Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) laid out his strong anti-abortion views in a speech on Friday, calling the Supreme Court's landmark abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade a "historically, egregiously flawed decision" that "has condoned the taking of innocent life on a massive scale."
“It is fundamentally impossible for America to reach her destiny as a nation founded on the equal rights of all if our government believes an entire segment of the human population doesn’t have a right to exist," the 2016 presidential candidate said at the National Right to Life Convention in New Orleans.
The Supreme Court legalized abortion in the 1973 decision, ruling that states cannot prevent women from obtaining the procedure up until the fetus would be viable outside the womb, around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. In the years before abortion was legal, it was common for women to land in the hospital after seeking illegal, "back-alley" abortions or attempting to self-induce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade, 130,000 women obtained illegal or self-induced procedures, and 39 of them died.
Republicans in Congress are currently trying to chip away at Roe v. Wade by banning abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. Rubio and nearly every other Republican presidential candidate has endorsed the legislation. Ten states have enacted similar abortion limits, and anti-abortion advocates hope one of the laws eventually makes its way to the Supreme Court and overturns Roe.
Rubio said Friday that the issue of abortion is "more than political or policy-related. It is a definitional issue about the kind of country we want to be."
According to a recent Gallup poll, half of Americans consider themselves "pro-choice," while 44 percent identify as "pro-life." But Rubio said he believes that nearly every American is personally opposed to the procedure, regardless of whether they think it should be legal.
“You can judge a cause by the arguments made on both sides. For example, I rarely meet anyone who’s willing to say they’re pro-abortion,” he said. “They’ll say they’re pro-choice, but almost everyone I’ve met says that they personally disagree with abortion. That alone tells us a little about the basic common sense the issue is built on.”
Watch the video above.