Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said on Aug. 6 that pregnant women who become infected with the Zika virus should not be allowed to have an abortion, even if they think their unborn baby may have severe microcephaly due to the virus.
According to the CDC, microcephaly is a severe brain abnormality that can happen when a woman is pregnant. The baby's brain is much smaller than expected, or the brain may have tried to develop properly, but was damaged.
"I understand a lot of people disagree with my view -- but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws," Rubio told POLITICO. "And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it’s a difficult question and a hard one. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life."
The Congress has not yet passed the Republican's Zika-relief bill because it also reduces funding to Obamacare, puts new restrictions on Planned Parenthood, cuts Zika money $800 million short of what President Barack Obama requested, and would permit the Confederate flag to be flown at veterans cemeteries, reported POLITICO in June.
The state of Florida currently has 422 cases of the Zika virus.
"We’ve never before had a mosquito-borne disease that can cause a birth defect," CDC director Tom Friedan said Aug. 4. "That’s why we take it so seriously. The key is to protect pregnant women."
Rubio told the news site:
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 pro-life. And I’m strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.
The CDC notes that microcephaly is a lifelong condition, and severe microcephaly may be life-threatening.
Rubio said he has voted for every version of the Zika-relief bill, with and without the GOP add-ons.