07/24/2013 07:00 pm ET Updated Jul 24, 2013

Marco Rubio Wants To Be Lead Sponsor Of 20-Week Abortion Ban


Despite the concerns of some Republican mega-donors, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Wednesday that he would like to be the lead sponsor of a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that passed the House earlier this year.

“If someone else would like to do it instead of me, I’m more than happy to consider it," Rubio told Politico. "But I’d like to be the lead sponsor. I feel very strongly about this issue."

Abortion was not a winning issue for Republicans during the 2012 elections, but conservatives have found an effective wedge issue in the 20-week ban, which a majority of Americans seem to support.

Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told HuffPost that several senators are interested in the legislation, and that Rubio is taking a while to introduce it because he is "working with them on legislative language that people can coalesce around." Rubio further explained the delay by saying that he and his colleagues are trying to figure out which part of the constitution authorizes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“What we have among pro-life supporters in the Senate is a difference of opinion about: Which constitutionally enumerated power is this flowing under?” Rubio said. “We just have not yet been able to come to a consensus on that.”

The 20-week abortion ban would violate the legal precedent established by Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman's right to have an abortion up until the fetus is viable outside the womb. Viability usually occurs around 24 weeks.

Less than 2 percent of all abortions occur after the 20-week mark. Reproductive rights advocates argue that the women who have abortions after that point usually have strong medical reasons for doing so.

"These rare cases are often the most challenging — ranging from cases of severe fetal anomalies to cases where the woman’s health is in jeopardy — so they don’t lend themselves in any way to blanket policies crafted by anti-choice politicians," Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told HuffPost. "But when given the chance to educate ordinary folks on what’s at stake and introduce them to who gets hurt by these policies, they overwhelmingly feel like it’s not their place to render judgment."



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