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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks to the media to urge the United States Congress to pass funding to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus on June 3, 2016 in Doral, Florida. Joe Raedle—Getty Images
Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says pregnant women who have contracted the Zika virus, which has been linked to a severe birth defect, should not have access to abortions.

“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,” Rubio said in an interview with Politico. “But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life.”

Rubio said he understands the difficulty families would face in finding their fetus was at risk for microcephaly, the birth defect linked to Zika, but said his being pro-life means protecting all babies, no matter what.

“I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m prolife,” he told Politico. “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.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 479 pregnant women in the U.S. and D.C. have contracted the Zika virus. Rubio’s home state of Florida has been hit particularly hard. The virus was recently found to have spread via local mosquito transmission in the sunshine state, a first for the U.S. The CDC issued a travel warning to pregnant women, urging them not to visit the Wynwood section of Miami.

Rubio supported the president’s push for $1.9 billion to fight Zika as well as the $1.1 billion Congressional bill to stop the virus, but that legislation failed in the Senate after House Republicans pushed through a version that took aim at Planned Parenthood. Rubio, who is a pro-life Republican, said both sides played a bit of politics on the funding but ultimately blamed Democrats for using Planned Parenthood as a political excuse to not pass the bill.


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