Va. Lawmaker Apologizes for Remarks About Children With Disabilities

February 23, 2010 1 min read

A Virginia lawmaker has apologized and called his words poorly chosen for a comment he made that children with disabilities are a punishment for parents who have had previous abortions. The comment has popped up on blogs like this one and in a flurry of news stories.

News accounts say Bob Marshall, a Republican who represents part of western Prince William County, reportedly made the statement last 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, quoted in the Gainesville Times. “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.”

Here is his apology that appears on his Web site.

“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.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.