I am endorsing Marco Rubio for President. As a pro-life apologist, I am convinced he’s the best candidate to articulate the moral vision our nation needs at this crucial moment. Both his worldview and his pro-life record affirm that endorsement.
Right now as you are reading this sentence, the United States is having a huge argument over two key questions that will impact you, your children, and even your grandchildren for decades to come. How we answer these questions will do nothing less than determine the future of human equality.
First, we’re arguing about truth. Is moral truth real and knowable or is it just a preference like choosing chocolate ice cream over vanilla? Second, we’re arguing over human dignity. Does each and every human being have equal dignity or do only some have it in virtue of some characteristic that none of us share equally and that may come and go in the course of our lifetimes?
Debates over abortion are contentious because they involve deep worldview commitments that get to the heart of who and what we are as people. But the debate itself is not complex. Either you believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life or you don’t.
Senator Rubio believes in human equality and is prepared to defend that belief on hostile turf. If you doubt this, watch his recent exchange with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. Throughout the interview, Cuomo repeatedly tried to frame Marco’s pro-life case as subjective opinion. Marco would have none of it, insisting that his own position was scientifically credible and rationally defensible. Cuomo had nowhere to go but to repeat his baseless assertion.
I’ve been waiting a long time for a candidate to stand his ground like that. For the last 25 years I’ve trained pro-life apologists to make a persuasive case for life in the public square. I’ve never seen any political figure—not even Ronald Reagan—do better than Marco Rubio defending life under fire.
The pro-life case wins when it’s properly understood and properly articulated. A qualified pro-life candidate can state that case in a minute or less. Put simply, the science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct, living, and whole human being. You didn’t evolve from an embryo. You once were and embryo. Meanwhile, there is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, level of development, environment, and degree of dependency are not good reasons for saying you could be killed then but not now.
In short, humans are equal by nature not function. Although they differ immensely in their respective degrees of development, they possess fundamental dignity because, as Jefferson points out in the Declaration of Independence, they share a common human nature made in the image of God.
Pro-lifers don’t rely exclusively on Scripture to tell them these things. They are truths secular libertarians can, and sometimes do, recognize. If human value is based on some characteristic like self-awareness none of us share equally, those with more of that characteristic have a greater right to life than those with less. Human equality is a myth. Yet rarely do critics of human equality present principled arguments explaining why pro-life advocates are mistaken on these points.
Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. Saying so does not mean you hate women. Indeed, many abortion-choice advocates state plainly that abortion is intentional killing. Feminist Camille Paglia writes, “Abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful.” Feminist Naomi Wolf calls abortion “a real death.”
Senator Rubio understands that abortion is wrong for the same reason racism and sexism are wrong. In the past, we used to discriminate on the basis of skin color and gender. Now, with elective abortion, we do it on the basis of size, level of development, and dependency. We’ve simply swapped one form of bigotry for another. For that reason, he believes respecting a woman’s dignity means offering her better choices than killing her unborn offspring.
Senator Rubio’s record on pro-life issues is one of action not talk. He has a 100% rating from National Right to Life in the 112th and 113th Congresses and a 0% rating from Planned Parenthood. He’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood and supports an internal review of Planned Parenthood’s compliance with federal law and regulations. He has worked to ban federal funding of abortions and health insurance policies that cover abortion. He co-sponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to ensure that abortion-providers are punished if they do not properly care for abortion survivors. He co-sponsored legislation to protect healthcare workers who refuse to participate in abortion-related activities, along with a bill to ban sex-selective abortions.
As President, Marco will sign legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and pass the pro-life bills he’s sponsored in the Senate. He will promptly reinstate the Mexico City Policy to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions overseas. He will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices who read the Constitution instead of inventing a right to abort out of thin air.
The abortion controversy is not going away anytime soon because it’s not really about a surgical procedure. Beneath the rhetoric from both sides lies a fundamental question that strikes at the core of who we are as a people. Who counts as one of us? Abraham Lincoln was right: A house divided on that fundamental question cannot stand.
It’s crucial that pro-life advocates have a candidate like Marco Rubio who can say why.