Legislator: Disabled kids are God’s punishment

State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy. He made that statement Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

Well this is sure to stir things up. From Capital News Service reporter Kelsey Radcliffe

RICHMOND – State Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas says disabled children are God’s punishment to women who have aborted their first pregnancy.

He made that statement Thursday at a press conference to oppose state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“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,” said Marshall, a Republican.

“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 was among more than 20 people, mostly Christian pastors and clergy, who gathered for the press conference in the General Assembly Building.

They called on Virginia officials to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions.

“We are gathered this afternoon to draw attention to the unethical, immoral and racist practices of the largest abortion provider in America,” said Dean Nelson, executive director of the Network of Politically Active Christians.

Delegate Brenda Pogge, R-Williamsburg, has joined Marshall in co-sponsoring a budget amendment to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood.

“I think that the reason it’s gone on so long is that most people don’t have a clue what’s being paid for by taxpayer dollars,” Pogge said.

The press conference was held by a group called Virginia Christian Action. Its members presented a petition calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to stop funding for Planned Parenthood. All three top officials are Republican.

The petition was signed by a number of prominent Christian leaders, including the Rev. Jonathan Falwell of Lynchburg and the Rev. Pat Robertson of Virginia Beach.

McDonnell has publicly supported calls to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. His predecessor, Democrat Tim Kaine, supported funding for Planned Parenthood.

“Looking at it from a cultural, historical perspective, this organization should be called ‘Planned Barrenhood’ because they have nothing to do with families, they have nothing to do with responsibility,” Marshall said.

Nelson suggested that the organization be called “Klan Parenthood,” saying that the group’s founder, Margaret Sanger, made racist comments in the 1930s and that the organization has shown a “willingness to take donations from people who are racist.”

According to Marshall, Planned Parenthood receives “about $500,000 a year” from the state.

But Jessica Honke, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, said the only state funding Planned Parenthood receives is from Medicaid reimbursements. That amount was about $35,000 in the 2009 fiscal year, according to the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

Planned Parenthood provides a wide range of gynecological and other health services, from cancer screening and HIV prevention to birth control for low-income women. Honke pointed out that abortions represent a minority of the group’s services.

At the press conference, the Rev. Joe Ellison, vice president of the Council on Biblical Principles, said that when he was in college, he paid for girlfriends to get abortions. He said he still feels guilty about that today.

Ellison said he was “declaring war against Planned Parenthood.”

“We’re asking pastors to shut them down in the community. We’re asking pastors to pray them out. And we’re asking Planned Parenthood to leave our children alone,” Ellison said.

In 2008, the Senate approved a budget amendment to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. However, that proposal was not included in the final state budget.


Obviously there’s a lot going on with this story, but Marshall’s statements are drawing the most attention. He had this response on his website…

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.

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  1. bopst on said:

    God? Save us from your followers…

  2. Helluva misstatement then, Bob.

  3. It’s really kind of amazing how many different groups of people he pissed off with that statement.

  4. Jennifer C. on said:

    I think that’s what they refer to as a “political misstep.”

  5. Poorly chosen words? Misinterpretation? Bob, please tell us how we should interpret what you meant to say when you (very clearly) stated, “Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children”

    Cause I can’t think of another way to interpret that or any other words that could have been better chosen to convey the underlying thought.

    @Valerie Catrow, It is amazing. What will be more amazing is watching who stands up to defend him.

  6. bopst on said:

    the usual suspects….

  7. Marshall has a long history of such foolishness. He’s from the crackpot feathers of the right wing.

  8. @der5er – No excuse for Marshall, but his side seems to be taking issue with the original article’s headline that said he stated disabled children were God’s revenge. He didn’t say ALL disabled children were, just SOME were. And so he’s defending himself. It’s still disgusting.

  9. I’m just going to ignore all the hurtful and crazy stuff Bob Marshall says about disabled children, because he’s been saying things like that for years and enough people will comment on it.

    What I will comment on is that it is UNACCEPTABLE for these unfounded, personal attacks against Planned Parenthood. The state funding is for Medicaid reimbursements, which does NOT COVER ELECTIVE ABORTION.

    These narrow-minded, harmful men (and a few women) have the potential to directly harm the reproductive health of women and people are letting them get away with it. Planned Parenthood serves women (and men), many of which are low-income, with annual exams, birth control, STD and pregnancy testing and treatment, and has a fantastic pre-natal program for low-income Latina women. This is being responsible–this is serving families, Bob Marshall.

    “And we’re asking Planned Parenthood to leave our children alone,” Ellison said. The teens and young women and men come to Planned Parenthood for responsible, medically accurate information, often because your religious institutions neglect to give them the complete truth about consequences and decisions about their own bodies.

    It is UNACCEPTABLE for these kinds of attacks any longer. You don’t agree with abortion-fine. But you can’t call a witch-hunt on the majority of the valuable services that Planned Parenthood provides.

  10. Wowzers! America is super weird.

  11. @H – An argument can be made that state funds do help fund abortions because they subsidize costs that free up funds that do then pay for elective abortions. Indirectly, the state is subsidizing elective abortions.

    As the state can’t say “hey, don’t use this money for abortions!” because it technically isn’t, yet it kinda sorta is helping pay for them, then the in order for the state to achieve the objective of this bill it has to broadly step out of funding Planned Parenthood.

  12. Melanie on said:

    I’ve heard a lot of horrible things come out of the mouths of politicians, and I expect that, but I’m really left speechless by this one.

  13. Melanie on said:

    I also don’t understand how someone like this can be elected over and over again? He needs to resign.

  14. That is one crazy god he’s got. Which religion is that? Do other imagery characters influence his decision-making process?

  15. Thanks so much for covering/responding to this.

  16. Carola Thompson on said:

    And God punishes society w/ppl who choose to become ignorant idiots like Bob Marshall!

  17. Guess what, abortion is a legal medical procedure. Legal. Remember? I love the turd-for-brains at the end of the article who gladly paid for his girlfriends to terminate their pregnancies in college who now wants to deprive other people of that choice. I bet an argument can be made that Planned Parenthood has PREVENTED more pregnancies (and abortions) than we can count through birth control programs. I had tons of friends in my 20s that had no medical insurance and relied on PP for birth control. Also get your stupid Bible out of my government!

  18. Helen on said:

    All women deserve the right to healthy, clean facilities and procedures, regardless of what the procedure is.
    Planned Parenthood provides this for all women. Bob Marshalls comments are unacceptable, but more importantly, what this group is trying to do is very wrong.

  19. Julie on said:

    I actually work right next door to a PP and have to deal with protesters outside nearly every day. I don’t mind them or their opinions, or their right to share them. But their signs are horrific and offensive (and I’m a GWAR fan LOL)…I wouldn’t walk my kids down this street. We refer to them as the “dead baby people.” Nothing like looking at dead babies and parts first thing in the morning on my way in to work. *sigh* How about this logic…just because it’s not illegal or impossible, doesn’t mean it’s OK or right? I think abortion is a rather evil thing in most cases, so I would not choose to have one. Guess what? The government didn’t need to tell me that, neither did the Bible. Having a brain that actually works, it’s quite the novelty I sometimes think. Women who do choose to, well it doesn’t effect me so I don’t really care. They have gotta live with their choices the same as I do. Shocking.

  20. bopst on said:

    To add insult to injury, McDonnell just made it legal to fire someone if they are gay in Virginia…

  21. If God punishes mothers for mistakes they made in the past, I wonder what the hell Marshall’s mother did to deserve him.

  22. @bopst. Please tell me this is hyperbole and not true.

  23. Yeah, McDonnell repealed the protections for LGBT state employees in VA.

    Essentially allowing discrimination based on gender or sexual identity.

  24. Carol,

    Governors for the last 30 years have instituted executive orders protecting many classes of citizens (including sexual orientation) from discrim in state employment. McDonnell removed that category from his executive order. Legislation is moving now to codify into law that protection, but is likely to die in the House. More info at my article here over at http://gayrva.com/2010/02/22/mcdonnell-on-non-discrimination/

  25. Ahh! I just googled a bunch of this and got the same info everyone is posting, just from different sources. Why am I not surprised that this has barely been a blip on most people’s radar (i.e. they don’t know about it)? Soooo illegal and unconstitutional to continually deny LGBT people basic rights and protections. This is rampant throughout current right-wing politics and to make it worse, the lefties aren’t stepping to the plate to stop it or call people out on it.


  26. Bashing gay people is always good for business…

  27. Especially if your business is selling snake oil to a bumper-sticker, sound bite-hungry crowd of angry racists.

  28. Cathy on said:

    *standing ovation* Yes, yes, yes. There’s never a bad time to sign up for Equality Virginia email alerts, friends.

  29. Liberty on said:

    i’m glad I wasnt an abortion, over 50 million abortions in America and counting…

  30. bopst on said:

    I wonder what Sarah Palin thinks about this. Is there an abortion she’s not telling us about?

  31. Liberty on said:

    Its all about “choice”, except the babys choice, or the danger of giving birth, all births are life threatening, libs… so smart

  32. Cathy on said:

    OIC, Liberty’s all about choice when it comes to smoking indoors, but not when it comes to the reproductive rights of women… :)

  33. Liberty on said:

    why dont they make bars build special rooms for smokers?

    Cathys all for womens reproductive rights, but not a babies choice not to be killed, how sweet..

  34. Liberty on said:

    I should have said a babies right not to be killed, aka right to Life

  35. your mind
    organized by nazis
    your heart and mind conspiring…

  36. Liberty on said:

    Nazis were socialist genius, daaaaaaa, do you even know what individual rights are? hint.. not group rights. racism is the most primitive form of socialism. your mind…weak

    smoke free restaurants should be forced by the govt. to build rooms for smokers, otherwise they are discriminating against smokers

  37. Cathy on said:

    And with the invocation of Godwin’s Law, this thread is officially dead.

  38. Liberty on said:

    dead as an aborted baby

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