By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A pro-life lawmaker in Virginia is under fire for saying that medical research suggests abortions raise the risk of miscarriage and birth defects in subsequent pregnancies and that those findings echo the Bible’s teaching that abortion is wrong.
According to The Washington Post, Virginia Delegate Robert G. Marshall made the comments at a news conference last week where he called for an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood. He was speaking in conjunction with pro-life supporters such as the Virginia Christian Alliance and several African American ministers.
“The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children,” Marshall said.
“In the Old Testament, the firstborn of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord,” he added. “There’s a special punishment Christians would suggest — and with the knowledge that they have in faith, it’s been verified by a study from Virginia Commonwealth University — first abortions, of a first pregnancy, are much more damaging than later abortions.”
Marshall was referring to a report by the Virginia Commonwealth University published in the 2008 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health that found a higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight in children born to women who have had an abortion. This report is just one of a growing body of evidence linking abortion to birth defects and low birth rates in subsequent pregnancies.
The remarks sparked outrage on the internet and social networking sites where a petition calling of his resignation was circulated.
Marshall claims the comments were misconstrued in many news reports; however, he did issue a formal apology yesterday.
In response to accusations that he believes disabled children are a punishment from God, Marshall said:
“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.”
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