On Monday night, Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio faced off against Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy during a Florida Senate debate — and as is typical of a debate between an abortion advocate and a pro-lifer, abortion was mentioned as a topic. Rubio defended the right to life for preborn children, but also stated that abortion is a difficult issue:
Now, let me talk about the issue of abortion. On the issue of abortion, it’s not an easy issue. Some people pretend that it is, I do not.
You talk about a 16‑year‑old young girl in a crisis pregnancy or a Zika case, people sometimes on my side of the debate act like that’s just a no‑brainer. It isn’t. It’s a difficult and painful issue. It’s also a difficult issue, by the way, because it involves two competing rights: the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body — that is a real right, and I recognize that — but in this case, there is another right, and that is the right of an unborn child to live.
And as a policy maker, these two rights are now in conflict and I have to choose which side am I going to err on and if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life.
And… I understand that the vast majority of Americans and Floridians, perhaps, disagree with my view on this issue, but for me, this is not an issue of politics, it’s something I feel deeply and passionately about.
I believe that all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws and I respect the people that have reached a different conclusion on this issue, but this is how I passionately feel.
It’s not political to me. If it was, I would take a poll and I know what the poll is going to say.
Rubio has said before that he does not believe Zika should justify abortion or abortion funding. During the debate, Rubio mentioned what he believes is truly extreme in regards to abortion:
Here’s what I do think is outrageous.
What I do think is extremist and outrageous is people like Patrick Murphy and Hillary Clinton who believe no abortions of any kind should be legal. They believe it should be legal to abort a child even up to the day before they are due to be born. They believe in partial-birth abortion.
These are horrifying things that actually a vast of the majority of Americans think are wrong and what I don’t understand is how come the media never points to these extremist positions on the other side of the debate.
Rubio is not the only one who has questioned why the media does not question abortion advocates’ positions on abortion that are well outside the mainstream. In April 2015, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked why the (now former) Democratic National Chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, was not asked more about her pro-abortion stance.
Although Rubio appeared to express apprehension that the majority of Americans may disagree with his pro-life position, Americans of all demographics and opinions tend to oppose elective abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy. As I reported earlier this year using information from a Marist poll, 81 percent of Americans believe abortion should be either completely illegal or restricted to the first trimester and in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Even more surprising is that 66 percent of people claiming to be pro-choice believe in the same restrictions.
In his response during the debate, Murphy did not address his own abortion views, instead noting that Rubio “does not support a woman’s right to choose in the case of rape, in the case of incest, or a mother infected with Zika.” It should be noted that abortions following cases of rape and incest account for 1 percent (or less) of all abortions. There is also doubt about the connection between the Zika virus and microcephaly, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.