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Life Issues: March of Dimes Part 1

ve8QAd   |   September 16, 1993

March of Dimes. For the veterans of the pro-life movement this rings a bell. For many of you it may not. Let me explain.

For 20 years National Right to Life, its 50 state affiliates and its almost 3,000 chapters have maintained a boycott against giving any contributions to the March of Dimes. The reason for this started back in 1972.

At that time, the March of Dimes sponsored a major seminar on genetically handicapped unborn babies. It pioneered the technic of diagnostic, mid-trimester amniocentesis. It began to teach a nation you could take some of the fluid from the sac around the baby in the middle of the pregnancy, and find out if the child had a genetic problem such as Downs Syndrome or spina bifida. Once this was determined, about 95% of these babies would be killed by abortion.

This testing was originally sponsored by the March of Dimes. Cincinnati Right to Life, at that point already had a nationally distributed newsletter. We protested in it and called it a search and destroy mission. The Cincinnati Newsletter recommended that people stop giving contributions to this organization until they stopped this practice.

The boycott spread and was later adopted by the National Right to Life not too long after it was organized in mid-1973. Our request was for the March of Dimes to stop funding the creation and maintenance of genetic testing centers. They refused to do this. They did however, pull back on one thing. In some of the centers they were funding the pregnant woman had to sign a statement. It said they would do the testing free, but she must agree, if the baby were handicapped, that she would go on to get the abortion. The March of Dimes pulled back on this, changed its policy, and told its grantees they could no longer require that an abortion be done.

I was point man on this during the ’70’s and, of course, during the ’80’s I was President of the National Right to Life Committee. Since I stepped down from that position two years ago I have had less contact with the March of Dimes except to be quite aware of the fact that the boycott continues.

Before I left office I had several meetings with their officials who claimed they were no longer involved in any type of activity that might lead to abortion. I said I wanted to believe them, and would like to be part of lifting the boycott, but in order to do that, they must send to me at the National office a detailed breakdown of all of the grants they had made in the last two years. This they simply refused to do and the boycott continued.

I should note that we assume that the March of Dimes has never paid directly for a single abortion. They merely made it possible to pinpoint handicapped babies and then stood aside, washed their hands and allowed them to be killed. Part 2>>

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