(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Saturday that pregnant women infected with the Zika virus should not be able to get an abortion, noting that it is better to “err on the side of life.”
He also acknowledged that “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,” he told Politico.
As of July 28, the Zika virus has infected 479 pregnant women in the United States, in addition to 493 pregnant women in U.S. territories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"The finding that Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects means that a woman who is infected with Zika virus during pregnancy has an increased risk of having a baby with these health problems," CDC stated.
"It does not mean, however, that all women who have Zika virus infection during pregnancy will have babies with problems," CDC continued. "As has been seen during the current Zika outbreak, some infected women have delivered babies that appear to be healthy."
“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,” said Rubio.
“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.”
According to a recent Harvard poll, a majority of Americans (59 percent) support allowing Zika-infected women to get a late-term abortion (after 24 weeks) if “there is a serious possibility the baby would be born with microcephaly.”
In May, Rubio was the first Republican to co-sponsor a failed $1.9 million Obama administration proposal to fight the Zika virus. In June, Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion GOP bill to combat Zika in part because it contained new restrictions on Planned Parenthood.
CNSNews.com reported last week, that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced the launch of a clinical trial to test a Zika vaccine on humans, though the agency said it would be some time before such a vaccine would be commercially available.