Conservative media are applauding Marco Rubio for how he defended his extreme stance that abortion should be illegal in all cases, except to save the life of the mother, during the February 6 Republican primary debate. But many of these media outlets are ignoring the fact that most Americans do not agree with his position.
Rubio Supports Ban On Abortion, Including In Instances Of Rape Or Incest
Marco Rubio: “I Would Rather Lose An Election Than Be Wrong On The Issue Of Life.” During the February 6 Republican presidential debate before the New Hampshire primary, Sen.Marco Rubio (R-FL) responded to criticism of his stance on abortion, which he believes should be banned without “exceptions for rape or incest.” From The Hill:
Marco Rubio is defending his controversial stance on abortion, saying he would rather lose votes than bend on what he sees as an important moral issue.
“I want to be frank,” the Florida senator told the New Hampshire audience at Saturday night's Republican debate. “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life.”
Rubio was questioned about whether his hardline opposition to abortion -- he believes there should not be exceptions for rape or incest, only to save the life of the mother -- could appeal to millennials. [The Hill, 2/6/16]
Conservative Media Cheer Rubio's Defense Of His Position
Breitbart News: Rubio Gave “An Effective Defense Of His Position On Abortion.” In a February 6 article, Breitbart News cheered Rubio for “deliver[ing] an effective defense of his position on abortion.” The article noted that in his answer, Rubio was “emphasizing the value of life in every case”:
In Saturday night's ABC News debate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blasted freshman Florida Senator Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for being over-reliant on scripted talking points.
Rubio was flustered by the attack, but got back on track and was able to deliver an effective defense of his position on abortion-which more moderate governors like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have been hitting the freshman senator for not believing in exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother.
For Republican consultants, that exception is crucial for winning a campaign for president, but Rubio's message has broken that rule by emphasizing the value of life in every case. [Breitbart.com, 2/6/16]
Weekly Standard: Rubio's Answer Was “Interesting” Because He Focused “On Abortion As An Issue Of Life And Human Rights.” In a February 7 article titled “Marco Rubio's Thoughtful Answer on Abortion,” The Weekly Standard wrote, “Rubio's answer on abortion was ... interesting,” and noted that he was “focusing on abortion as an issue of life and human rights”:
Rubio's answer on abortion was more interesting. He began by focusing on abortion as an issue of life and human rights. “On the issue of life, to me, the issue of life is not a political issue. It's a human rights issue.”
Then, Rubio explained something politicians don't often discuss--the competing rights that create a divide on the issue. “It puts in conflict two competing rights. On the one hand is the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body, which is a real right. And on the other hand is the right of an unborn human child to live. And they're in conflict.”
In his answer, Rubio addressed his opponents' values with respect. He explained how this issue of abortion puts him in a position where he has to choose between the right to life and right for a woman to control her body, and that he errs on the side of life. [The Weekly Standard, 2/7/16]
RedState: Rubio “Knocks It Out Of The Park On Abortion.” In a February 6 post, the blog RedState dubbed Marco Rubio's answer defending his abortion position “one of the strongest moments of the night” (emphasis original):
Every Republican and conservative in America knows the media's double standards when it comes to asking hard questions. It was especially evident this week in the difference between the Democrat and Republican debates. And it is the most evident in how the media deal with abortion. Sen. Rubio takes them apart over it.
For a guy who had a rough debate, that was still one of the strongest moments of the night. [RedState, 2/6/16]
Washington Examiner: Though His Response Was “Particularly Astute,” Rubio's Position On Abortion Is “Outside The Mainstream.” In a February 7 article titled “Marco Rubio's brilliant answer on abortion,” The Washington Examiner also praised called Rubio's response“particularly astute” and said that “it should be an example for other candidates to follow,” but acknowledged that Rubio's position is, in fact, extreme:
At the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on Saturday, several of the candidates were asked about their positions on abortion. Marco Rubio's answer to a question about how he would respond to claims that his position is intolerant or extreme stood out as being particularly astute, and it should be an example for other candidates to follow.
Marco Rubio's position on abortion is, statistically speaking, outside the mainstream. He believes abortion should be outlawed except to save the life of the mother. That position -- which rejects abortion in cases of rape or incest -- is held only by about 20 percent of the public.
That said, Rubio didn't back away from his position or try to change the subject. Instead, he asked the audience to think about abortion less as a political or legal issue and more as a human rights and moral one. [The Washington Examiner, 2/7/16]
Majority Of Americans Think Abortion Should Be Legal When Pregnancy Was Caused By Rape Or Incest
Gallup: Majority Of Americans Think Abortion Should Be Legal Under Certain Circumstances Or Any Circumstances. A 2015 poll from Gallup found that 51 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal under certain circumstances. In addition, 29 percent said they support legal abortion under any circumstance:
[Gallup, accessed 2/8/16]
Gallup: Seventy-Five Percent Believe Abortion Should Be Legal In Cases Of Rape Or Incest. A June 2011 poll found that 75 percent of people believe that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest:
[Gallup, accessed 2/8/16]
AP/GfK Poll: “Support For Legal Abortion” Is At The “Highest Level In The Past Two Years.” A December poll by Associated Press/GfK found that in spite of the political controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, "[s]upport for legal abortion in the U.S. has edged up to its highest level in the past two years." This increase was represented across both Democrats and Republicans, with “nearly six in 10 Americans -- 58 percent --” now supporting abortion “in most or all cases.” [Associated Press, 12/22/15]