Mr. Speaker, on Thursday February 18th, a press conference was held in the General Assembly, the purpose of which was to demand Planned Parenthood not receive any funds out of the state budget. Media attending included ABC News, Channel 8, CBN, The Washington Post, Richmond Times, The Virginia Pilot, The Associated Press and other fine news sources.
Next day press reports noted comments made at the press conference. Conspicuously absent from all the reports was the claim that any speakers at this press conference made statements calling handicapped children punishment from God for abortion.
Three days later on February 21, Capital News Service claimed that I did in fact make such a statement, yet, no other news service picked up this "alleged statement."
Why? Because that statement was never said, period. All of Virginia’s professional journalists missed what a Capital News Service claims to have found? I encourage anyone to go to my web site, www.delegatebob.com to find the entire video of my comments and easily see for themselves, I never made such a comment. But it has been repeated endless times in print and electronic media without producing the smoking gun tape.
Of course, if some wish to make their own inferences, that is their prerogative. However, they should acknowledge that this is what they are doing. Furthermore, 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. I’ve served here nearly two decades. I believe most of you know me well enough to know I would never make such a statement.
I have championed the rights of children that groups like Planned Parenthood think have no business being born. Everyone deserves a lifetime!
I acknowledge that my extemporary remarks mentioned “Nature’s vengeance” or “punishment.” I could have certainly used better words to explain the medical research findings which show a high incidence of complications following induced abortions. Accordingly, I have posted on my web site direct excerpts from 258 peer review studies from the National Library of Medicine as well as the results of research contracts with the US Public Health Service.
[In my actual floor remarks I made reference to an October, 2007 study from the Journal of Reproductive Medicine which presented findings from 59 English Language studies that induced abortion in the US is a direct cause of 31.5% of all Cerebral Palsy cases in the US, an excess of 22,917 early pre term births which result in 1,096 excess cases of Cerebral Palsy and a cost of $1.2 billion.-RGM]
Actions within Nature are not direct actions of God. It would have been better had I used the words “natural consequences” to convey my meaning. But even so, not one professional news source attributed a sinister meaning to my words.
Furthermore, my personal and public life show a respect for unwanted or disabled children, including our adoption of three of our own children, one of whom we were told by the adoption agency had a 50-50 chance of carrying a gene that would cause her death as a young adult. We found out years later she did not have the gene. My oldest son, now deceased, took personal care of his quadriplegic friend, taking him to school and sports events.
And I am sure you cannot forget my bills to provide health insurance for autistic children which almost got me kicked out of the Republican Caucus for my hardball tactics, as well as my decades of pro-child, pro-women legislation. And this year I authored the cord blood bill to help disabled children and First Responders, which this House unanimously supported.
I also have proposed HB 334, which passed the House of Delegates 95-2, and which requires women undergoing abortion to be offered medical articles concerning possible complications in future pregnancies, a bill which Planned Parenthood opposes.
There are powerful interests which seek to prevent this information from reaching women. And, there is the tragedy of Planned Parenthood, which endorses pre-natal diagnosis to eliminate the live birth of persons with disabilities.
The disabled and their families are reacting in part to words I never said, never meant, and don’t believe. I served here almost two decades. You know these news accounts are not fair. But I continue to apologize to families for the fallout from all of this.
I take my oath of office seriously, and believe it is important to protect my constituents by ensuring full transparency about a procedure that may adversely impact their future reproductive health. That is why I strongly believe that Planned Parenthood, which performs roughly one-fourth of all abortions nationwide and opposes protecting women with this vital information, should not be funded by Virginia taxpayers.
Children, whether wanted or unwanted, intended or unintended, “normal” or disabled, of any background or are blessings from a loving God. I have held this view from the first day I came here and will hold it to the last day that I serve here. I will continue to fight on their behalf and on behalf of the courageous families who care for these wonderful children.
As to the VCU run Capital News Service, I forgive you for making this slanderous claim about me and my life.
Nevertheless, there remains the journalistic obligation for Capital News Service to correct the record and to publically acknowledge the following:
- You never gave me a chance to defend myself.
- You never checked with me to verify whether I believed your claims or that my meaning was as you suggested.
- You have made inferences about my words, but presented them to the public as if I actually said them.
- Your web site claims to present my full comments but a transcript of my actual comments made available by CBN and now on my website shows you ended my comment in mid sentence and omitted my reference to a VCU study of adverse complications from induced abortion relating to low birth weight and premature birth.
- Your report as to what was allegedly said was NOT verified by professional colleagues or a video of the original press conference.
- You are using equivocal meanings to the terms Nature and God to make a claim about children and the Creator that I never made and don’t believe.
Let the truth be known.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.