RICHMOND – Delegate Brenda Pogge of Yorktown has stepped forward to “disavow” controversial remarks made by Delegate Bob Marshall of Manassas suggesting that disabled children are a punishment for having an abortion.
“In no way do I agree with the Delegate’s remarks and they are contrary to my personal understanding of God,” Pogge said in a written response to Capital News Service at Virginia Commonwealth University, which broke the story. Pogge had also posted the statement in comments on stories published earlier this week on WYDaily.
Pogge and Marshall, along with several Christian ministers, attended a press conference Feb. 18 to call for the elimination of state funding for Planned Parenthood because that group provides abortions.
At the news conference, Marshall said: “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 went on to cite a Virginia Commonwealth University study, saying it showed that first-pregnancy abortions “are much more damaging to the woman than latter abortions.”
In a statement distributed by e-mail this week, Pogge said she had been invited to attend the press conference, which was organized by Virginia Christian Action. Pogge said she shares the group’s opposition to funding for Planned Parenthood.
“Admittedly, I am a social and fiscal conservative. It is no surprise to my district that I am pro-life and I am opposed to taxpayer dollars going to support the operations of such a controversial organization, no matter the state of the economy. I do not disavow that sentiment. That is why I was there,” Pogge wrote.
“However, during the press conference some comments were made by another Delegate that I do disavow, concerning God and children born with disabilities.”
A previous Capital News Service story about the Feb. 18 press conference said Pogge and Marshall were co-sponsoring a budget amendment to eliminate state funding for Planned Parenthood.
Pogge’s statement disputed that. It said the story “erroneously reported that I co-sponsored his [Marshall’s] amendment.”
CNS had based its report on a Virginia Christian Alliance press release distributed at the Feb. 18 news conference. It said, “Delegates Bob Marshall (R-13) and Co-Patron Brenda Pogge (R-96) have put in a budget amendment, Item 4-5.04#2h, for the 2010 General Assembly session” to defund Planned Parenthood.
CNS provided Pogge with a copy of the Virginia Christian Alliance press release.
In an e-mail to CNS, Pogge said the press release was “in error” and that she was not the author or co-patron of any amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.