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Abortion rights group hits Marco Rubio over Zika

in 2017/Top Headlines by

A top abortion rights organization is taking a swing at Sen. Marco Rubio.

NARAL Pro-Choice America released a new campaign ad Tuesday, hitting Rubio over his decision to support legislation that didn’t fund women’s health clinics in the wake of the Zika outbreak. The advertisement — part of a six-figure ad campaign — also takes a swing at Rubio for not allowing women infected with the disease to get an abortion.

“Sen. Rubio is putting the interests of extreme right-wing groups ahead of the women of Florida. Rubio’s actions are putting women and families in Florida, ground zero for this outbreak, at much greater risk,” said Sasha Bruce, senior vice president for campaigns and strategy at NARAL, in a statement. “Women deserve a full range of health care options, including abortion, not options limited by Sen. Rubio’s extreme and out-of-touch political beliefs. This is true always, but especially during a public health crisis. Sen. Rubio should stop playing politics and do the right thing for women and families of Florida.”

Rubio backed several Zika funding bills, including a House GOP-backed bill that, among other things, included provisions to defund Planned Parenthood in Puerto Rico. Senate Democrats blocked that $1.1 billion funding bill in June.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill again Tuesday.

“The Zika virus is here; it’s dangerous to pregnant women, and it has no cure. But Marco Rubio voted against funding health clinics that provide critical care during this public health emergency,” an announcer says in the ad. “Marco Rubio continues to be against a woman’s right to choose an abortion even they’re infected with the Zika virus. Tell Marco Rubio to stop putting his agenda ahead of the health and safety of women and families.”

The ad will air on TV in Orlando and West Palm Beach, while digital ads will run across the state.

“Patrick Murphy is the only candidate to have voted against every measure to fund Zika – once again putting himself and his political aspirations before Floridians,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Rubio’s campaign. “Marco was one of the first Republicans to support the president’s funding request and has supported every single Zika proposal that has come up in the Senate. Meanwhile, Murphy continues to exploit this public health and economic emergency in order to score political points.

There were 705 cases of Zika in Florida as of Sept. 1. According to the Department of Health, 80 of those cases involved pregnant women, while 49 cases were locally acquired cases.

The organization is running similar ads in Tennessee and Mississippi.

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