Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, has said women infected with the Zika virus should be denied abortions.
The ban should apply even if a woman had reason to believe that her child would be born with severe microcephaly - a developmental disorder that can result from Zika infection.
"I understand a lot of people disagree with my view - but I believe that all human life is worthy of protection of our laws. And when you present it in the context of Zika or any prenatal condition, it's a difficult question and a hard one," Rubio told Politico.
"But if I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of life."
Florida is the first state in the US in which cases have been discovered in people who have not travelled to countries confirmed to have been affected by the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
Rick Scott, Florida's Governor, said that 16 local cases had been identified in the state.
During his campaign for the White House, Rubio garnered strong support from Christian conservatives with his hard line on abortion.
The Florida senator, who has decided to run for re-election, said he opposed abortion in all cases, including rape and incest.
"Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with," Rubio added.
"And when they are, it's a lifetime of difficulties. So I get it. I'm not pretending to you that that's an easy question you asked me.
"But I'm pro-life. And I'm strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life."
As a senator, Rubio has backed federal funding to tackle the Zika virus, successfully proposing a measure which allocated $1.1 billion to combat the disease.