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Republican Delegate: Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment for Abortions

Are you raising your eyebrows like I am? Republican Virginia State Delegate Bob Marshall – who previously opposed a gay judge nominee by stating “Sodomy is not a civil right” – said at a press conference in 2010 that god is taking “vengeance” on parents who have had abortions by making their other children disabled:

“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.”

UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 14th., 2012.

[Beginning of update]  It has come to my attention by a staff member of delegate Bob Marshall’s that this statement was made in 2010. And you know what? That’s true – but I didn’t realize it, so now I am correcting this error. You may read the staffers comment below in the comment section – and my very lengthy response if you like. Yeah, I rather carried on and on and on. However, other than the error in the timeline, I still firmly believe that Marshall feels that abortions eventually bring punishment. Just watch and listen carefully to the video here. Your interpretation may be different than mine, but I am hearing that there is some type of punishment by an omnipotent force to women who have had an abortion. Religion and religious beliefs must stay out of our government and our laws otherwise our country will destroy itself. Bills and laws should pass because they are the right thing to do and will, overall, benefit the majority of people in our country. A bill or law should never pass due to religious beliefs. That is completely violating our right to freedom of religion. My beliefs are definitely much different than Mr Marshall’s here. And, please, do not quote the bible when doing governmental business… especially something that will end up harming women rather than helping them – the de-funding of Planned Parenthood. That is true hypocrisy.  [End up update]

Bob Marshall: abortion causes future children to be handicapped

Sounds like Marshall should team up with Todd Akin (the fool that said women don’t get pregnant from rape because they body shuts down) and start up their own women’s clinic since they both know SO much about women’s reproductive systems.

In addition to the tasteless quote already listed, Marshall 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.”

Okay, these two, Marshall and Akin, have flown over the cuckoo’s nest now. When will this insanity and sheer lack of common sense come to an end? I may joke about Marshall and Akin pairing up, but in reality, neither of these two are even the slightest bit humorous. It is this type of thinking that will destroy our society and country.

Later, Marshall apologized saying:

“No one who knows me or my record would imagine that I believe or intended to communicate such an offensive notion,” he wrote. “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.”

This completely and entirely contradicts what he said at the press conference for the organization he calls “malevolent.” Let’s take a look at that again:

“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.”

Let’s dissect… “handicaps increasing dramatically” (that’s very straight forward) among the number of children born from a mother who aborted her first child. Must be the “subsequent” child, so that means the child following an aborted fetus from the same woman. Although Mr Marshall states “nature” takes vengeance, when he follows that statement by quoting the bible, I believe what he means by “nature” is god. Especially to radical right wing christians like Marshall, nature IS god. Everything is god.

Who votes these idiots in anyway? Sorry, Marshall, but you are one of the malevolent ones. Your ignorance, hatred and lies spread fast and deep through the weak-minded and will potentially bring about violence towards our fellow man.

References and related articles:

Addicting Info: Republican Delegate Says Children With Disabilities Are Punishment For Past Abortions
CBS News via KAJ18, Montana: Va. Lawmaker: Disabled kids are God’s punishment for abortion
Unicorn Booty (yeah, cute name): VA Republican Delegate: Aborting a Pregnancy Makes Future Children Handicapped
KultureKritic: GOP Delegate Says that Children with Disabilities are God’s Punishment for Past Abortions
Huffington Post: Bob Marshall, Virginia GOP Delegate Who Opposed Gay Judge Nominee: ‘Sodomy Is Not A Civil Right’
Politico: Robert Marshall: ‘Sodomy not a civil right’


  1. proof positive that the american system of education is a dismal failure. also proof positive that the mythologists (read fundie christians) are going to run the asylum if we’re not very careful and get out the vote for reason, intelligence and common sense. being a scientist, this is the nuttiest thing i’ve heard in years and believe me, there’ve been some doozies.

  2. They didnt come up with this dogma on their own.. It was their neolithic dipshits that put them into power. They are just the messengers.And that…. is what is scary.

  3. This doesn’t surprise me one bit, unfortunately. When I lived in Ireland I was friends with a woman who was a catholic but had married a protestant and changed religions ( one of the worse sins imaginable at the time and probably still now too) Their first child was born with learning difficulties and when the little girl was a couple of years old a nun told her that it was her punishment from God for giving up her Catholicism.. How cruel was that !!

  4. Parents and sibs of a special needs child go through a special hell, ranging from other kids making fun to struggling to get healthcare. I’ve never had an abortion, though I believe it’s a woman’s right to and I have a severely autistic son. So, I wonder what Marshall thought I did to have this happen to my family.

    • He is taking numbers and skewing them to serve his needs. The stats probably show that there is a rise in numbers of disabled children all across the board. I cannot imagine that a study has been done on births that follow a first abortion. Marshall just took the numbers and inserted the abortion part.

  5. like Carlin says..after they get free from the womb, handicapped or not, the evangelicals could not care less..There is one man to blame for most of this..Francis Schaffer. Falwell, Robertson, et. al were not even concerned with abortion and homosexuals (Hard to believe, aint it) until Frank Schaffer convinced them otherwise.

  6. Delegate Marshall never said, “Disabled children are a punishment from God for abortion.” This was a VCU student reporter’s opinion of what she thought Delegate Marshall meant in his statement with regard to defunding Planned Parenthood in a press conference almost THREE YEARS AGO! Think Progress then picked that up as fact at the time without verification and have refused to alter the title. The original article “broke” the story a week after the press conference when no other recognized paper did so. Her statement was based on comments he made which were taken out of context at the time and continue to be misconstrued.

    You can read Delegate Marshall’s statement from February of 2010 and apology for hurt his actual words may have caused at

    At the press conference Delegate Marshall was discussing studies showing that women who abort their first child are at higher risk for complications in subsequent pregnancies resulting in a higher rate of children born with disabilities in those pregnancies. (see the citations for the studies at by scrolling down.) He was not saying or implying that all disabled children are the result of previous abortion or that ANY child is punishment from God. Quite the contrary, Delegate Marshall is in part pro-life because he believes ALL children are a gift from God and deserve to be protected from conception to natural death.

    Delegate Marshall was the first person to introduce legislation to require insurance coverage ABA treatment for children with Autism and though it was not his legislation that finally passed in Virginia guaranteeing that coverage he was thrilled that it finally passed. Even after the conference he was still supported by Autism groups and continues to work with them to raise awareness about Autism.

    In addition over 20 years ago he and his wife adopted their third child who they were told would be likely to have Huntington’s disease. They were happy to adopt her and love her for as long as they could have her. As it turned out she did not have the disease. -Posted by staff

    • I do thank you for the timeline correction as I was under the impression that this was fairly recently – so I will be sure to correct that error in my post. I actually feel a bit embarrassed as I typically research my posts before I publish them – and having the timeline straight is important. Although I do like Think Progress for their liberal views, they are like any other publication out there, and many writers cannot separate their emotions and personal beliefs from the facts.

      And many politicians are guilty of this, too, including Delegate Bob Marshall.

      Anytime someone speaks publicly, there are many risks they take. There is a very dangerous line one may accidentally cross and that is difference between “exact words” and “implied meaning.” No, his exact words were not “a punishment from god” – however, the implied meaning is. After I read your comment (very well written and maturely stated – thank you for that) I listened to what Mr Marshall said over and over again in the video of that portion of his statement, and I am even more convinced that is exactly what Marshall means.

      The one thing I absolutely cannot understand is why so many politicians want to pull funding from Planned Parenthood. A very small percentage of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions – very small. And even then, none of the gov’t funding is used for abortions. Millions of women rely on Planned Parenthood anywhere from cancer screening, to STD treatment, to birth control. Millions of women! They use PP because they are unable to afford women’s health care outside of PP. Planned Parenthood will never go away – there are far too many supporters and advocates. But if they lose their gov’t funding, then they’ll have no choice but to pass this burden (which was derived from personal beliefs) to the women, and men, who walk through their doors. I, myself, was very thankful that there was a PP clinic in my hometown when I went for the first time just over 30 years ago. You see, I was sixteen and having sex, like most kids in my day, in the days before me, and will continue in all the days to come. However, I did not want to risk becoming pregnant. Promoting abstinence really is a joke. For one thing, there is nothing vile nor wrong with having sex. I wanted to have sex, I chose to have sex, and I did have sex. But after a broken condom, I realized we (my boyfriend and I) were playing Russian Roulette. Sadly, my mother was “old school.” A wonderful, incredible woman who I am so thankful I had in my life – but not the kind of mother I could go to and ask to get on birth control. She couldn’t even tell me about menstruation. I had to learn in school (thank goodness we had those classes then – I believe that’s changed, or changing, too). But since there was a local PP clinic, I called, explained my situation, and no problem… scheduled an appointment and went on in.

      Yes, I received my birth control and never got pregnant – all because of Planned Parenthood. There was also something else that happened when I went into their clinic for the first time, and that was a pap smear. I knew nothing about them and did not even know that women had such exams. My mother never talked to me about that. And the “birds and the bees” education in school didn’t go into this part of women’s healthcare. So, because of PP, I learned all about the deeper details of women’s health. Even after I started college and had student insurance, I still chose to go to PP even though I could have gone to the women’s health care doctor on campus. I trusted Planned Parenthood, I liked Planned Parenthood, and I believed (and still believe) in Planned Parenthood.

      I understand that Mr Marshall is pro-life. That’s perfectly fine. And his belief that all children are a gift from god is fine with me, too…. so long as his belief stays within his own home and family and out of mine. I do NOT share the same beliefs as Mr Marshall. First of all, I am an atheist. I do not need a bible nor a man behind a pulpit to tell me right from wrong. But in being an atheist, every single one of these bills that are created in attempting to control women’s reproductive system is a direct violation of my rights of freedom from religion. And then to watch this video and listen to Marshall sound more like a preacher than a politician! How dare HE or any other political figure quote the bible to me, then attempt to pull funding from a long-standing organization that actually cares about women. Hypocrisy. Horrible! And this picking and choosing from the bible only what suffices one’s purposes is the ultimate in hypocrisy. The bible supports slavery, so where is my slave then? Now, I imagine you are thinking I’ve turned into a real smart-ass, but I haven’t. If someone is going to pull their religious beliefs into politics in order to pass laws that they want passed, then they better pull the whole damn bible into politics and the law – and we both know that would be utterly insane and lack any semblance of common sense. So what is the answer then? Leave religion out of politics. Create bills/laws because it is the right thing to do; because it is for the betterment of our people and country. Not because the “bible tells me so.”

      I know very little about Mr Marshall, but just that 34 seconds I watched of him in this video here was enough. He is one of the most dangerous type of public figures – rather than placing his hand on the bible and swearing to uphold the constitution, Mr Marshall placed his hand on the constitution and swore to uphold the bible.

      Wow… I’m becoming long-winding. I hope you are still handing in here as I do have a few more very important items I would like to mention – but I’ll try to keep them as brief as possible.

      Doctors and scientists cannot nor have not given a medical definition of when life begins. This is due to the many interpretations based upon one’s religious and spiritual background. Is it when conception occurs? Is it when a fetus can live outside the womb on their own? Or when a child is born from full-term pregnancy? In all reality, though… of the AMA cannot provide a medical definition at what point in time life begins, then how is any politician able to do so? What qualifies them to do what a medical doctor cannot do?

      Look, I don’t like abortion any more than the next person. No one likes abortion, and no little girl ever dreams of growing up and having an abortion. But they are a fact of life and these horrible laws are only putting more and more women at risk than they are helping. Oh, sure, save the fetus right? I hope soon some woman who wanted to get an abortion, but could not because of the state she lives in, sues for child support from the politician that passed the law which prevented her from having an abortion.

      And these trans-vaginal wands? And allowing an employer to deny covering birth control because of their religious beliefs? For one, that, again, is infringing upon MY beliefs. Secondly, if an employer doesn’t believe in birth control, then don’t use it. But do not force beliefs upon others. Seriously, if you are a business owner and do not believe in contraception, but you know that your administrative assistance used “the pill,” how is that going to affect your spiritual life? Is her birth control going to damn you for all eternity? Come on…. have some common sense here. And some honesty… this law was passed in several states out of spite and nothing more. And who is the true victim?

      Our country is literally going insane and down the drain very quickly. No longer am I proud of our country but horribly ashamed. Ashamed of this war on women – and yes, it is a war on women; ashamed that many politicians are attempting to bring religion into our government when our founding fathers clearly wanted religion to stay out of government; ashamed that our health care has been one of the worst as far as overall coverage in western countries – that is, until Obama passed the Affordable Health Care Act; ashamed that so many men are clearly deciding what a woman can and cannot do with an unwanted pregnancy when it is a medical decision to be made between the woman and her doctor.

      And ashamed that the Republican Party has decided to play games with our Congress. And in doing so, they have made martyrs out of most of the citizens of our country. Obama’s Jobs Act was purposely set forth with items previously supported by Republicans in hopes that Congress would be more timely in passing it. Oh, but no. Boehner and his ilk turned it down in purely with the sole purpose in mind of making Obama look bad. “Our President hasn’t done anything!” Oh, I’m so tired of hearing that – and so are the majority of the people. You see, what Boeher, McConnell and the rest didn’t foresee was that citizens like me are smart. Probably smarter than they are. I’m purposely going through the voting history of several politicians to determine how many “yea” and “nays” voted on and what the sponsorship was of that bill, either Democrat or Republican sponsored. I’m in the middle of researching McConnell now, and so far for two years nearly every bill that was Democrat sponsored he voted “nay”. I have only counted two “yay”s. And the complete reverse is true for Republican-sponsored bills.

      Why am I doing this? Because unlike so many people in our country, I base my decisions on what I find are the facts. I just don’t believe everything I hear. And I am also doing this because I firmly believe that Mitch McConnell should be tried for treason. When he said that the primary purpose was to make sure Obama was a one-term president, that was treason. No, everyone should NOT agree with everything he does, or any Congressman for that matter. But to predetermine how one is going to vote even before a bill is written due to the pact of voting no for anything Democrat and Obama-related, and yay for anything Republican-related. It could be the best bill in the world, but if it came from Obama’s desk, then there would be no discussion, they’ll lie that it would cost too much in taxes in order to justify their down vote. But when I’m looking at statistics that clearly show preferential voting as opposed to content voting, that is an act of hostility to the people of this country. The definition of treason is “The action of betraying someone or something” and “The crime of betraying one’s country.”

      The citizens of this country have been betrayed.

      Wow, I have really gone off on a tangent. To back up and summarize, Marshall’s statement does sound as though there is a punishment from god at hand. And for the study you provided the link for – that was compiled by Mr. Marshall. Of course he is going to only include facts and statistics to support his archaic beliefs. He isn’t going to put together a study that is against what he is promoting. If anything, he just wouldn’t publish it. Also, statistics are a very very dangerous thing to use. Interpretation of numbers varies depending upon what the desired outcome is. I have a Masters in Earth Sciences and one of my professors lectured about the false nature of statistics. I wish I could remember more details, but this was 25 years ago. My professor told of a study where there were several groups of researcher put together for this study. Each group was given the same set of statistics, and each group was also provided with a desired outcome which was different from the other groups. They all had the same statistics, exactly the same. Yet each group derived different results which, conveniently, happened to support what they were told the desired outcome was.

      I strongly encourage all politicians from both sides of the ticket start working together for a more desirable positive outcome for this nation. We can see through the lies, and we’re tired of this bullshit. It’s like watching a bunch of schoolyard children fighting on the playground “he said this. she said that. he did this. she did that.” You know what, agree that you disagree – THEN START WORKING ON A COMPROMISE! And I don’t mean a compromise that is one-sided, like Boehner has a knack of doing, but a true compromise where they are thinking of me, of my neighbor, and the millions like us. Make a decision based upon what is best for this country before you make a decision which you think will help you get Obama out of office.

      Religion MUST remain separate and in one’s home. Never brought into the government. If Marshall doesn’t like abortion, then don’t have one. Simple. Did our country not learn a lesson from the Prohibition? Making something illegal doesn’t make it go away. Abortions will go into the back room, just like they were before Roe v Wade. And thousands of women a year will either become sterile or die. Just like my decision to go on birth control – I was going to have sex. Well, women will still get abortions. So let’s keep it legal and safe because they will continue to happen.

      You closed your comment with the autism and adopted child information. Each of these items are very honorable and very noble. But I do not appreciate when this information was used in the manner it was – to give Mr Marshall kudos in hopes that the good he’s done will outweigh his “punishment” statement. There was no other reason to mention these two things as neither pertain directly to the debate at hand. In fact, I’m actually rather disgusted with Marshall… he obviously is very aware of autism – and I wish more people in office were – but to me, it appears he is using his support of autism in a personal way in order to justify his desire to do away with abortion.

      I am glad his adopted child did not have Huntington’s.

    • Marshall Staff… did you watch that video? Did you, really? I did, and I don’t care WHEN it was said. I only care that Marshall said it. I heard him say it… over, and over, and over, and over again… with my own ears… it came out of his own mouth. Not out of anyone else’s mouth… his own. Please try again. Thanks.

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