Senator Marco Rubio said on Saturday that he doesn’t believe pregnant women who have been infected with the Zika virus should have the right to an abortion.
Marco Rubio told POLITICO in an interview:
‘I understand a lot of people disagree with my view – but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one.’
Zika has begun to spread rapidly through Florida. There are now more than 422 cases, which is more than any other state in the country. Health experts and families are alarmed because the virus has been linked to severe microcephaly in infants born to some infected women.
Tom Friedan, director of the Centers for Disease Control, said that there has never been a mosquito-born disease that causes birth defects. He stated that this matter is imperative and that we must protect pregnant women.
The epidemic of the Zika virus will drive a spike in requests for abortions, especially since Congress failed to pass the Zika-relief bill, in part due to an ongoing dispute with Planned Parenthood.
Birth defects caused by the Zika virus can be horrific, and include a condition called microcephaly, which is extensive brain damage that can lead to a small, deformed head. Other severe brain damage has been documented in Zika-affected babies, although doctors say they do not yet know the full range of birth defects that can be caused by the virus. There is no cure or way to reverse the effects of the disease, and no vaccine has been developed yet. Global health officials have done nothing but suggest pregnant women avoid mosquito bites.
Rubio acknowledged the hardships of the birth defects that are caused by the Zika virus, but was firm on his position.
‘Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it’s a lifetime of difficulties. So I get it. I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m prolife. And I’m strongly prolife. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.’
Despite his stance on infected pregnant women who are seeking abortions, Rubio has made it an obligation to stop the spread of the Zika virus. He became the first Republican to co-sponsor President Obama’s $1.9 billion Zika-fighting legislation. Although the legislation unfortunately failed, Rubio tried everything he could to ensure every Zika bill was passed.
Rubio blamed the Democrats for not passing the Zika legislation:
‘The Planned Parenthood angle is something they [Democrats] basically made up to have a political reason not to pass Zika so they can come back in August and campaign on it. That’s what I mean by political volleyball. Both sides have played that game. I would have preferred the House just passed a clean funding bill and I’ll vote for that if it comes out.’
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