While at a religious right function last week Republican Virginia legislator Bob Marshall attacked pro-choice people by claiming that God punishes women who have abortions with disabled children later. Marshall said, “Because when you abort the first born of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.”
Here is the video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
Marshall said, “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. 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.”
Wow, what real Christian attitude. Both disabled and non-disabled individuals should be appalled at Marshall’s remarks, but as a person with a physical disability, whose mother did not and has never had an abortion, let me explain something to Mr. Marshall. A disability is not a gift or a punishment it is a fact. Marshall is expressing an antiquated attitude that not only is a disability a punishment, but that there is something “wrong” with disabled individuals.
One of the great mysteries of science is the random nature of children being born with disabilities. There is nothing moral about why a child is born with a disability. It is simply something that happens. There are been mothers who do everything right during their pregnancy, yet still give birth to a child with special needs.
Marshall’s remark is especially cruel to all parents who have raised or raising a disabled child. I have never met a single parent who did not feel at least to some minor degree some guilt due to their child’s disability. (This guilt is in almost every case an emotional reaction to the challenges their child faces, and not based in the facts of birth).
The Republican Party wants us to believe that they are a party of big tent compassion, but where has Sarah Palin been since Marshall made his remarks? She fancies herself to be the nation’s foremost advocate for the disabled community. Why is wrong of Rahm Emanuel to use the word retard, but it is fine for Bob Marshall to call all persons with disabilities punishments from God?
I guess I could get angry about Marshall’s comments, but that would not really solve anything. It would be like getting angry at a rock for being heavy. Instead, I feel bad for Bob Marshall and the people like him, who feel that the only way they can argue the superiority of their beliefs is by demeaning others. The real punishments for the world are people like Bob Marshall, not the millions of disabled people around the world who are trying to live independent, happy, productive lives.
H/T: Crooks and Liars