U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is signing on as a co-sponsor for a federal abortion ban.
U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina filed a bill to prohibit most abortions performed 15 weeks or later into pregnancy. Now, Rubio, Florida’s senior Senator, has signed on as the second co-sponsor, behind only U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana.
“Banning abortion after four months is consistent with Florida law and more permissive than all but two European countries,” Rubio said. “Why doesn’t the media ask (Democratic opponent) Val Demings why she doesn’t support a single restriction on abortions? She is an extremist that supports abortion, for any reason, at any time up to the moment of birth and paid for by taxpayers.”
His co-sponsorship suggests he will at the least play a role in crafting the bill, the most stringent regulation on abortion offered since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
That’s not a major surprise. Rubio also served as an introducing co-sponsor to a prior bill filed by Graham that would have prohibited abortions at 20 weeks.
But Rubio just this month has told media outlets he preferred for state Legislatures to take up the issue of abortion.
“Now, states will decide,” he recently told NBC 6. “New York going to have different abortion laws. In Florida, abortions are illegal after four months.”
Rubio has said he would have voted for a 15-week abortion ban just signed in Florida. Of note, that law allows no exceptions for instances of rape or incest, while Graham’s bill does allow exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rapes that were immediately reported, and in cases of incest involving a mother who is a minor.
Rubio recently told CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede that he believes abortion kills an unborn child, but would support a ban with exceptions. He also stressed in the August interview that the overturn of Roe v. Wade meant the debate “was not going to happen in Washington, where it wasn’t happening at all because of Roe v. Wade. Now, that decision has to be made at the state level.”
A federal bill, if passed, would preempt states with less restrictive laws in statute.
Democrats pounced on Rubio’s co-sponsorship of Graham’s bill.
“Introducing a federal abortion ban is just the latest example of Marco Rubio pushing dangerous restrictions on Floridians’ freedom to make their own health care decisions,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Grant Fox.
“Rubio has long made it clear that he supports extreme policies that go even farther than this national ban, including bans on abortion with no exceptions for victims of rape, incest or human trafficking.”
U.S. Rep. Demings, the Orlando Democrat challenging Rubio for his Senate seat, denoted the Graham bill as part of a plan driven by Rubio.
“Marco Rubio has never been shy about his support for extremist abortion bans and criminalizing doctors, and cosponsoring this federal ban is just another step in his fight to take away women’s freedom,” said Christian Slater, spokesperson for Demings’ Senate campaign.
“As a 27-year law enforcement officer who investigated cases of rape and incest, Chief Demings is committed to protecting Florida’s women and girls. Floridians will hold Rubio accountable for his out-of-touch stance in November.”
Demings tweeted: “This is just the next step in Marco Rubio’s fight to ban abortions with no exceptions for victims of rape, incest and sexual abuse. In the U.S. Senate, I will never stop fighting to codify Roe v. Wade and protect women’s freedoms.”