"Today marks the tragic anniversary of one of America’s most blatant instances of judicial activism," wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in a statement released Tuesday, lamenting the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
"Since this decision, tens of millions of our nation’s unborn babies have been denied the chance to celebrate a birthday, begin kindergarten or go on to contribute their God-given talents to our world," Rubio went on. "As a U.S. senator, I am privileged to serve in a position that allows me to fight for the lives of the unborn. I will continue to fulfill my duty to fight to reduce the number of abortions."
Intimating a desire to overturn the historic Roe, Rubio's statement goes against 70 percent of Americans who stand behind the court ruling, according to a new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journal. Taking such a minority position could harm the rising Rubio in a bid for higher office.
But pro-lifers don't seem to mind the numbers. "He is a principled leader, an effective communicator, and a great motivator at a time when the pro-life movement – and America – is so hungry for all three," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life women's group Susan B. Anthony List. “Senator Rubio’s response reminds us in the pro-life movement that not only is every unborn human life a unique, unrepeatable gift from God from the moment of conception, but that our belief that Life begins at conception is backed by science."
Rubio isn't the only Republican senator making waves about abortion this week. In his own statement Tuesday, fellow senator and GOP rising star Ted Cruz (R-Texas) labeled the Roe anniversary not as 'tragic,' but 'dark.'
Today marks the dark anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that overturned a Texas law that prohibited abortion on demand. Since that 1973 ruling, more than 55 million lives have been lost to abortion.Defending life, at its core, includes protecting both the unborn child and his or her mother from an irreversible injustice.We cannot know how many inventors, musicians, scientists, athletes, physicians, and entrepreneurs were never allowed to breathe their first breath of life. We cannot know the medical cures, artistic masterpieces, thriving businesses, and life-transforming charities that never came into existence.Today we mourn those 55 million souls.
The mourning doesn't have to be in private. Cardinal Dolan of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City led a special Mass and Rosary procession Tuesday morning "for the restoration of the legal protection of unborn children and for healing for all those suffering after abortion." As St. Patrick's website says, "If we’re going to end abortion, it’s going to be through activism and prayers."
Why do rising GOP names like Rubio and Cruz support overturning Roe when so large a majority is opposed to the idea?
Maybe because "social conservatives...make up a disproportionate share of the Republican base," as Greg Sargent writes over at The Plum Line. "What’s more, organizations like the Family Research Council have the resources to support anti-abortion Republicans, and mobilize activists against those who show more heterodoxy on the issue."
Of course, anti-choice rhetoric works better when the politics are local, or the election is a primary. Fighting against reproductive rights doesn't work so well in national elections, or, for that matter, state elections that garner national attention.