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Virginia Republican Puts Extreme Ideology Over Health Of State Residents, Blocks Medicaid Expansion Over Unrelated Abortion Politics


Virginians rally in support of the Medicaid expansion, which is currently being blocked by state Republicans.

Todd Akin has nothing on Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall. Abby Ohlheiser, a reporter for The Wire, has aptly named Marshall as the culture war’s “four-star general” for his inflammatory rhetoric, most of which is aimed at women — more specifically, at women’s reproductive systems.

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 he introduced during the 2012 General Assembly session would give full constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, which, besides being an absolutely absurd concept, could interfere with personal, private, medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion. His extreme ideology doesn’t end at abortion, either: in 2004, Marshall introduced a bill to ban the distribution of emergency contraceptive pills on college and university campuses, and his history of anti-gay legislation is too long to list here (but Think Progress has a pretty good summary of his most outrageous political maneuvers).

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 vehemently opposes the Medicaid expansion, calling on Virginians to “resist expansion.”

So what has Marshall said over the years? Well, just recently Marshall explained that exceptions in abortion bans are unwarranted because “sometimes incest is voluntary.”

That was the second time Marshall suggested that incest is a voluntary act.

Marshall also claims that some handicapped children are disabled “because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children.” He refers to his nemesis, “Planned Barrenhood,” as the culprit, and says that disabled children are a “special punishment” from God for women who’ve had an abortion. That’s right. Marshall said children being disabled is judgment from God.

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,” and said that the fight over health care reform is not a fight over health insurance, but a fight over your soul. Yes, according to Marshall, the Affordable Care Act is not only “criminal,” but actually an attempt to take “your soul”.


Here’s what he’s blocking to further his extreme agenda: Every day the state does not expand Medicaid, the state of Virginia 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, contraceptive services, pregnancy-related care, and lifesaving cancer screenings.

Public policy polling shows that Virginians are in favor of the Medicaid expansion. Even the state’s conservative business community supports expanding the program.

It’s unjust that Marshall is letting his unrelated, extreme views on abortion 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.


To show your support for Virginia’s Medicaid expansion, sign the petition to close the coverage gap at coverallva.com. 


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