Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is stepping up his anti-choice strategy ahead of this week’s Roe v. Wade anniversary and the looming Iowa caucus, releasing an ad touting his anti-choice platform and creating an advisory board to help show his opposition to abortion.
“If I have to make a choice, I am going to choose life,” Rubio said in the ad, after promising to “look for ways to limit the number of abortions in this country.”
Rubio announced Tuesday that he had created an anti-choice advisory board to help guide his campaign on abortion. The board would work with his administration, should he win the presidency.
In a statement for LifeNews, the Republican presidential candidate justified his board by declaring abortion a “human rights issue,” claiming that the United States has overlooked the principles on which it was founded by allowing abortion to be legal.
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“Abortion is not a political issue to me, it’s a human rights issue. It involves a fundamental question about who is worthy of the protection of our laws that reveals the kind of nation we are,” Rubio said. “The inherent dignity of every human life is the foundational principle on which America was founded, though we have, to our shame, too often failed to live up to that standard. Someday, hopefully in our lifetimes, but certainly someday, Americans will look back and wonder how we could possibly have been so barbaric.”
Rubio explained that the board would be staffed with anti-choice leaders his campaign considered to be “authorities on the dignity of human life,” including legal experts, activists, and religious figures.
“We are especially proud to be working with those who understand the broader ethic of human life that applies to all those on the margins of society, including women facing the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy, the poor, disabled, sick, and elderly,” Rubio told the anti-choice site.
Rubio’s advisers include activist Abby Johnson, an ex-Planned Parenthood employee turned anti-choice spokesperson, as well as Steve Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom. Johnson participated in a smear campaign launched against Planned Parenthood last year by an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress, which coordinated with Republican legislators nationwide in efforts to defund the health-care organization.
“I believe that because of my intimate knowledge of the abortion industry, I can help him craft talking points surrounding issues specifically related to abortion legislation, clinic regulations and other similar topic,” Johnson said in a statement to Mother Jones. “[W]e need to do a better job of getting a message of love out to the masses and it will be an honor to help do that through this committee.”
Rubio’s announcement was preceded by the release of an anti-abortion ad to be aired in Iowa, where the evangelical voting bloc will play a key role in the state’s upcoming caucus.
“It’s not because I want to tell anybody what to do with their bodies or their lives, but because I believe that one of the fundamental rights given to us by our Creator is the right to live,” Rubio said in the ad.
Rubio has made his anti-choice stance no secret while on the campaign trail, and has faced criticism—even from those within his own party—for his extreme position that anti-choice legislation does not need to contain exceptions for cases of rape or incest.