Washington (CNN)Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says he opposes abortion in all instances -- but he'd support legislation that includes exceptions in cases such as rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened, and he has no problem with contraception.
Marco Rubio says he opposes abortions in all instances
The Republican presidential contender was asked Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" about his comment in Thursday night's debate that "all human life is worthy of protection, irrespective of the circumstances in which that human life was created."
Rubio said Sunday that he will support "any legislation that reduces the number of abortions."
That, he said, includes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks -- even though "that doesn't obviously cover the whole gamut."
And, he said, it includes supporting abortion restrictions that include exceptions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened.
"A rape is an act of violence. It's a horrifying thing that happens. And fortunately, the number of abortions in this country that are due to rape are very small, less than 1% of the cases in the world. But they happen. And they're horrifying. And they're tragic. And I recognize that," Rubio said.
"I also recognize that because of the existence of over-the-counter morning after, not to mention medical treatment that's now available immediately after the assault, that should be widely available to victims, we can bring that number down to zero," he said. "That being said, I personally and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws. I do. And I believe that irrespective of the conditions by which that life was conceived or anything else."
Rubio said he doesn't, though, support restrictions on access to morning-after pills or intrauterine devices that prevent pregnancies.
"I don't want to ban any contraceptive efforts," Rubio said. "Obviously, my faith has a teaching that governs me in my personal life on these issues. But I think our laws on those issues are different."
He also offered sympathy for girls and women who face difficult decisions about whether to have abortions.
"I don't say it's easy. Listen, you're 15 years old and you become pregnant and you're scared and you have your whole life ahead of you and you're facing this, that is a hard situation. I tell people all the time, 'Don't pretend this is easy.' This is a difficult question," Rubio said.
"But when asked to make a decision between two very hard circumstances," he said, "I've personally reached the conclusion if I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of life, on the side of protecting a human being."