Marshall Demands Apology, Posts Video of Press Conference

February 26th, 2010 by Kim Lenz

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqKeiAOA7Z8&feature=player_embedded

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.

14 Responses to Marshall Demands Apology, Posts Video of Press Conference

  1. Anonymous

    February 26, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Another George Allen moment.

  2. Anonymous

    February 26, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    The Capital News Service owes no apology to Bob Marshall. Rather, they should be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their attentive, right-on reporting. Their good work in keeping Virginians informed about the true nature of some of our elected officials is much appreciated. It appears Mr. Marshall has trouble taking genuine responsibility for his own actions, and is a bit of a blame-shifter. Prepare to be voted out of office, Mr. Marshall!

  3. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    He made the comment, not the CNS, and we instead demand his resignation. This is so typical of the Far Right. Try to place the blame elsewhere in order to remove the spotlight from the offensive offender (as Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld did again and again).

  4. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    as with a naughty child, let’s not give Marshall any more attention, let him just fade into oblivion

  5. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    And please note all the good Christians standing by, our delegate Brenda Pogge included, who said nothing to repudiate Marshall’s statement. Sins of omission vs. sins of commission, what is the difference?

  6. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Actually, Sue Ellen, Del. Pogge did disavow Del. Marshall’s comments. Please see the WYDaily story on that – here is the link: http://www.wydaily.com/local-news/3976-pogge-disavows-marshalls-remarks-about-disabled-children.html
    Although, as is clear from the video Del. Marshall posted and which we have included in this story, she was present at the press conference Del. Pogge says she did not hear her fellow delegate’s comments that drew a line between abortion and disabled children.

  7. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I’m stuck on his claim that Planned Parenthood caused the destruction of the “traditional family.” What exactly is that, in the US? Many couples don’t marry so the woman can collect financial aid, including payment of prenatal and post natal care. Government hand outs, plus birth control, has changed our social structure, not the people at PP.

  8. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Where is Del. Marshall’s apology.
    The paraphrase is pretty close to accurate.
    I am tired of the state trying to dictate which religion they like best. Abortion, incidentally is not illegal.
    As to his specific issue of funding Planned Parenthood, people should know that many women who cannot afford gynecological care, are able to get examined at little cost by doctors at Planned Parenthood clinics.

  9. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    This is another example of this person’s character!! How can he demand an apology from anyone? He said the words. Now he should and must accept the consequence. Let the voters beware.

  10. Anonymous

    February 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    The biblical quote below, said to be in the “Old” Testament doesn’t exist.

    It is extremely irresponsible to drop “facts” without citing what research delivered of those studied) such damning results; and what part of the bible contained such garbage! Did he respect those reading it, and know they wouldn’t check their bibles and biblical scholars? That’s disrespectful.

    This “candidate” hasn’t anything between his ears with which he can govern. I wonder which order of birth he has…..

    “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.

  11. Anonymous

    February 28, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Bob Marshall has proven, once again, that even a fool can win and retain a seat in the VA legislature.

  12. Anonymous

    February 28, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Bob Marshall represents everything that is wrong with the GOP. I also disagree with Brenda Pogge on many issues, but I emailed a rather scathing message to her and she actually called me back on the phone less than twenty minutes later!

    I am a Christian that vehemently disagrees with the religious right, but I did appreciate her prompt response, and was accepting of her explanation to me.

  13. Anonymous

    February 28, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    He should just resign. This is typical of Virginia politicians saying things that the “moral majority” want to hear then backing away when confronted about the statements saying that is not what the person wanted to say.

  14. Anonymous

    March 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    [quote name=”patricia”]…people should know that many women who cannot afford gynecological care, are able to get examined at little cost by doctors at Planned Parenthood clinics.[/quote]

    Planned Parenthood does even more than that (at least, out here in CA). Our local PP office/clinic also provides basic medical care (check-ups, etc) for very-low-income families. Their services are not limited to women, nor are they limited to reproductive health.

    Due to their long and continuing history of providing critically-needed services, even in the face of threats and attacks, Planned Parenthood has my proud support and deepest respect.

    Bob Marshall, on the other hand, is an instructive example of the corrosive effects upon the human psyche caused by the mixture of politics and religion. It’s not merely that I find his political views deeply offensive. It’s also that his lies and denials regarding his views/statements strike me as shameful and cowardly, leaving me with the sense that Bob Marshall is repugnant as an individual.

    It’s a shame that people such as this are ever elected to public office.

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