Florida Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio sat down this weekend for a lengthy interview with KCCI News 8, a CBS affiliate in Iowa. Within that interview, he suggested that someone is selling and profiting from aborted fetal tissue. But, uh, who? Who’s doing that? Follow us in this nightmare of a sentence he uttered and let’s find out!

Rubio was asked, naturally, about Planned Parenthood and the videos purporting to show the non-profit breaking federal fetal tissue donation laws. Rubio has an interesting view here: that using fetal tissue for medical research is fine—as long as that fetal tissue came about through “the natural end of a pregnancy,” like a miscarriage. But he suggested that someone has created an “industry” where abortions are forced upon women and indeed, that people “not just to look forward to having more abortions but being able to sell that fetal tissue.”

From the video:

Rubio: There is a strong bipartisan consensus in America that taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions. And in the case of Planned Parenthood, number one, it is very unclear how all that money is intermingled, and number two, they have now been exposed for being involved in the trafficking of fetal human tissue for profit.

Anchor: What do you say to the people who have medical issues that that fetal human tissue has helped provide medical research, and has helped these people live better lives? What do you say to those people?

Rubio: So there are cases — we’re now getting into the weeds on it, but it’s an important question. And there are cases where a child is miscarried or there’s some other natural end of a pregnancy. And in those cases, if there’s something that can be salvaged from it that could help someone else, [inaudible] for it, no different from organ donation. Or unfortunately, someone who’s young and healthy dies in a car accident. I had a relative who died an untimely death, and his organs were harvested and helped save people and provide organs for them.

That’s different from saying, ‘We’re going to take the fetal tissue of aborted fetuses.’ Because now what you’ve done is you’ve created an industry. You’ve created an incentive for people to be pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit.

Anchor: Don’t you think that’s a stretch? Pushing people into abortions?

Rubio: Absolutely. If you go to one of these centers, young women are provided with very few options. In many places, they’re not told anything about, for example, adoption services that might be available to them. In essence, you come in and it’s already predetermined. This is what this place does. It provides abortions, and we are going to channel you in that direction.

I just think you’ve created an industry now — a situation where very much, you’ve created an incentive for people not just to look forward to having more abortions, but being able to sell that fetal tissue — these centers — for purposes of making a profit off it, as you’ve seen in some of these Planned Parenthood affiliates. [Emphasis ours]

(Planned Parenthood does actually provide information about adoption and adoption services.)

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There’s not a politician alive who’s dumb enough to suggest that women “look forward to” getting abortions so they can sell their fetal tissue. Rubio seems to realize halfway through his statement that he’s inadvertently accusing people of having abortions so they can raffle off their products of conception, and quickly changes course to make it clear that he’s accusing “these centers” of profiting from that tissue.

It’s interesting to watch GOP politicians try to carefully thread this needle in a way that suggests that abortions are never necessary, never desired by the pregnant person, and always forced upon them through some type of dastardly deception. (Some anti-abortion groups even suggest that PP intentionally distributes faulty condoms to increase their abortion business.) And it’s interesting, too, that there’s no discussion by Rubio or any of the other Republican candidates about changing fetal tissue donation laws—only about taking money away from Planned Parenthood, money that, for the millionth time, is not used to provide abortions.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Rubio speaks during the second GOP debate, September 16, 2015. Photo via AP Images