Virginia Lawmaker Backtracks on Claim: Disabled Kids are ‘Vengeance’ for Abortions
February 22, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Anti-abortion Republican, Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall received condemnation for statements made last week at a press conference, in which he suggested that disabled children were born to women who had abortions, as punishment from the wrath of God. Marshall was attending a gathering of lawmakers whom opposed state funding for Planned Parenthood, when he made the remarks, saying that “nature takes its vengeance” on children born to women after receiving abortions. But in an email with Talking Points Memo and a subsequent press release, Marshall tried to walk back the suggestion that disabled children are God’s punishments, but he did not dispute his quoted remarks.
Marshall, who also opposes healthcare reform, because “Obamacare” is trying to take “your soul,” made his biblical-tinged comments while attacking Planned Parenthood for providing legal abortion services to women:
“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. 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.”
He has since issued a press release apologizing for a “misimpression” when making his offensive remarks suggesting women are to blame for their disabled children:
“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.”
And Marshall also told Talking Points Memo that he doesn’t believe that disabled children are a punishment, but in his convoluted explanation of his theory that abortion causes birth defects, he seemed to dig himself in deeper:
“This is nature. It’s the same thing if you’re talking about getting drunk. If God made nature, and made alcohol with certain characteristics, He’s not to blame for me getting drunk and getting in a car and killing someone,” said Marshall, also adding: “This is the order of nature. You do these things, you pay consequences. That’s not controversial.”
Marshall says that his dubious claims are backed up by “peer-reviewed medical journals,” but he declined to cite them. Most likely he is relying on pseudo-science medical journals backed by right-wing organizations, such as The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, which Quackwatch lists as an untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical. Anti-abortion activists have frequently cited the disputed claims made by the journal’s right-wing authors.
The quack journal published an article last year, entitled “Induced Abortion and Risk of Later Premature Births,” claiming that later children born to women who have had abortions suffer from birth defects, such as cerebral palsy. The anti-abortion authors also falsely claimed there was a link between abortion and the development of breast cancer.
“These are both peer-reviewed medical journals,” said Marshall. “This is not Pat Robertson, this is not the Pope, this is not some yahoo preachers in a right-wing fever swamp.”