"I personally and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws, I do. And I believe that irrespective of the conditions by which that life was conceived or anything else, and for me to be consistent on that belief, that's why I feel so strongly about it."
In last week's debate for Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) answer to a question on abortion left some ambiguity as to what possible exemptions the far-right senator supports. His position has since come into much sharper focus.
The day after the debate, Rubio told CNN, in response to a question about women possibly being impregnated by rapists, "I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection irrespective of the circumstances, in which, that human life was created."
The Florida Republican elaborated further on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday:
In other words, Rubio's position is simple: no abortions, no exceptions.
Pressed further by host Chuck Todd, Rubio argued that the number of abortions resulting from rape are "very small." He added that while such instances are "horrifying and they're tragic... I also recognize that because of the existence of over-the- counter morning after, not to mention medical treatment that's now available immediately after the assault that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero."
Rubio appeared to be referring to access to emergency contraception. For context, let's not overlook the fact that Rubio has also supported restrictions on women's access to contraception.
Taking a step further, on the issue of possible life-of-the-mother exemptions, Rubio questioned whether medicine has advanced so far that there are "any instances in which only an abortion could save a mother's life."
Stepping back, all of this helps serve as a reminder of just how conservative Rubio can be. His youth and demeanor may suggest a degree of moderation, but his positions, record, and agenda point in a remarkably far-right direction.
All of this matters, of course, in a general-election context. As we talked about last week, Rubio intends to take a provocative line to a national audience: if a woman is impregnated by a rapist, the government has the authority to force her to take the pregnancy to term, regardless of her wishes.
As even Fox News reminded Rubio last week, roughly 83% of Americans disagree.
The Democratic National Committee over the weekend released a new video noting the similarities between Rubio's position and that of Todd Akin's. That's probably an association the GOP presidential candidates should try to avoid.