Marco Rubio vs. Chris Cuomo: Senator Slams Anchor's 'Radical' Abortion Position

Liberal CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Friday berated Marco Rubio's pro-life stance at Thursday's debate, deriding it as "backward." The presidential candidate fought back, mocking the journalist's defense of abortion as "radical." Cuomo lectured, "To not have a carve-out for rape and incest is also something that seems very backward-looking in terms of the cultural mores that we have today." 

Cuomo warned, "...Cultural mores in this country, certainly the opinions of women, are not in step with what you're saying right now. You're comfortable with that?" 

A rapid fire debate followed on when life began: 

CHRIS CUOMO: I know, but you're deciding when it is human life. Let me ask you something. You - when you're looking at the future -

MARCO RUBIO: No, science has decided when it is human life. 

CUOMO: Science has not decided it's at conception.

RUBIO: No, let me correct you. Science has -- absolutely it has.

CUOMO: Not at conception.

RUBIO: Science has decided that when a - science has concluded -- absolutely it has. What else can it be? It cannot turn into an animal. I can't turn into a donkey. That's the law. The only thing that that can become is a human being.

CUOMO: But you - no, but you know that the law has perused this. The fact that - look, of course, I understand the logic but it's a little too simple with -

RUBIO: Every human - human like. It can't be anything else. 

Firing back at the journalist, Rubio informed, "Well, that's a radical position that you've taken on." 

One only has to look at science textbooks to see what Rubio is talking about. For instance, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology: 

Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual... The zygote divides many times and becomes progressively transformed into a multi-cellular human being.

A partial transcript of the August 7 segment is below: 

8:28

CHRIS CUOMO: Let's take your position as you present it this morning. To not have a carve-out for rape and incest is also something that seems very backward-looking in terms of the cultural mores that we have today. Why do you not see rape and incest as areas for potential carve-outs, even if you are pro-life? 

MARCO RUBIO: First, I think both of those instances are horrifying and fortunately, they're extremely rare. It happens and anytime it happens, it's horrifying. It's a tragedy.  But I personally and honestly and deeply believe that all human life is worthy of protection, irrespective of the circumstances in which that life was created. I personally believe that you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy. That's how I feel, very strongly about. I believe all human life, irrespective of the circumstances in which they came into being, is worthy of the protection of our laws and I recognize this is a tough question. It's a very difficult question. And I understand that. Believe me, I do. But by the same token if I have to weigh the two equities here, I'm always going to err on the side of life. I think that's a timeless principle. Certainly our economy has evolved. But when it comes to issue like the value of every human life is a timeless principle. It's true now, it's true before and it will be true in the future. 

CUOMO: It's interesting that you draw distinctions about the old and the new in certain regards, but in this one you say it's timeless. Because, as you know, cultural mores  in this country, certainly the opinions of women, are not in step with what you're saying right now. You're comfortable with that? 

RUBIO: But the value of life is timeless. The - no, no, no, the value of life is timeless. The idea that a human life is worthy of the protection of our laws is not something that over time anybody should evolve on. I mean you can - you can change your economic policies to justify your economy's different.

CUOMO: Right. But the idea - you're - you're deciding -

RUBIO: You can accept changes - the idea that human life is worthy of protection is a timeless principle. I don't care how much the world changes.

CUOMO: I know, but you're deciding when it is human life. Let me ask you something. You - when you're looking at the future -

RUBIO: No, science has decided when it is human life. 

CUOMO: Science has not decided it's at conception.

RUBIO: No, let me correct you. Science has - absolutely it has.

CUOMO: Not at conception.

RUBIO: Science has decided that when a - science has concluded -- absolutely it has. What else can it be? It cannot turn into an animal. I can't turn into a donkey. That's the law. The only thing that that can become is a human being.

CUOMO: But you - no, but you know that the law has perused this. The fact that - look, of course, I understand the logic but it's a little too simple with -

RUBIO: Every human - human like. It can't be anything else. 

CUOMO: Senator, I understand that, but that's oversimplifying it a little bit. 

RUBIO: It is simple. It's straightforward. 

CUOMO: This is not my argument. This is a presented argument of science. It having a DNA map. So does a plant. It's about when it becomes a human being. I'm not saying what I think in answer to that question. That's not my position. But don't you think, if you want to be a leader of the future, that's a question that deserves an answers that is definitive beyond your faith. When does life begin? None of you are calling for any type at panel -

RUBIO: At conception. At conception.

CUOMO: That's your faith. That's your faith. That's not science. 

RUBIO: No, it isn't. That's science. 

CUOMO: It is not definitive science. 

RUBIO: Absolutely it is.

...

RUBIO: Chris, do you want to really have a government in the decision of deciding what a human life is and what's not a human life?

CUOMO: No, I don't. No, I don't.

RUBIO: That's a human life. It can't be anything else.

CUOMO: No, I don't.

RUBIO: Well, that's a radical position that you've taken on.

CUOMO: Well, senator, this is what I'm saying, you're over-talking the question, and that's - that's your right of tactic. But I'll tell you this, when it begins should not be a focus of faith or of suggestion, it should be a focus of science, just like we did with when life ends. We used to have these same arguments 25, 30 years ago. You had scientists come together and talk about brain activity and the end of life and it clarified a lot of positions. I'm saying, if you're going to be a leader of the future, this is something that deserves an answer that goes beyond faith. That's all I'm saying as a suggestion, not as an answer - not as a suggestion to the answer to the question. 

RUBIO: And, again, I'm just telling you that - well, first of all, I'm happy that my faith - let me tell you something, I'm happy that my faith influences my political position because my faith teaches me to care for the needy, my faith teaches me to respect and love even my enemies, my faith teaches me to forgive those who slight me. So people should hope that my faith influences my political position. And in this case, yes, I'm proud to say that my faith influences me. It teaches me that God knew us when he formed us in the womb. And it does influence me to believe that all human life is worthy of protection, even human life that doesn't have a birth certificate, even human life that maybe some scientist wants to have a debate about. But I think the science is clear that when a child - when there is conception, that is a human life in the early stages of its total development and it is worthy of the protection of our laws. And I'm not in favor of destroying human life because people decide that somehow they're going to make some obscure scientific argument in the opposite. I hope we are always a country that errors on the side of life.

CUOMO: I think it's that last point, an obscure scientific reference. We don't have scientific consensus. That's the concern. But thank you for laying out your position, senator, on this and these other important issues. We look very much forward to having you on to continue this debate as you go through the election. Good luck to you, senator. 

RUBIO: Thank you.


Please support NewsBusters today! (a 501c3 non-profit production of the Media Research Center)

DONATE
CyberAlerts Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Abortion CNN New Day Video Chris Cuomo Marco Rubio
Scott Whitlock's picture