(CNN)Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said his views on abortion -- which were grilled Thursday night at the Republican field's first primary debate -- are rooted in his faith and that's why he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.
Marco Rubio defends abortion stance: Human life begins at conception
"People should hope that my faith influences my political position and in this case I'm proud to say that my faith influences me," he told CNN's "New Day" on Friday. "It teaches me that God knew us when he formed us in the womb. ... And even some human life that some scientist wants to have a debate about but I believe that science is clear. That when there is conception that that is a human life in the early stages of its total development that is worthy of the protection of our laws."
CNN's Chris Cuomo asked the senator about co-sponsoring a previous bill that allowed abortions in instances of rape and incest victims -- which Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly sharply questioned the Florida senator about on Thursday.
Rubio, a conservative Catholic, said he is not in favor of abortion even in cases of rape or incest, a minority position even among anti-abortion voters.
"I think both of those instances are horrifying and fortunately, they are extremely rare. It happens. And anytime it happens, it's horrifying and it's a tragedy," he said. "But I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection irrespective of the circumstances, in which, that human life was created. I personally believe that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy."
The Florida senator has recently been vocal about his desire to see Planned Parenthood defunded following the release of videos accusing the group of illegally selling the organs and tissue of aborted fetuses.
"Every single one of us started at that same stage. It can't become anything other than a human being. And it is neither up to you nor I nor any politician to decide that we're going to allow this life to move forward and this life not to," Rubio said. "Do you want to really have a government in the decision of deciding what a human life is and what's not a human life?"
Rubio pushed back on the idea that his abortion positions are radical and said that a high value of human life is a traditional view that resonates with most Americans and that should not change.
"The value of life is timeless. The idea that a human life is worthy of the protection of our laws is not something that over time anyone should evolve on," he said.