Bob Marshall says some more things *UPDATED*

Delegate Bob Marshall caused quite a stir with his statements late last week concerning abortion, specifically those quoted in an article released by the VCU-run Capital News Service. He then issued a statement apologizing for his “poorly chosen words.” Now he’s blaming CNS for the hooplah.

Delegate Bob Marshall caused quite a stir with his statements late last week concerning abortion, specifically those quoted in an article released by the VCU-run Capital News Service. He then issued a statement apologizing for his “poorly chosen words.”

Well, according to the TD, in a speech yesterday to the General Assembly, he blamed CNS for the hooplah, saying he never specifically made the comment they said he did. We can assume he’s referring to the first line of the article which stated, “State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.”

From the TD article:

In his speech, Marshall said, “I certainly could have used better words to explain the medical research findings which show a high incidence of complications following induced abortions.”

Marshall said people who know him know that he would never make a claim that handicapped children are a punishment.

“Children, whether wanted or unwanted, intended or unintended, ‘normal’ or disabled… are blessings from a loving God,” Marshall said.

Marshall said he forgives CNS “for making this slanderous claim about me and my life” but demands a correction.

So what do you think? Was the CNS’s choice of phrasing unfair? Is Marshall grasping at straws? Share your thoughts.


Kelsey Radcliffe, the CNS reporter who wrote the original story, has issued a follow-up:

RICHMOND – Delegate Bob Marshall has demanded an apology over a Capital News Service story that reported comments he made linking abortion and disabled children. But as Marshall’s quotes gained attention on Web sites, blogs and social networking outlets, public outrage grew over his words.

Marshall’s remarks, spoken at a Feb. 18 press conference, drew criticism from Gov. Bob McDonnell.

“I’ve known Delegate Marshall for nearly 20 years, and I’m sure he regrets saying that. I think those are wrong and offensive comments,” the governor said during an appearance Tuesday on radio station WTOP in Washington.

“We should do everything we can for young children that are developmentally disabled and provide the best safety net that we can through state government.”
In a statement posted Monday on his Web site, Marshall, a Republican who represents parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties, expressed regret at any misimpression his “poorly chosen words may have created.”

On Wednesday, Marshall delivered a seven-minute speech from the floor of the House of Delegates, calling the story “slanderous.” He said his comments had been taken out of context.

“The disabled and their families are reacting in part to words I never said, never meant and don’t believe,” Marshall said during the floor speech.

At issue are comments Marshall made at a Feb. 18 press conference to urge the state to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood because the group’s services include providing abortions.

“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the first-born of any, Nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. 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,” Marshall said at the news conference.

He then said a Virginia Commonwealth University study showed that first-pregnancy abortions “are much more damaging to the woman than latter abortions.”

The first paragraph of the CNS story paraphrased Marshall’s remarks as calling disabled children a punishment from God for women who have aborted their first pregnancy. The article then quoted his exact comments.

Marshall said the CNS story had twisted his words.

“If some want to make their own inferences, that is their prerogative. However, they should acknowledge that is what they are doing,” Marshall said. “It is no one’s prerogative to claim I spoke words which never came from my mouth, have never been in my heart and have never been in my public record.”

Marshall has posted on his Web site a video and transcript of the Feb. 18 news conference.

The video “speaks for itself,” said Josh Glasstetter of People For the American Way, a liberal advocacy group.

“Marshall explicitly stated that he believes God punishes women who have abortions by giving them disabled children. And then he backed up his claim with what he evidently considered to be evidence.”

A petition calling for Marshall’s resignation was created after his comments gained attention. In less than a week, more than 3,000 people signed the petition.

The Arc of Virginia, an advocacy group for disabled Virginians and their families, issued a statement Monday in response to Marshall’s words.

“The Arc of Virginia is surprised and disappointed by remarks attributed to Delegate Robert Marshall indicating he believes children with disabilities were ‘God’s punishment.’ Such unfortunate remarks continue to lend credence to the stigma people with disabilities and their families are fighting to overcome,” the statement said.

The Arc’s statement went on to quote Marshall’s apology and said the organization “takes him at his word.”

Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, also offered a statement in response to Marshall’s remarks.

“The Church teaches that all human life is sacred and all children are a precious gift from God,” Caruso said.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Guess this one will have to go to the tape. Video or audio…either will do.

  2. Yeah, not buying it, and either way the guy is twisting data around to his own anti-women’s rights ends, so he needs to go.

    Marshall, Cuccinelli, McDonnell – what is happening to this state! We’ve leaped backwards in our progress towards education, gay and lesbian rights, the environment, and reproductive rights in, like, a week.

  3. Carol on said:

    Huh? First he apologizes for “poorly chosen words” then says he didn’t say it?

  4. Marshall knows most people won’t listen to the tape, they won‘t bother to hear what he actually said. So, after regretting his apology, his strategy now is to throw some fresh red meat to his followers, those who are already predisposed toward distrusting the media … except, of course, for Limbaugh, Beck, et al.

    In this case, its a student-run operation at a big university. Again, many of the ultra conservative faithful, who like Marshall’s hardcore backwardness just fine, already distrust so-called “elites” at universities.

    So, in shouting matches, the most obstreperous right-wingers now have something consistent to shout in defense — Marshall was treated unfairly by his enemies!

  5. Zernk on said:

    Here’s the tape, in which he said was he says he didn’t say:

    “Video of Bob Marshall Proves He Said What He Meant, Meant What He Said”

  6. Zernk on said:

    was = what

  7. D Wash on said:

    What a liar. Tar and feather this turd.

  8. you get what you elect.

  9. justbob09 on said:

    He can demand a “correction” all he wants, but he won’t get it because there’s nothing to correct.

  10. Well, to be fair, he didn’t claim that all disabled children are punishments from God. Only some of them — the ones born to women who aborted their first child.

    This is why we need to go back to the good old days, and brand women who enjoy sex and have abortions with a big red X on their foreheads. That way we can know which disabled children are a “punishment” and which ones are a “blessing from God,” and can act accordingly.

  11. As a general rule, I tend to not believe anything I read or hear in the media, lest I specifically hear it in person. Also, though I do not kow any politicians on a person level, I generally assume that all political figures are generally lying when making any statement. Also, American media, and really people in general tend to be as inderect as possible, in order to persuade people into doing something or thinking in a certain way, which seems to be the case in this situation. That being said, the statements do seem to be in character with what we have all come to expect from Bob Marshall. This situation does however slightly detract from the funding problems, etc., at hand for orginizations like Planned Parenthood. In my own opinion, though I certainly don’t condone such statements in any way, it is important to remember that words from a politician are merely words, and should be taken as such, in order to effectively promote the livelihood of such orginizations. It seems more important to attack the legislation directly, rather than focusing too much attention on the legislators…if that makes sense. Of course, everything is easier said than done, but you’ll never get anything done if you don’t try.

  12. Carol on said:

    A lying turd who effectively has wrangled up an even bigger controversy to hide the real outrage of cutting PP funding.

  13. Carol A.O. Wolf on said:

    Name-calling does nothing to fix this situation. Surely, there is someone in his district who could be encouraged to run against him. I would be willing to help a viable candidate oppose him.

  14. gray on said:

    So is this Bob Marshall a member of the WBC or the GOP?

  15. Area Man on said:

    Gray, is there a difference?

  16. gray on said:

    I don’t think so.

  17. Liberty on said:

    at least hes not so depraved as to approve of abortion. I love the lefts feigned outrage political gimik, huff aND PUFF “I’m so OFFENDED AT my political opponents COMMENTS”, but then they give Obama a pass when he insults the athletes in the special olympics. Theres no consistency to their beliefs, they are phonies

  18. bopst on said:

    My question is this: Why are the people screaming the most about how awful abortion is poster children for it’s continued use?

  19. All poiticians are phonies. That is why they become politicians…except for Amitabh Bachchan…but he has the unfair advantage of being a badass.

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