Rubio: Opposing abortion isn't about denying rights

(CBS News) While President Obama ratchets up his attacks against Republicans on the issue of reproductive rights and abortion, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida defended his party's stance on the issue.

"I think what's important to understand, yes, Mitt Romney is pro-life and the Republican Party, although it has diversity on this issue, is the home of the pro-life movement in American politics," Rubio said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

The Republican party is gathering in Tampa, Fla., this week for its national convention, where in addition to nominating Mitt Romney for president, the party will officially adopt its national platform. Last week, the party added language to the platform calling for a Constitutional amendment banning abortion, with no mention of making exceptions for victims of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother. ,/P>

President Obama in an interview Saturday said that Romney, if he were president, would not "stand in the way" if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women's control over their reproductive health.

Rubio told "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer that for those opposed to abortion, "this is not an issue about denying anyone rights. This is an issue about protecting the rights of a human being to live - irrespective of what stage in development they may be."

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While it may not be a top priority for voters, Rubio said, "I think we're capable of discussing the issue of life in an intellectually honest way that's true to our principles and at the same time make it very clear to the American people that we understand what it takes to grow the economy."

At least one Republican, Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, has come under fire over the issue, after he suggested that women are biologically unlikely to become pregnant if they are raped. The Republican Party has asked Akin to drop his Senate bid, but so far he insists he will stay in the race.

Rubio said Sunday the choice is ultimately Akin's to make, but that "his statements make it much more difficult - borderline impossible, perhaps - for him to win that race."

As for whether Akin's remarks could hurt the GOP nationally, Rubio said the election would instead come down to what Romney stands for - a subject Rubio will broach when he delivers a speech at the Republican convention on Thursday.

Rubio told Schieffer that the convention would lay out the GOP vision of the way forward and give voters a better understanding of who Romney is.

"This election's not just a choice between two men or two political parties," Rubio said. "It's literally a choice about which direction we want this country to go. Do we think that the way forward is for us to become more like the rest of the world, or is the way forward for us to help the rest of the world become more like us, a nation that's bought into free enterprise?"

And while voters may already be familiar with Romney's business life, they should also hear about his personal life, Rubio said.

"This man is a personal role model to young men - younger men like me, as a father, as a husband," he said. "You look how successful his family has been. Everywhere that he has ever gone, whether in his church or his community, he has made it better using his talents and his time."

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