Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?"

"The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment," Trump replied.

"For the woman?" Matthews asked.

"Yes, there has to be some form," Trump answered.

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Meet the teen whose abortion question could sink Trump
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: Anti-Trump protesters gather in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 29: A Trump supporter debates with anti-Trump protesters in the free speech zone outside of the Janesville Conference Center in Janesville, Wis., in advance of the Donald Trump for President rally in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's home town on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate outside a campaign event for Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, not pictured, in Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S., on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Trump began his closing bid to capture Wisconsin's winner-take-all Republican primary by trying to address one of the biggest vulnerabilities of his campaign for the presidency: the female vote. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators and supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait for the start of a campaign rally at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JANESVILLE, WI - MARCH 29: Demonstrators protest outside a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on March 29, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters go to the polls for the state's primary on April 5. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Donald Trump protesters argue with a supporter outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, prior to a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest the scheduled appearance of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center . (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Demonstrators gather outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest a scheduled appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the adjoining conference center , (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Protesters demonstrate outside a campaign rally for Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump in Janesville, Wisconsin, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Donald Trump protesters hold a sign outside the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville, Wis., Tuesday, March 29, 2016, to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's scheduled appearance. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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The backlash was instantaneous and within hours Trump tried to walk back his statement. But by then the damage to Trump's already-low standing with women had been done.

Niemi said she was invited to the Town Hall by one of her professors and she came up with her question after consulting her mother, who is a disabilities services coordinator at UWGB.

"I was just trying to think of a really meaningful question I haven't heard," she said. "So, I was like, he hasn't really touched on women's rights or reproductive rights."

Niemi said she didn't like Trump's answer to Matthews' follow-up question at all.

"That really shocked me," she said.

Niemi said she was also shocked by angry reaction from Trump supporters, some of whom said she had no business being at the event if she wasn't backing The Donald. She disagrees.

"It's a once in a lifetime experience," she said. "I was just, like, I was representing."

The plucky teen said she didn't realize she had set off a political powder keg until much later.

"I didn't really know what I had caused until after all the reactions and messages and professors coming up to me, congratulating me," she said. "Honestly, it didn't hit me until it aired and then I got a lot of shares on Facebook, a lot of comments, everything, and they were showing a little clip of it and people were like, 'Oh my gosh that's you!'"

Niemi said she got a kick out of being suddenly famous. "It's pretty nice to be known," she said.

But if Trump ever had a chance to get Niemi's vote, he definitely lost it that day.

"I'm voting for Hillary Clinton," she said.

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