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As of August 2017, this information has been reviewed and verified as current.
Although pro-lifers have been boycotting the March of Dimes since the 1970’s, the general public seems unaware of the boycott and continues to support MOD. To help educate more people on the facts, we have provided a list of seven good reasons for boycotting MOD:
1. Their emphasis on pre-natal diagnosis of birth defects, for which abortion is often the “treatment”
2. Their close ties to the eugenics movement
3. Their support of experimentation on live babies in the womb and on tissue from aborted babies
4. Their support of federally funded embryo-destructive stem cell research and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
5. Their dishonesty in ignoring the connection between prior abortions and premature birth
6. Their grants to Planned Parenthood
7. Their “neutral” stance on abortion, which accepts and encourages abortion by its silence
The March of Dimes is a well-known organization that arrays huge resources for the purpose of reducing the incidence of birth defects. MOD has improved the lives of many by striving to improve prenatal care and by providing treatment to children born with birth defects. This is what the public sees and supports, and it helps MOD to maintain a positive image as it organizes battalions of volunteers to raise money at the grass roots level. However, as our list indicates, there is a lot more going on behind this public face:
1. As part of their strategy, MOD strongly promotes pre-natal diagnosis and treatment. When birth defects are diagnosed prenatally and no medical cure is available, parents are forced to re-evaluate the pregnancy, often under the guidance of genetic counselors or doctors for whom “treatment” means abortion. In this way, MOD’s emphasis on pre-natal diagnosis purposefully guides people to consider aborting babies with birth defects.
How do we know this is purposeful? For one thing, MOD reveals their true intention in their Global Report on Birth Defects.1 In it they indicate a prevention strategy “to reduce the number of children born with birth defects.” They cite programs in various countries that use prenatal diagnosis in combination with “pregnancy termination.” These are noted as successes because they have reduced the incidence of children born with certain birth defects.2 Clearly, MOD considers the killing of afflicted pre-born children as a successful strategy in the battle against birth defects.
In this way, MOD allows and even encourages the systematic killing of an entire class of human beings that they claim to help: pre-born babies with birth defects or disabilities. This is eugenic abortion. The fundamental premise of eugenics, supported by people like Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, is that certain people should never be born, and any efforts to prevent these births are for the betterment of society and families. To Margaret Sanger, some classes of people were worthy of life and some were not.
2. In truth, MOD’s association and collaboration with nationally known eugenic abortionists began in the 1960’s, when these doctors were given positions on various Advisory Committees for Medical Services, Basic Research, Clinical Research and Basil O’Connor Starter Research Grants.3 Under such guidance, MOD established “genetic hygiene” or “genetic counseling” centers, later known by pro-lifers as “Screening to kill programs” or “Search and Destroy” operations.4 It was the birth of pre-natal diagnosis, and it meant death to many pre-born babies. “Defective” fetuses with Down syndrome or Tay Sachs, among others, were identified using amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), and as of 1973, liberal abortion laws allowed the second and third trimester abortions of these affected babies. But it didn’t stop there.
3. MOD supported and funded research that most people would find reprehensible. In order to develop the procedures for amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, doctors needed to practice their techniques. With MOD’s knowledge and financial support5, these doctors practiced their skills on live fetuses scheduled for abortion, so that any “mistakes” would not threaten a baby that was wanted by its mother. In essence, they used fetal experimentation on live babies in the womb in order to develop procedures that would then be used to justify the killing of other pre-born babies.
As if that were not enough, MOD has also funded research in which aborted baby parts were used for experimentation.6 Like abortion itself, the use of aborted baby parts for experimentation and the practicing of dangerous techniques on pre-born babies is a gross violations of the dignity of these tiny humans and has no place in a civilized society. And yet, these are the means that MOD is willing to employ in order to show progress in its fight against birth defects.
4. MOD’s support of federally-funded embryo-destructive stem cell research is a matter of public record.7 MOD also supports pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD),8 a technique that encourages eugenics by providing the means for rejecting embryos that have undesirable genetic traits. This technique is used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization, where several embryos are created in the laboratory and then genetically tested prior to implantation. Those with traits such as Down syndrome or Tay Sachs are killed. Not only that, but because of a lack of regulation in this process, embryos can be selected based on sex, hair color and other physical traits, portending a frightening eugenics future.9
5. MOD’s newest battle lines have been drawn against premature birth. However, despite strong evidence10 that prior abortions are the third highest risk factor associated with premature birth, MOD completely ignores this connection. Their website11 listing of risk factors for premature birth does not even mention abortion. MOD’s exclusion of this vital information shows their dishonesty, and it unmasks their pretense of impartiality toward abortion. They are deliberately withholding information about abortion risks that women have a right to know.
6. In fact, MOD’s endorsement and promotion of the abortion industryis revealed by their contributions to Planned Parenthood.12 MOD’s justification is that the money does not go toward abortions, but in reality, such contributions free up other funds which Planned Parenthood can use for more lethal purposes. Whether or not the money pays for abortions, it supports an organization that is the country’s largest abortion provider, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of pre-born babies every day. MOD’s financial sponsorship of Planned Parenthood gives explicit approval to what that organization does, including abortions.
7. The reality of MOD’s neutral stance on abortion is this: by not opposing abortion, MOD implicitly accepts it as a viable option and has the freedom to allow abortions without publicly condoning them. Clearly, their acceptance of the abortion option lays the groundwork for their strategy.
In summary, while there is certainly some good work done by MOD, it is not an organization that values each and every life. Its associations with abortionists and the abortion industry, its support of procedures that allow and encourage eugenics, its dishonesty concerning abortion risks, and its lack of respect for the dignity of the pre-born child all make support for this organization objectionable from a pro-life point of view. This is why pro-lifers boycott MOD. This is why pro-lifers support organizations like The Michael Fund , whose mission is to help children with birth defects while respecting the dignity of every human being from conception until natural death.13
1. March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects; March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, White Plains, New York, 2006; Executive Summary, Services For Care and Prevention of Birth Defects, p. 41. Accessed at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/871_18587.asp Download “Report”
2. Ibid., pp. 46-48.
3. Engel, Randy, March of Dimes: A Time For Reassessment; United States Coalition for Life, March 2002, p. 3. Accessed at: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4421&CFID=4546930&CFTOKEN=38860112
4. Ibid., p.2.
5. Engel, Randy, A March of Dimes Primer, the A-Z of Eugenic Killing; The Michael Fund, p. 4. Accessed at: http://www.michaelfund.org/index.php?pr=A_MOD_Primer
6. Engel, Randy, March of Dimes: A Time For Reassessment; United States Coalition for Life, March 2002, p. 3.
7. “Letter from the Research Community to Representative John Porter,” July 29, 1999, p. 3. Accessed at: http://www.lifeissues.org/research-community-letter-use-embryonic-stem-cells/
8. Engel, Randy, March of Dimes: A Time For Reassessment; United States Coalition for Life, March 2002, p. 6.
9. “Designer baby row over US clinic, BBC NEWS, March 2, 2009. Accessed at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7918296.stm
10. Ertelt, Steven, “National Academies of Science: Abortion Linked to Premature Birth Problems,”LifeNews.com, July 27, 2006. Accessed at: http://www.lifenews.com/nat2453.html
11. March of Dimes Website; Prematurity Campaign; Premature Birth. Accessed at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/printableArticles/21239_5810.asp
12. “Planned Parenthood – March of Dimes,” Letter from Todd Grantham, State Director of Communications, March of Dimes, April 4, 2002. Accessed at: http://www.lifeissues.org/march-dimes-planned-parenthood/
13. The Michael Fund Website; Accessed at: http://www.michaelfund.org/index.php?pr=Home_Page
Susan W. Enouen, P.E., has a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Ohio State University. Her professional experience includes work in data analysis and research for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dupont, and Battelle Memorial Institute. She and her husband, Robert, live in Cincinnati, OH. They have three children.