Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Pregnancy, Zika and the GOP's dictated choice

With fresh cases of Zika being reported in Florida and now in Texas as well, with almost 2,000 cases reported nationwide by the CDC, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was asked over the weekend whether pregnant women infected with the virus should be allowed to terminate their pregnancies or whether they should be forced by law to carry it to term despite the likelihood of severe or fatal abnormalities.

They should be forced by law to carry it to term, he said.

"I understand a lot of people disagree with my view," Rubio said, "but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it's a difficult question and a hard one. But if I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of life."

In one sense, I respect Rubio's point of view. It's honestly held and a product of his faith, and he isn't backing away from it even in a year when he faces a tough re-election fight. There's no reason to question what decision he and his family would personally make for themselves if they were confronted by the tragic options that Zika can force upon a couple or pregnant woman. Again, I honor and respect that.

That is also the position of the Republican Party, as expressed in its 2016 platform, which states:

"We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth.... We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life."

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.