Catherine Marshall's Statement

The words attributed to my husband, Delegate Bob Marshall, almost 3 years ago, were taken out of context and the student reporter later admitted it was a paraphrase, not an exact quote. My husband strongly believes that every child is a gift from God regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth or stage of life. He also opposes abortion which is often used to end the lives of disabled preborn children. For many years I volunteered and worked with disabled children. One of our grandson’s died of Trisomy 13 at three months of age. One of our three adopted children had a 50-50 chance of inheriting a genetic condition which would have caused disability and death in early adulthood. (Years later we found out her birth mother did not carry this gene.) Our family gladly cared for in our home, my father who had dementia and could never be left alone. My husband incurred the wrath of his own Republican Party leaders because he refused to back down after meeting with hundreds of families who had children with autism, when Republicans refused to vote on providing insurance coverage for autism.

The autism community throughout Virginia expressed the extent of their gratitude to my husband for his tireless advocacy on their behalf. Here is the quote from the leader of the organization in Virginia: "In 2008, Delegate Marshall led the charge to reform autism services. He advised us to develop and expand our grassroots support from families, service providers, business leaders and friends throughout the Commonwealth. As a result of this tremendous team effort, we successfully passed legislation to mandate medically necessary treatments for children with autism in Virginia for the first time in 11 years. Thank you, Delegate Marshall, for your persistent leadership and advocacy making this day possible." (While some might argue that expanding insurance coverage is not a conservative position, without early intervention, many children with autism become wards of the state, and early intervention can actually benefit children with autism.)

The remarks my husband made at the press conference almost three years ago were meant to expose the actions of Planned Parenthood, an organization which receives around $350 million dollars of our tax money annually and performs one fourth of all the abortions in the United States. In fact, many of the abortions they perform are on children who Planned Parenthood and other like-minded organizations think should be denied their inalienable right to life because of what are deemed by some to be "imperfections" or conditions such as Down Syndrome. In Virginia, my husband disapproved a budget amendment because it allowed Medicaid abortions in cases of "fetal deformity." My husband continues to fight for the sanctity of every human life.

The sole source of the false position attributed to my husband was an undergraduate student journalist who should have been under closer supervision by the Virginia Commonwealth University. Her story broke THREE DAYS AFTER the press conference. This student reporter later admitted that the "quote" was in fact the student's own paraphrasing of my husband's words, not his actual statement. My husband never said that disabled children are a punishment from God for abortion! He does not believe that at all. He was simply reporting the results of medical studies finding that first pregnancy abortions can cause problems in later pregnancies, including low birth weight, which can cause medical problems for children. He used the words “nature’s vengeance” in the same sense that environmentalists use such terminology when nature is not respected, or when understanding the natural consequences smoking has on health. (In fact, environmentalists often use terminology such as “rape of the environment.”)

Not one reporter from the many reputable TV stations and every major newspaper in Virginia attending that very same press conference nearly three years ago reported what the inadequately supervised student had attributed to Bob. Several reporters later told my husband that what was done to him was simply wrong. Others told him that reputable reporters usually ask for clarification of remarks before going to press. No attempt was ever made to contact my husband before the story went out.

The simple truth is that my husband never said what the student reported, does not believe what the student falsely attributed to him, and does not have that in his heart. His entire life is a testimony to that fact. Pro-abortion forces and their sympathetic friends in the media did a good job of ensuring that the medical and scientific facts of the press conference were buried because it was so damaging to the pro-abortion movement. My husband believes that women have the right to know the truth!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. While it would have been better for my husband to use the words "nature's consequences" instead of "nature's vengeance" no one can accuse my husband of ever thinking that a disabled child is anything but a precious gift from God!


Catherine Marshall