Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) defended his stance on contraception in an interview with a local Miami news station Thursday, following the defeat of an amendment he co-sponsored in March allowing employers to limit birth control coverage -- or any health service -- for moral reasons.
Rubio was first asked whether he thought contraception was wrong.
"Of course not," he said to CBS 4 Miami. "Who says it is? You’re going to get into this whole argument about contraception. No one has ever said that contraception should be illegal, that contraception should be discouraged, that people should be looked down upon for using it. The only argument that there ever has been about this issue isn’t even about contraception, it’s about religious liberty."
Following an Obama administration rule requiring most religiously-affiliated employers to cover birth control at no cost in their health plans, Rubio sponsored a bill allowing any employer to deny birth control coverage in their health plan for religious beliefs. He later co-sponsored the more restrictive Blunt Amendment that would have allowed an employer to deny coverage for any health service on religious or moral grounds. That amendment failed in the Senate by a 51-48 vote.
Later on in the interview, Rubio was asked about recent comments by fellow Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who recently broke with many in her party and spoke out strongly for reproductive rights. "It makes no sense to make this attack on women," she said on KBBI AM 890 Public Radio's Coffee Table program, according to the Homer News. "If you don't feel this is an attack, you need to go home and talk to your wife and your daughters."
In the interview, Murkowski affirmed the legal right to an abortion and criticized GOP presidential candidates for not condemning Rush Limbaugh for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute." Limbaugh later apologized for his comments after a firestorm of criticism ensued.
Rubio disputed what Murkowski actually said. "First of all it’s not an attack on women," responded Rubio. "Nor is she saying that it is. I think what she is saying is that is how it is being perceived. And as I’ve told you before rhetoric is reality in politics."
Despite repeated denials, Rubio is considered by many a possible vice-presidential nominee in 2012 for the Republican party.