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Sen. Marco Rubio, 2016 Republican presidential hopefulChristopher Halloran /

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio recently missed two significant opportunities in his role as U.S. senator to halt taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, dismissing the two Senate roll calls as “show votes.”

Asked about the absences last week while campaigning in Iowa, the Florida senator said that nothing could be done until a Republican is elected to the White House.

“What you just described is why I’m running for president,” Sen. Rubio said, according to the Des Moines Register. “I’m not even running for re-election in the Senate. I’m running for president, because we can’t change any of this unless we have people like that in the presidency.”

Rubio also cited a need to “fight them in the court of public opinion” before voting.

He faulted Congressional leaders for holding the votes “instead of saying: ‘We’re going to spend two to three months going out and into town halls, and aggressively talking to people about what this means, and convincing people [who] aren’t convinced yet that we’re right on this cause so they can pressure their senator or congressman to vote the right way.’”

Instead, he said, House and Senate leadership say, “‘Well, we’re not going to win this vote anyway, so we’ll do a show vote.' But ultimately the president’s not going to sign it and we lost.”

Rubio worried that the votes “haven’t set the table for the time when you can” prevail.

The Florida senator was absent for the September 28 cloture vote, instead attending a private fundraiser for his presidential campaign in the exclusive Windermere, Florida, area.

Rubio then showed up the following evening as a guest on Fox News Channel's “Hannity,” criticizing Senate Republicans for not being strong enough in fighting Planned Parenthood.

Rubio was again absent for the Senate’s September 30 vote on final passage of the continuing resolution, which did not strip the abortion giant of taxpayer funding, as conservatives had been hoped.

Ironically, rival Donald Trump has called attention to Rubio's high absentee record in the Senate.

Nonetheles, the senator has campaigned aggressively as a pro-life champion in his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

He told an audience in Cedar Falls, Iowa, last week that for him, the life issue was a human rights issue, and that he believed Planned Parenthood should not receive federal funding, questioning why there wasn’t more federal government scrutiny of the abortion chain.

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This summer while campaigning, Rubio said he was “sickened by the complete disregard for innocent unborn life evident at Planned Parenthood,” and that he was proud that one of his first actions in the Senate was voting to defund the organization.

In the first GOP presidential debate in August, Rubio had said future generations will look back at the history of the country and “call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies, whom we never gave them a chance to live.”

Rubio has also stated while campaigning that he supports over the counter access to the morning after pill.