Marshall has denied ever using those words, and, indeed, there is no evidence that he used those particular words.
But he admits that he called children with disabilities “nature’s vengeance” and “punishment.” So, the fact that he didn’t put it together and call it “God’s punishment” is mere semantics. If the purported “punishment” didn’t come from God, then who did render the “punishment”? And given that “nature” is not a cognitive being that can make decisions on how to act, just whose “vengeance” are these disabled children?
Marshall shrugs off his statements by saying that he “could have certainly used better words.” And he points to his legislative record of supporting children with disabilities as if that gives him license to make these kinds of statements about those children.
What matters is that Bob Marshall stands behind the sentiment that if a woman has an abortion and subsequently has a child with a disability, that child is her “punishment.” His only regret is that he used that particular word.
Marshall is a hero in the pro-life movement, but he doesn’t seem to understand that movement’s most important value: Every human being has inherent value – including those with disabilities. No human being is born as his parents’ “punishment.”
As I’ve previously written, 92% of babies with Down Syndrome whose parents learn of the condition during pregnancy are aborted. More specifically, 6,000 babies with Down Syndrome are born each year, while 69,000 are aborted simply because they’re not “normal.”
So, it wasn’t Bob Marshall’s choice of words that was so offensive. It was the meaning behind those words and the fact that they perpetuate a myth that is costing the lives of tens of thousands of innocent children.
If Bob Marshall wants to represent all Virginians and wants to promote a culture of life, he should start by recognizing the harm his words did and by offering a sincere and unqualified apology.
UPDATE: Let’s go to the tape: