Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment for Abortion, Says Republican February 23, 2010

Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment for Abortion, Says Republican

Since we’ve been talking about abortion on this site pretty heavily, this story seemed appropriate and highly disturbing.

Partly because it means some people actually elected this nutjob.

[Virginia] 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.”

That’s a quotation, right? Right.

So someone please explain Marshall’s subsequent apology:

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.

They didn’t “convey” anything. They quoted Marshall directly and it’s pretty clear his words are not out of context.

Here’s what has to happen (though I’m not about to hold my breath):

1) Republicans in Virginia (and beyond) must denounce Marshall and his unscientific, untrue comments.

2) Voters in his district must voice their complaints by flooding his office with phone calls and eventually voting against him.

3) Marshall needs to explain what he “really” meant by those words.

Also, do these Republicans denouncing federal money being given to Planned Parenthood realize that abortions make up under 10% of their services?

Of course not.

That would require acknowledging facts which go against their agenda.

These people are seriously despicable.

(Thanks to Donna for the link)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • littlejohn

    Marshall has a website where you can leave a message for him. I’ve already done so. Let’s hope he’s committed political suicide with this idiotic remark. There was no misunderstanding. He clearly meant what he said. I hate to use technical jargon, but Marshall is what we professionals refer to as a “dick.”

  • “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.”

    Perhaps Republicans Christians like him would be more comfortable with abortion if it was characterized as an offering to the Lord. Or does the Lord only accept burnt offerings?

    P.S. You won’t see Palin denounce him because she only denounces liberals.

  • TPO

    Despicable indeed…you’re too kind Hermant. I share your desire for this individual’s career to suffer dearly for making such comments but like you, I highly doubt he will be punished by his constituents.

  • Purbrookian

    How do mammals like Marshall and Inhofe and the rest of them ever get elected?

  • Ron in Houston

    You’d think politicians would wise up.

    I guess they got away with this for too long since in the “old days” it was too hard to dig and find the quote where they actually said what they deny saying.

    I love it when shows like the Daily Show bust folks doing stuff like this.

    I guess hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Unfortunately, in the part of Virginia that votes for this guy, he will probably be re-elected anyway.

  • Raoul Morris

    Given Sarah Palin’s children, what does the Republican party have to say about her?

  • Disabled children are a punishment?! I’m sure disabled people everywhere are thrilled they can serve “God” in that capacity…

    Stay classy, Bob.

  • beckster

    On Rachel Maddow last night, he actually said he wasn’t sorry for saying it and then gave her interviewer the bible verse that he claims backs up what he was saying.

  • Where’s Sarah Palin’s outrage?

  • Compsci

    Ahh, yes, those evil Republicans are at it again. They’re all radical Christians, or so you might think by reading posts like these and the subsequent comments. This guy’s on the fringe, obviously, and doesn’t speak for the party any more than Sarah Palin does.

  • plutosdad

    Once you decide to not use science and reason to acquire knowledge, it is no surprise you end up believing all sorts of silly things.

    I don’t think he’s really saying “disabled people are punishment”, he’s saying “disabilities are punishment”, which I think is what he is clarifying with his apology. I mean, I can imagine a disabled people being resentful of their disability. When you conflate their disabilty with the person, that’s when you are treating them like less than a person, instead of just like you.

    Of course that idea that disabilties and congenital defects are punishments is ridiculous, but I don’t think it is offensive, except in how stupid it is that any adult with an education would believe it. It is a shocker, but I think really most theists believe similar things if they stop and really think about it. Everything is a sign from God, influenced by God, and when you believe that, you have to eventually believe God meant such and such to happen, especially things like this that have nothing to do with “respecting free will” and other excuses.

  • plutosdad

    Sorry for double post: just to clarify: he is quite clear in the first quote that he is saying the children are being punished, not the parents who are being punished.

    I’m just saying let’s criticize him for what he actually said. He is an idiot. But let’s not overreact to something not there, then we’d be like Palin.

  • Khaliah Ingram

    You know, there is some biblical background to assuming that disability was a punishment for sin. There is also a term for people who feel it is there place to assume sin in other people’s lives based on their own opinions. That term is “Pharisee.”

    That is the vibe I’m getting from reading this article. Spewing this vitrol and acting self-righteous about it is one thing, but assuming that you KNOW EXACTLY how God works is ludicrous.

    There is a situation similar to this in the New Testament. Jesus and the Pharisees are with a man who has been blind since birth. The first comment the Pharisees have is “Who sinned, that this man has been blind? Him or his parents?”

    Jesus tells them, flat out, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned.” In other words, JESUS SAID IT HAPPENED BECAUSE IT HAPPENED. And guess what? No questions asked, no condemning comments from Big J. Jesus healed the dude right then and there. You know, he showcased that “compassion” thing that seems to be so foreign to Christians now.

  • How then, does he explain children with disabilities born to people who never had, and never would have, an abortion?

  • If anything, idiotic comments such as Mr. Marshall’s only serve to bolster his image in the ranks of the uneducated and gullible. He’s not going anywhere, he just earned himself some more Christian street cred.

  • WishinItWas

    @ Judith Bandsma

    They were clearly not TRUE Christians now were they ?

  • Claudia

    Well countdown to Sarah Palin going on all the news networks and saying that this is a despicable thing to say about disabled children and their mothers. This time I agree with her.

    Oh wait, you said he was a Republican?


  • Miko

    Not that I want to defend him in the slightest, but technically he said that “nature gets revenge,” not “god punishes.” He’s an idiot either way, but these aren’t the same thing.

    How do mammals like Marshall and Inhofe and the rest of them ever get elected?

    I think the thing worth remembering is that our system is set up in such a way that someone has to win. If Marshall’s opponent had won, you’d be asking “How to people like [Marshall’s opponent] ever get elected?” So, to answer your question, it’s the anthropic principle: no one is qualified to serve in public office (and especially not anyone who’d actually run for the office), so we just end up complaining about whoever ends up in the office, while mistakenly assuming that things would be better if someone else was in the office.

  • This reminds me of a person that I went to high school with. His family was super religious and, as a result, so was he. He was born blind, in a bath tub, and without medical attention that is generally considered normal in this country.

    He was told by his family that the reason that he was blind is because his mother had pre-marital sex. He believed whole heartedly that it was his mother’s past transgressions that made him be born blind. We asked who told him this and he said that everyone in his church shared this view. Everyone in the congregation believed that it was his mother’s fault.

  • JB Tait

    Maybe we missed something. Maybe he means that every time a woman gets an abortion, someone else gets a child with a disability. So if we stop abortions (except for a severely disabled fetus, I suppose), then there won’t be any kids born who are not perfect (by his definition) and then evolution will stop.
    This isn’t anti-abortion or anti-disability, but anti-evolution he proposes.

  • @ WishinItWas

    Christians are not the only ones who ‘never’ have nor ‘ever would have’ an abortion. I know several women atheists who, while not opposing abortion in general, would never opt for that choice for themselves.

  • Angie

    Insensitive and tasteless. How could he say such a thing?

  • mike

    well if they just aborted those children too they’d go unpunished

  • Michael

    Doesn’t god routinely kill the first born of his enemies in the Bible? It makes no logical sense that he could punish us for something he does himself. And if he did he is an asshole.

    An imaginary asshole but an asshole nonetheless.

  • muggle

    I knew an Atheist couple with a disabled daughter. Their religious family claimed it was because they turned their back on God.

    People can be some sick puppies.

  • cathy

    Also, sixty percent of women who have an abortion already have one or more children (according to the CDC). Why assume that women who abort are childless?

  • Twin-Skies

    Jesus. First-born. Nailed to a cross and left to die of exposure.

    Isaac. First-born. Offered as sacrifice by his father Abraham.

    Egypt. All first-born. All killed in one fell swoop by the Angel of Death.

    Seems to me that the only reason God doesn’t like first-borns being aborted is because he wants first dibs on the slaughter.

  • geru

    I just love these classic “Republican apologies”, which in essence say:

    “I’m sorry you’re such an idiot that you’ve completely misunderstood what I said.”

    ..which is usually followed by some even more horrible stupidity that underlines the insensitivity and ignorance of the original statement, and then a rant about how stupid all the complainers are that they don’t understand why everything he just said is perfectly reasonable. 😀

    Again this is horrifying proof of how far one can get by ignorance, fear and hate alone, they’re such perfect tools for controlling large crowds of people who don’t dedicate enough time for thinking these things through themselves. Sound bytes of hate for the masses, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • JJR

    Compsci sez:

    “Ahh, yes, those evil Republicans are at it again. They’re all radical Christians, or so you might think by reading posts like these and the subsequent comments. This guy’s on the fringe, obviously, and doesn’t speak for the party any more than Sarah Palin does.”

    And I am waiting with bated breath for the Chorus of Denunciation by sensible, mainstream Republicans distancing themselves from this loon…someone call 911 if I go blue in the face in the meantime…

  • “And I am waiting with bated breath for the Chorus of Denunciation by sensible, mainstream Republicans distancing themselves from this loon”

    Well to be fair, the newly elected Republican governor of Virginia did come out in opposition to the statement made by Marshall so that is one. It remains to be seen whether the governor will actually govern as a sensible, mainstream Republican or not… Its too early to tell. He does have some evangelical baggage from his past.

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