Republican Delegate Says Children With Disabilities Are Punishment For Past Abortions

Bob Marshall, a Republican delegate from Virginia, said that “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion with handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” while speaking at a press conference about cutting funding for Planned Parenthood.

Although Planned Parenthood is mainly a women’s health service and abortions are a very small part of that, the organization has drawn heat for providing services that are much safer than any back-alley fraudster. When Planned Parenthood is defunded, bad things happen. Conservatives aren’t ones to listen to reason, however, and Marshall’s comments take the cake for conservative idiocy.

In addition to the tasteless quote already listed, he also said that, “in the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest,” as well as saying that Obama’s health care reform “seeks to take your soul.”

He did apologize for his words later, saying,

A story by Capital News Service regarding my remarks at a recent press conference opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood conveyed the impression that I believe disabled children are a punishment for prior abortions.

No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion. I have devoted a generation of work to defending disabled and unwanted children, and have always maintained that they are special blessings to their parents.

Nevertheless, I regret any misimpression my poorly chosen words may have created as to my deep commitment to fighting for these vulnerable children and their families.

However, his apology directly contradicts his earlier words; it is very difficult to misinterpret was seemed to be a clear message. The Richmond Times-Dispatch had this to say:

Marshall said he has introduced a budget amendment to eliminate funding for what he called the “malevolent” organization, which he said receives about $500,000 a year.

The Virginia Department of Health says Planned Parenthood and affiliate organizations in Virginia receive$309,000 in funding and that most of it is in federal grants.

Arc’s Cullum, in a statement posted on, said families affiliated with Arc “are especially sensitive now because of proposed state budget cuts to critical services that support persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.” He added that Arc appreciates efforts now going on to restore some of the services.

The Arc statement adds, “Historically, Virginia’s track record for valuing the lives of people with disabilities has not been good.”

Marshall has served in the House since 1992. In 2008, former Gov. Jim Gilmore edged Marshall for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

Bob Marshall’s comments on abortion aren’t his only anti-human rights positions. Below is an excerpt from his official website regarding his stances on selected “human values:”

Respect for Life
I agree with Thomas Jefferson that “the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.” Therefore we have a duty to protect the sick, elderly, handicapped, pre-born children, and those truly unable to care for themselves.

I authored the “Marriage Amendment” (one man, one woman) which was approved by voters and became part of our Virginia Constitution in 2006.  A stable society depends in large part upon stable family units.  Therefore, we must protect the institution of marriage to keep the basic unit of society, the family, strong.

My Affirmation of Marriage statute, passed over Governor Mark Warner’s objections, prohibited out of state so-called civil unions, (or  “marriage lite,”) from being legally recognized in Virginia law.

I authored successful legislation to authorize counseling for parents to disclose the effect of divorce on children.

Partial Birth Abortion
My law to prohibit late term partial birth infanticide abortions also passed over Governor Mark Warner’s objections.

My law to ban the sending of sexually explicit emails to minors over the internet also passed over Governor Jim Gilmore’s objections.

Love of Country
The national motto, “In God We Trust” is to be posted in public schools because of my law.

He has revealed himself to be nothing but a typical right-wing intolerant bigot, with his latest comments being extremely offensive to say the least.

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