Todd Akin has nothing on Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall. A longtime member of the Virginia General Assembly, Marshall is known for introducing multiple anti-abortion bills in his time in office, including personhood bills that would grant legal rights to fetuses. (The measure would give full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, which could interfere with personal, private, medical decisions relating to decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion.)
Now, one of his dangerous proposals is holding up health care access for 400,000 Virginians. Marshall is keeping his state from embracing the Medicaid expansion (which he also opposes) for his own radical political agenda.
Governor Terry McAuliffe stands with the 400,000 uninsured Virginians who will get the security of quality health care coverage if Republicans and Democrats work together to expand Medicaid in Virginia. But Delegate Marshall would rather block expanded health care coverage than allow a woman to make her own decision about her pregnancy. He opposes Medicaid expansion, calling on Virginians “resist expansion.”
So what has Marshall said over the years? Marshall has explained that exceptions in abortion bans are unwarranted because “sometimes incest is voluntary.”
And disabled children who have handicaps? Marshall claims some of them are disabled because of abortion. He refers to his nemesis "Planned Barrenhood" as the culprit. It’s a “special punishment” from God from women who’ve had an abortion. That’s right. Marshall said children being disabled is judgment.
Not surprisingly, Marshall is against the entire Affordable Care Act. He feels so strongly about it, he compared one aspect of the law to “forcible economic rape.”
Here’s what he’s blocking to further his extreme agenda: Every day the state does not expand Medicaid, the state loses about $5 million in federal funds already set aside. Accepting these federal funds would provide health care coverage for families of 3 who earn about $27,000 or less per year. If politicians in Virginia continue to turn down the federal money, those with low incomes will not get any help for health insurance coverage, while many people with higher incomes do get access to coverage.
Medicaid improves the health of women and their children. Women who get health coverage through Medicaid have access to important health services, including family planning services, pregnancy-related care and lifesaving cancer screenings.
It’s sad that abortion politics would trump the ability of Virginians to get health care. Here’s to Governor McAuliffe standing strong for legislation that does not distract from the broader mission.