Sen. Marco Rubio reportedly has agreed to carry a bill banning most abortions after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy — a move that would put him at the forefront of another politically charged issue that could help him win over some of the conservatives that have been turned off by his support for comprehensive immigration reform.
The Weekly Standard reported that Mr. Rubio, a Florida Republican who is a likely 2016 presidential candidate, plans to announce his sponsorship of the proposal after the weeklong Fourth of July recess.
Alex Conant, a spokesman for Mr. Rubio, said that he could not confirm the report and that “we have nothing to announce.” A Rubio adviser, meanwhile, confirmed that pro-life groups have asked Mr. Rubio to sponsor the bill and that the freshman lawmaker most likely will make a decision after he returns to Washington next week.
The GOP-led House passed a similar proposal last month that carved out an exemption for a woman if her life is threatened or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
The proposal was approved roughly weeks after Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion provider, sparked a national debate when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of babies that prosecutors said were killed after being delivered alive.
The issue of abortion rights also grabbed national headlines when little-known Texas Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered a Republican-driven proposal that would have made Texas the 12th state with a Republican-led Legislature to adopt the 20-week ban since 2010, The New York Times reported.
The Texas Legislature still is expected to pass the restrictions.
If Mr. Rubio spearheads the effort in the Senate, he will have a tough time selling it to the Democratic majority, but the move could help him score political points with social conservatives across the country who play such a key role in the GOP presidential primary process.