KEENE, N.H. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Catholic presidential hopeful Chris Christie is claiming opponent Catholic senator Marco Rubio is too pro-life.
In an interview on MSNBC Thursday New Jersey governor and 2016 GOP presidential hopeful Chris Christie stated that Rubio's stance against abortion in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened is too radical.
"I will tell you one thing Marco Rubio has done, he has made it very clear that on the issue of pro-life, Marco Rubio is not for an exception for ... rape, incest or life of the mother," Christie told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough.
Speaking of next Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, Christie asserted that Rubio's position is one the state's "voters would be really concerned about."
Christie, who has held the office of New Jersey governor since 2010, went on to say his own pro-life position has concessions. "I'm pro-life," he affirmed, "but I believe that rape, incest and life of the mother — as Ronald Reagan did — should be exceptions to that rule."
The governor concluded by accusing Rubio, who placed third in Monday's Iowa caucus, of shifting positions "depending on what he thinks he can get out of the electorate and what he can get from them."
Rubio had made his position clear in an August Republican debate. The Florida senator contended that, while he acknowledges rape and incest are "horrifying," he also believes "you do not correct one tragedy with a second tragedy."
I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not, whether they can speak or not; whether they can hire a lawyer or not; whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies [whom] we never gave ... a chance to live.
During a post-debate interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Rubio stated when faced with a decision "between two very hard circumstances," he would "err on the side of life."
In the same interview, however, Rubio, a revert to Catholicism, asserted the number of abortions could be brought down to zero because of "over-the-counter morning-after pills." He affirmed that while his faith "has a teaching that governs" him in his personal life with regard to birth control, he doesn't "want to ban any contraceptive efforts."
Christie's own concessions to his claimed pro-life position may extend beyond exceptions for rape and incest. A story that appeared in the Newark Star-Ledger in 1994 quotes Christie as saying :"I support Planned Parenthood privately with my personal contribution, and that should be the goal of any such agency, to find private donations. It's also no secret that I am pro-choice."
Christie asserts he has been misquoted and claims he became pro-life after hearing the heartbeat of his unborn daughter. While campaigning in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial race, Christie admitted that, while he himself was pro-life, he would not use the office of governor to "force that down people's throats."
In August, as he was campaigning in New Hampshire, Christie announced, "I'm a Catholic, but I've used birth control — and not just the rhythm method."
He went on to say that though his Church "has a teaching against birth control," he believes using contraception doesn't "make [him] an awful Catholic." Christie acknowledged he'll only know for sure when it is his "time to be judged."
Both Christie and Rubio are currently preparing for Tuesday's New Hampshire vote, which officially kicks off primary season for the 2016 presidential race.