Randy Engel
The A-Z of eugenic killing
A short anti-life history of the March of Dimes
By Randy Engel
April 9, 2011

A is for Alpha -The Beginning

On July 22, 1958, the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis/March of Dimes (NF/MOD) announced it was turning its sights on preventing birth defects. Still reeling from a bad corporate conscience and massive cover-up concerning the "effective, safe and potent" Salk Inactivated Poliomyelitis Vaccine, "a vaccine which turned out to be inadequately studied, seriously flawed and prematurely introduced," the MOD stated it would become a new conscience for America by extending its purview from poliomyelitis to birth defects. An 82-page documented report on the Salk vaccine is available at http://uscl.info/edoc/doc.php?doc_id=93&action=inline.

Basil 0' Connor, President of the MOD, and a very powerful national medical figure, became interested in medical genetics through his association with the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, instructional course initiated by Johns Hopkins University and the Jackson Laboratory. The Bar Harbor grant has continued for more than thirty years — the longest grant in the 50 year history of the foundation.

By the start of the 1970s, the MOD's commitment to eugenics and all that the commitment implies was evidenced by the plethora of openly pro-abortion speakers on the MOD circuit, by the addition of known eugenicists to its various National Advisory

Committees, by the eugenic writings found in their Original Articles Series, by the MOD's energetic funding and promotion of mid-trimester, non-therapeutic prenatal diagnostic research, clinical testing, and by its provision of seed monies to expand eugenic services at university-based medical centers throughout the United States.

Once the key officials of the MOD accepted the fundamental premise of eugenics — that there are certain people who never should be born, and that it is a positive act for families and society to insure that such persons are not born — the fate of the MOD was chiseled in stone. This report is the story of the NF/MOD's journey into the killing fields of eugenics.

B is for Baby Parts

As the battle over the use of fetal tissues and organs of aborted babies heats up in the U.S. and abroad, we should recall that the MOD has funded such practices for more than two decades.

In the early 1970s, the MOD awarded a grant of $19,000 to Dr. John F.S. Crocker of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The study on examine environmental factors causing congenital kidney malfunctions involved "60 pairs of embryonic kidneys...obtained from human therapeutic abortions after five-to-twelve weeks' gestation." Crocker's earlier animal studies were featured in the MOD's Birth Defects Reprint Series (PERS — 166, 2/73).

In 1981-82, a combined MOD grant enabled Dr. Stanley J. Robboy and his colleagues at Massachusetts General to develop a method for testing the teratogenic and carcinogenic effects of drugs (DES) on developing human organ systems. The researchers isolated intact reproductive tracts from human fetal tissue, obtained by D&C abortions of preborn baby girls up to ten weeks and prostaglandin abortions thereafter. The reproductive tracts were then implanted in laboratory mice to test the effects of diethylstilbestrol.

In 1983-84, a similar experiment was carried out on the embryonic reproductive tract of the human male by Dr. G. Cunha, Robboy's associate at the University of California (S.F.) School of Medicine. Twelve male reproductive tracts were obtained by D&C abortions from which the gonads were removed and grafted onto mice. Additionally, the reproductive tracts of eight females obtained through D&C abortions were subjected to similar testing.

C is for Cystic Fibrosis

The funding of cystic fibrosis "search and destroy" operations was given top priority in the 1980's by the MOD. CF is the most prevalent inherited disease among Caucasians in the United States, and the discovery of a prenatal marker for the disease would make possible "a new program of mass genetic screening of vast proportions."

In 1981-82, the MOD got the CF-S&D ball rolling with a $108,000 research grant to abortionist and MOD National Advisor, Henry L. Nadler, M.D., for "pre-natal diagnosis of cystic fibrosis."

In 1983, the MOD, in collaboration with the CF Foundation, awarded a $50,000 grant to pro-abortionist and MOD National Advisor, Dr. Michael Kabac, to study the family-planning patterns of CF families and see "whether parents of affected children would be more likely to plan another pregnancy if a prenatal test [presumably backed by selected abortion of affected children] for CF were available."

Later, Dr. Hope Punnett of St. Christopher's Hospital for Children ($20,000/4-1-8–3-31-85), and Dr. Harry Harris of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine ($60,000/87-88-89), received research grants for expanded prenatal testing of CF.

D is for Deceit

The fact that the National Office of the MOD deceives even their own chapters is demonstrated by the controversy surrounding the pre-natal diagnosis technique of fetoscopy, a form of live fetal experimentation, funded by the MOD.

On June 3, 1980, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the MOD, in response to prolife criticism, stated that "...the March of Dimes funds no phase of fetoscopy research," and that "March of Dimes funds are not now, have never, and never will be used in support of anti-life programs."

Actually, the MOD funding of fetoscopic research to identify "thalassemic fetuses by analyzing placental blood samples early in the course of high-risk pregnancy" has been well publicized in medical circles since such non-therapeutic research is prohibited

under the moratorium of the federal National Institutes of Health (NIH). Private foundations like the MOD are not covered by the ban.

Hence, over the last two decades, MOD funding of fetoscopic techniques and blood analysis to such physicians as Blanche Alter, David Nathan, Haig Kazazian, Yuet Wai Kan, and Mitchell Golbus have kept the killing fields open in the genetic community.

As Alter explained at a MOD-sponsored seminar on genetic disorders held in New York in December, 1980, "pre-natal screening for hemoglobenopathies is now available and should significantly reduce the incidence of severe forms of this disease."

E is for Eugenic Mafia

Since the implementation of its eugenic policies and programs in the late 1960s, the MOD's various Advisory Committees for Medical Services, Basic Research, Clinical Research, and Basil O'Connor Starter Research have been dominated by nationally known eugenic abortionists famed for their late abortion technical skills, especially prostaglandin-induced abortion, which provide fresh fetal tissue and organs.

These MOD National Advisors have included William Spellacy, M.D., Edward J. Quilligan, M.D., Leon Speroff, M.D.,* John C. Hobbins, M.D., Maurice J. Mahoney, M.D., and Henry L. Nadler, M.D. It should be noted that Hobbins and Mahoney are also in favor of third-trimester abortions (as in case of anencephaly) where (1) the disorder is incompatible with postnatal survival for more than a few weeks, and (2) the presence of prenatal diagnostic tests to affirm condition.

Other nationally known pro-abortion MOD Advisory members (including MOD Research and Medical Services grant recipients) are Kurt Hirschhom, M.D.,* Charles Flowers Jr. M.D., David G. Nathan, M.D.,* John T. Queenan, Kenneth J. Ryan, Rodney

Howell, M.D., Richard W. Erbe, M.D.,* Leon Rosenberg, M.D.,* Mitchell Golbus, M.D.,* Laird Jackson, M.D., Michael Kaback, M.D.,* Norman Kretchmer, M.D.,* Amo Motulsky, M.D.* and David Rimoin, M.D. Ph.D.* (*Current National Advisors — 1989-


F is for Fetal Experimentation

It has never been clearly enunciated for, nor understood by, the general public that all forms of non-therapeutic first and second trimester techniques of prenatal diagnosis have first been carried out on TBA patients, i.e., TO BE ABORTED women, and

that these techniques are considered a form of LIVE FETAL EXPERIMENTATION.

It should also be noted that in many cases, it was the prenatal diagnostic technique itself (i.e. mid-trimester amniocentesis or fetoscopy, or first trimester chorion villus sampling (CVS) that caused the death of the child, and not the anticipated abortion.

Beginning in 1968 and continuing throughout the late 1980s, the MOD has funded and promoted all of the above techniques, including fetoscopy, chorion villus sampling, and maternal blood sampling.

In fact, it has been the financial backing of private foundations like the MOD that permitted fetoscopic and CVS researchers such as MOD-grantees David Nathan, M.D., Blanche Alter, M.D., Yuet Kan, M.D., and Mitchell Golbus, M.D. to bypass the federal moratorium on live, non-therapeutic fetal experimentation.

G is for Genetic Diseases Act

The MOD is a registered lobby in Washington, D.C.

In September of 1978, a "Dear Member" letter, signed by MOD President Charles L. Massey, was circulated to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, stating that the National Foundation/March of Dimes "strongly endorse(s) passage of H.R. 12370" — which incorporated the National Genetic Diseases Act of 1976 (Title XI — PHSA) and provided for federal, tax-funded expansion of genetic services, genetic

education, and genetic laboratory facilities in order to "reduce the incidence of all genetic diseases" in the United States. (Note: UNALLOWABLE costs under Title X — PHSA were treatment and inpatient hospital care.)

This landmark legislation which passed in November, 1978, was to the eugenicist what the Family Planning and Population Services Act of 1970 was to the birth control advocate and abortionist.

In lobbying the measure, Massey noted "The financial cost of treating and institutionalizing our severely affected survivors is staggering; we cannot begin to measure the cost... ."

The Massey letter cites Sickle Cell Anemia, Cooley's Anemia, Tay-Sachs Disease, Down syndrome, and Muscular Dystrophy...as diseases which could be reduced through genetic screening and prenatal diagnosis. Amniocentesis is described as a procedure that "saves thousand of babies..." How puncturing the womb with a needle, introducing the possibility of infection, miscarriage, exsanguination, and "mistakenly" aborting normal children and deliberately aborting "affected" children, contributes to "saving lives" can only be understood within the context of a eugenic mind set, which

disinherits genetically handicapped preborn children from the human family, but bankrolls the moral defectives who lobby for their slaying.

H is for Health by Death

One of the many tragic consequences of the institutionalization of the "Health by Death" Ethic by the March of Dimes in the United States has been to divert medical science from its original objectives of cure, treatment, and advocacy of the ill, the handicapped and infirmed, to the killing of the afflicted — prenatally by abortion and postnatally by infanticide and euthanasia.

Amniocentesis, it should be remembered, was a strictly therapeutic innovation for use in late pregnancy and in labor before the MOD mounted its multi-million dollar genetic services campaign of "preventing birth defects" by fetal euthanasia.

Once prenatal diagnosis became linked with abortion, legitimate scientific research for cures or treatment of disorders, especially Tay Sachs and Down syndrome, fell dramatically.

Dr. Carlo Valenti of Brooklyn's Downstate Medical Center who has appeared at numerous MOD-sponsored genetic symposiums, has argued from the MOD pulpit for legal sanction of late eugenic abortions.

"Unrealistic" and "untreatable" were the words used by Valenti to describe the hope for treatment of most genetic diseases in utero. "...Although I would welcome an alternative to the abortion of a defective fetus, I reluctantly conclude that abortion must remain the solution to inheritable disease."

I is for Insurance

Securing insurance funds for expanding health insurance coverage for genetic services, including screening and prenatal diagnosis, has been a major concern of the March of Dimes. In 1982-1983, the MOD, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Community Health Services (HHS), funded a $181,968 one-year study by the Health Services Foundation (HSF), a Blue Cross-Blue Shield affiliate, to determine if private reimbursement methods will remove financial barriers to obtaining genetic services, thus, according to MOD Vice President, Dr. Arthur J. Salisbury, saving the government billions of dollars in "custodial care" of "genetically handicapped children" born in the U.S. each year. No mention of increased coverage for treatment of disorders was mentioned in the HSF press release of March 1, 1982.

In its Final Report, the HSF stated that screening and prenatal diagnosis were cost-effective when compared to the high cost of caring for "blighted" children, and authors cited the U.S.'s Tay Sachs program as an ideal program. "Prior to screening in 1970, between 50 and 1,009 children were born annually in North America with Tay Sachs Disease. In 1980, only 13 children in North America were born with the disorder. Cost-benefit studies performed on different communities' experience with Tay Sachs screening, along with prenatal diagnosis, have demonstrated its cost savings potential." (p. 53).

Since there is no known treatment or cure for Tay Sachs disease, inside or outside the womb, only the abortion of affected preborn children would make the Tay Sachs program "cost-saving."

Remember Dr. Salisbury's complaint and the HSF "Health by Death" ethic the next time you read the MOD's Position Paper on "Search and Destroy" approaches: "...The MOD does not ally itself with those who view abortion as a means of reducing society's cost for care of the handicapped, or as a means of 'purifying the gene pool."

J is for Justice for the Unborn

Since the prolife battle with the March of Dimes began in the early 1970s, the movement has been virtually unanimous in its support of a MOD boycott. In 1978, the International Foundation for Genetic Research, popularly known as The Michael Fund, was formed to support prolife genetic research under the direction of the world famous prolife geneticist Dr. Jerome Lejeune.

One of the few prolife groups which has supported the MOD is American Citizens Concerned For Life (ACCL). The ACCL defense paper, which was written by its Program Director, Raymond J. Di Blasio, Ph.D., is still widely circulated by the National Office, field staff, and chapter administrators of the MOD to discredit prolife critics.

According to Di Blasio, "...the March of Dimes' good deeds speak for themselves, and I feel some outrage that idealogical zealots eager to invent new enemies should have forced this noble enterprise to defend its honor."

"Occasional misgivings...concerning the supposedly doubtful character of the March of Dimes," Di Blasio states, are "one of those despicable, utterly unfounded misconceptions that clings all the more stubbornly to some minds when it is forcefully reflected."

"As to amniocentesis" the ACCL director stated, "it is a dead issue to both ethicists and medical technicians; the primary question these days is the (medical) safety of its administration. BESIDES, THE BIG NEWS THIS MONTH IS THAT AMNIOCENTESIS IS ABOUT TO BE SUPPLANTED BY AN EASIER, SAFER TECHNIQUE." [Bold added]

Di Blasio is, of course, making reference to chorion villus biopsy, the first- trimester prenatal diagnostic technique practiced on to-be-aborted women, developed and promoted by the MOD. It is more dangerous than amniocentesis, and its sole claim to fame is that it permits earlier abortion of affected preborn children. Unfortunately, these affected children have no multimillion dollar public relations department to plead their case, but they should at least be able to obtain justice from those who call themselves "prolife."

K is for Kazazian

In 1984, Dr. Haig H. Kazazian of Johns Hopkins University, a long-time MOD grantee and nationally recognized advocate of eugenic abortion was one of the first MOD grantees to receive MOD clinical research funds of $35,000.00 "to explore the safety and utility of first trimester diagnosis of hereditary anemias and other disorders, by gene analysis of chorion villus samples."

During this time period, Dr. M. Golbus of the University of California (S.F.) received $50,000, and well-known prostaglandin-abortionist, Dr. Maurice J. Mahoney of Yale, received $35,000 for chorion villus sampling, a prenatal diagnostic technique which would permit the first-trimester abortion of affected preborn children.

Moving into the 1990s, the MOD continues to pursue its dream of a first- trimester, safe and simple prenatal test, by awarding Dr. Kazazian in 1989 a Clinical Research Grant of $50, 000 to refine and apply methods of "enabling accurate, timely, prenatal, and carrier diagnosis" for Beta-Thalassemia, Hemophilia A, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Cystic Fibrosis, none of which is a treatable disorder in utero.

L is for Lymphocytes

From the early 1970s to the present time, the MOD has demonstrated a special interest in non-evasive, simple, and safe, early prenatal diagnostic techniques to supplement or replace mid-trimester amniocentesis, thus shifting the abortion timetable of affected children from the second- to first-trimester of pregnancy.

One such MOD grant was awarded to Dr. A. de la Chapelle of the Department of Medical Genetics of the University of Helsinki, Finland for the isolation/purification of human fetal lymphocytes found in maternal blood to determine fetal genetic diseases early in pregnancy.

It is instructional to note beforehand that the de la Chapelle grant had been preceded by the controversial Adam grant of $9,240 (1973-1974), which covered travel expenses to Helsinki, and lab and technician costs for fetal brain metabolism studies on living, human babies aborted by hysterotomy (and still attached by the umbilical cord to the mother) who were decapitated and their heads mounted on perfusion equipment by

Adam and his colleagues.

According to Arthur A. Gallway, MOD Vice President for Development, (1) the "research" was "done legally and ethically under Finnish law," (2) "the investigators did not participate in the decision to terminate pregnancy," and (3) "they were concerned with the ethics of discarding such fetal tissue without seeking to find ways to improve the life and health of live born premature infants."

Having experienced considerable prolife flack over the Adam severed-heads grants, it seems incredible that the MOD should turn around and award de la Chapelle research funds for fetal blood experiments involving more aborted babies.

Nevertheless, according to grant data published by de la Chapelle and associates in J. Immunol. (vol. 6, 1977) and credited to the NF/MOD (No. 1-405) and the Sigrid Juseluis Foundation, cell sources for the experiment were obtained from both maternal blood samples and "BY OPEN-HEART PUNCTURE OF 10-WEEK FETUSES THAT HAD BEEN ABORTED FOR VARIOUS REASONS, NOT CONNECTED WITH FETAL DISEASE... ." [Bold added]

M is for Minors and Abortion

The 1989 MOD Position Paper on "Promotion of Abortion to Minors" (p. 14) states that MOD "educational materials prepared for use by minors, do not present abortion as a way of dealing with teenage pregnancy," and that a number of MOD cooperative programs..." not on matters related to abortion...are specifically designed to restore and support parental guidance."

Left unsaid, however, is that the MOD does promote pro-abortion materials produced by others.

For example, in its Professional Education Catalog under Perinatal Publications (p. 16), the MOD offers for free, "Adolescent Perinatal Health: A Guidebook for Services, prepared by an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Task Force which included Gabriel Stickle, MOD Vice president for Education.

When the ACOG report was released in 1979-80, the MOD featured the guidebook in its Maternal/Newborn Advocate as "A positive approach toward improving health care for adolescents under the age of 17," even though the rabidly pro-abortion report endorsed first- and-second trimester abortion for minors without parental consent and a full range of contraceptive and abortifacient services including "post-coital treatment." (pgs. 24-26)

On the educational front, the MOD has brought eugenics and abortion into the classroom and biology and science labs of American schools through its funding of the openly pro-abort Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) based in Boulder, Colorado.

N is for NOAPP (National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting)

The MOD has been funding NOAPP, a pro-abortion, pro-school-based clinic agency since 1983. NOAPP lobbies heavily for "reproductive rights" on Capitol Hill.

MOD grants include an initial $1,000 PHE grant (83-84) for the production of a NOAPP newsletter, with subsequent grants to publish the newsletter; and a CEG of $20,000 (1/1/90-12/31/90) for a series of training workshops on adolescent pregnancy program evaluation.

Between March 25 and 27, 1985, the MOD co-sponsored and co-funded an adolescent pregnancy seminar titled "Inventing the Future," which included on its faculty Mary Hughes, MOD Vice president for Community Affairs and NOAPP Advisory Council Member. Included in the "New Futures" Summary Report were numerous anti-life references and scenarios promoting school-based clinics, compulsory population control, homosexuality, birth control ads, and divorce. [To be continued]

Note: This article with endnotes is available in booklet form from The Michael Fund, 4371 Northern Pike, Pittsburgh, PA 15146 for $3.00 each, postage-paid. The International Foundation for Genetic Research, popularly known as the Michael Fund is the pro-life alternative to the March of Dimes. All donations are tax-deductable.

© Randy Engel


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)


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