Joe Henderson: Marco Rubio’s big gamble on abortion is a puzzling move
Marco Rubio.

Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio goes all-in for a federal abortion law. But why?

Marco Rubio just took what could be the biggest gamble of his political career. He is a co-sponsor of a bill from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham for a national abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The Miami Herald broke that story.

The bill makes exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the mother’s life, and it’s probably not going anywhere. Democrats control the Senate, and momentum seems to be on their side to keep it that way, so Rubio may have gone all-in on something that offers little or no return.

Key Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, don’t even support this bill. McConnell said most GOP Senators “prefer this be handled at the state level.”

That makes Rubio’s decision to wade into this lava-hot issue even more puzzling.

We know how Democrats feel about this, but the election will swing on how independents vote. This could ignite them to see this latest attempt from the party of “freedom” to control women’s bodies as the last straw.

Rubio, of course, is passionately pro-life, but a Florida Atlantic University poll in May showed 67% of Floridians believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. It also showed that 63% of independent voters agreed with that stance.

Rubio routinely calls Democrat Val Demings an extremist on the issue, but it’s not hard to imagine thousands of Florida women saying, “Yeah? And your point?”

Demings, by the way, already had a powerful anti-Rubio ad on abortion showing up on Florida TVs in recent days.

“As a police officer, some of the worst cases I worked were sexual assaults. It’s outrageous to mandate what a woman can and can’t do with their body,” Demings says in the ad.

“Marco Rubio wants to criminalize abortions with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Well, I know something about fighting crime, Sen. Rubio. Rape is a crime. Incest is a crime. Abortion is not.”

I would imagine she’ll pound Rubio even harder now. He opened the door wide to give Democrats a chance to make abortion rights more important to voters than the economy. And polls consistently show that a strong majority of Floridians don’t agree with the hardline GOP stance.

Rubio’s move also could cause turbulence in other state elections, including the one for Governor. Anything that keeps this issue in the headlines reminds voters — particularly women — that the GOP-led Legislature rammed through an abortion ban after 15 weeks with no exceptions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn’t talk much about abortion, but he did sign that bill. Charlie Crist may remind voters about that about a thousand times before November.

Rubio has been around this game long enough that he should have been able to read the tea leaves. Polls show his race with Demings is fingernail-chewing close. Signing on with Graham’s doomed bill is the political equivalent of swimming out to meet the Titanic.

If Rubio wakes up the morning after the election with a voter mandate to clean out his desk, we’ll look back on this move as a pivotal reason why.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Tom

    September 14, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Writing it Joe from the pro choice side.
    60 to 70% of the public supports limits after first trimester.
    If Dumings says she’s opposed to 15 weeks she’s toast! She is.

    Rubio will have the center right, brilliant tactical move. Regardlessc of your 5% haters on FP.
    The Florida legislation is similar. It allows for life of mother with 2 docs sign off,

    Stop writing everything from the leftist side. The Dems are extreme on abortion, Period.

    • Nikki Fried

      September 14, 2022 at 8:05 pm

      When Charlie comes to town, he’s gonna drop kick your head, and I’m gonna give you a golden shower you incel dead beat.

    • marylou

      September 14, 2022 at 9:55 pm

      Women need to be almost dead to get medical treatment! They know women will die! What kind of psychopath even thinks up something so sadistic!

      Let Desantis suffer with a burst appendix while two doctors and a lawyer wait around for him to be close enough to death, send him home without treatment for his broken leg…it’s not going to kill him. And, if it does that’s God’s plan. When Satan picks up the trash these “Christians” are going right into the Eternity Incinerator.

  • PeterH

    September 14, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    Floridians need to google: “Rubio and Florida’s scarlet letter law’ that Rubio imposed on Florida’s women.

    Since Reagan made abortion a religious and Republican Party issue instead of a family decision between a woman and her physician……. I don’t understand why Republicans who have fought for five decades to overturn Roe v Wade are not campaigning and championing their historic win with ads and candidate endorsements?

    Here in Florida we never hear from Scott or DeSantis on this historic win for the GOP!

    So finally we hear from Marco Rubio and his desire to impose his narrow abortion opinion on not just Florida but the entire country. So much for FREEDUMB, limited gubberment, and State’s rights.

    Republicans are America’s problem.


  • ScienceBLVR

    September 14, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Ok, so If I was a pregnant female, and my life was in danger if I continue a pregnancy, I have to have permission from not one but two doctors for the procedure to save my life? Not the point at all, but how ridiculous. About 90% of abortions are before 13 weeks, but no one should get that choice but the female, period. I see a Blue wave coming on the heels of a Me Too Ocean, and women will make it happen. There’s more of them, and they are smarter and better educated than men, so watch out, the tsunami is coming.

    • Tom

      September 14, 2022 at 9:09 pm

      LMAO, mis believer.
      Blue wave of ice cake filling.
      You are full of manure.
      15 weeks is pretty common.
      Docs signing off is very European.
      60 to 70% support first trimester, not 9th month.
      Dumings, and Dems support til birth!
      We are not a third world for extermination.
      To bad mis believer.

      • Charlie Crist

        September 14, 2022 at 9:31 pm

        👆Vote for me. I’ll increase the time limit for abortion to whatever Tom’s current age is. The man is a walking advertisement for abortion for Christ sakes.

      • marylou

        September 14, 2022 at 10:24 pm

        Turn off Fox and actually read about the European abortion rights laws. It is VERY MISLEADING to say 15 weeks.

        Women will be denied care until they are almost dead. Many will die waiting. These sociopaths are ok with that. These POS need to wait then until they are almost dead before any treatment. Let’s just let everyone wait. And, if your condition won’t cause death, FU—go home.These fake “Christians” are going to burn for eternity.
        VOTE THEM OUT!

  • Tom

    September 14, 2022 at 11:01 pm

    FP Legend lives on!

  • George Landau

    September 18, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    What else can Marco Rubio do his governor DeSantis is exporting Venezuelans and soon to be exiled Cubans to other democratic cities and of course this abortion stance which no one likes but to say that protection through prophylactic and pills are 100% and if someone does actually have sex and become pregnant accidentally or even by Raper incest please order the rubber Republicans think they are saints and that their women don’t have sex until they’re married??

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn