Randy Engel
The A-Z of eugenic killing, Part II
A short anti-life history of the March of Dimes
By Randy Engel
April 11, 2011

(See Part 1)

O is for Orwellian Newspeak

For an explanation of what is meant in MOD genetic circles by the phrase "therapeutic research," we quote Dr. Henry Foster, who served on the MOD's Medical Service Advisory Committee in the early 1980s (the committee which reviews grant applications for funding of MOD Medical Service grants).

Having stated he personally had done "a lot of amniocentesis and therapeutic abortions, probably near 700," Dr. Foster defended fetoscopic research to detect thalassemia prenatally as "clearly therapeutic," since "it was done for the same reasons that we do amniocentesis, to decide whether or not the pregnancy should continue, and to provide a therapeutic abortion."

Similar examples of Orwellian Newspeak can be found in much more current MOD prenatal diagnostic literature.

P is for Pope Blesses MOD!

One of the MOD's top public relations schemes occurred in the summer of 1984 when the MOD published its Volunteer Newsletter featuring a cover picture of Pope John Paul II, and headlined "Pope sends Blessing and Gift to the March of Dimes."

In actuality, the alleged gift of $2,000 was a personal gift of a Vatican Bank official to an old friend who was being honored at a MOD fund-raising dinner in Hartford, Conn. Likewise, the Papal Apostolic Blessing was secured by the same Vatican official from the Rome offices that issue such honorariums.

Yet, despite the fact that the Holy Father has repeatedly condemned "neo-natal euthanasia" when the discovery of a prenatal deformity is the equivalent of a death sentence, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has condemned "any directive or program ... of scientific organizations which in any way were to favor a link between prenatal diagnosis and abortion," and the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio reputed the inference that the MOD had received "official church approbation," The Volunteer cover was kept in circulation until the National Office ordered its chapters to remove it from circulation in 1989-90.

Q is for Question: What are "Genetic Services?"

"Innovation" and "leadership" are the words the MOD uses to describe its role in supporting genetic services.

One of these "innovative" genetic service centers is the Prenatal Genetics Clinic for Prenatal Diagnosis and Consultation/Wisconsin Clinical Genetics Center (WCGC) located at Rockford Memorial Hospital. The Rockford/University of Madison genetics complex has been the recipient of thousands of MOD dollars in the form of Basil O'Connor, Clinical and Basic, Social and Behavioral and Reproductive Hazards in Workplace grants.

In December 1980, Renata Laxova, M.D., of the WCGC, unleashed the ugly truth about the eugenics war on the preborn at Madison in a pediatrics article titled "Prenatal Diagnosis of Genetic Diseases" (p. 66-76). Mid-trimester amniocentesis or fetoscopy combined with pregnancy termination of affected children to eliminate preborn children with (1) chromosomal disorders, (2) neural tube defects, (3) metabolic disorders, (4) and sex-linked blood or muscular and other inheritable disorders, were "grossly underutilized," complained Laxova. Included in the comprehensive genetic services program are late-term abortions "complicated" by live births which have made Madison General Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Hospital the scenes of numerous prolife pickets.

Despite bad press, MOD monies have continued to pour into Madison including a $10,800 (84-85) grant to spread the positive message of eugenics to clergy, teachers, professionals and the public statewide. However, in 1983, more "live births" complications inspired the possibility of revising late abortion killing procedures.

At the Genetics Center of Baylor College of Medicine, another MOD institutional grant center, "In the circumstance of a lethal [sic] diagnosis PAST 24 weeks, pregnancy termination can be registered by our institutional review mechanisms."

R is for Right-to-Life

The contempt which National Officers and Staff of the MOD have exhibited toward prolife critics is reflected in the now famous VOSS Memorandum circulated from the MOD's Public Relations Department to all chapters nationwide in 1975-76.

Titled "Pro-Life Agitation," the internal memorandum was designed to counter "Pro-Life Resistance" to the MOD's growing eugenic policies.

Interestingly, the memorandum features the familiar argument that prenatal diagnosis is not a "search and destroy mission(s)," but rather "life-saving." Where did this rationale originate? The answer is, "With a pro-abortionist."

In the early 1970s, prior to Roe vs. Wade, the MOD financially underwrote and co-sponsored a symposium on Advances in Human Genetics and Their Impact on Society, featuring a number of well-known eugenicists who publicly hailed the "enormous" humanitarian gains of prenatal diagnosis combined with selective abortion of affected children.

According to Dr. M. Neil Macintyre, of Case Western, "Incongruous as it may seem to some readers, prenatal genetic evaluation, coupled with therapeutic abortion to eliminate a defective conceptus, is both a life-giving and a life-saving procedure."

However, as prolife ethicist, Prof. Arthur J. Dyck of Harvard, has pointed out, "To decide that a given set of diseases is to be eliminated by elimination of the diseased, is one of the principles on which programs of eugenics and euthanasia rest." "Further," Dyck remarked, "if both physician and society should be impartial regarding eugenic abortion, what advocate is left for defenseless life?"

S is for S.K.A.T. (Sex, Knowledge and Attitude Test)

In 1980, the MOD awarded a $25,974 Public Health Education Grant to Dr. Peggy Smith, of the Population Program of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, to provide funds "for the development and implementation of a teacher training kit for Parenting Education," the MOD's program "to protect maternal and newborn health."

Fourteen public school teacher trainees underwent a nine-week, sexual attitudinal desensitization and restructuring program, after which they taught 35 teachers in a 48- hour class setting. Evaluation of both trainers and trainees involved the use of various S.K.A.T. tests, including the Autoeroticism Scale, the Abortion Scale, and the Sexual Myths Scale. A significant shift toward more "liberal" views, especially toward masturbation and other sexual perversions, was reported.

According to the project director, the proposed pyramid training model "maximizes opportunities for future project replications," was "cost-effective," and could be used as "a model for school-based staff development programs in human sexuality."

T is for Tay Sachs

Tay Sachs Disease (TSD) is a fatal inborn metabolic disorder that primarily affects children of Ashkenazi Jews. In the early 1970s, it was the first disorder which met the key criteria for prototype "search and destroy" programs for untreatable, recessive autosomal disease.

In 1975, the MOD co-funded the first International Conference of Tay Sachs Disease: Screening and Prevention, and its local chapters notified area physicians that TSD could be prevented "since intrauterine diagnosis of an affected fetus could be legally followed by termination of pregnancy."

The MOD has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into TSD genetic services and research programs, the largest single research recipient being pro-abortionist and MOD National Advisor, Dr. Michael M. Kaback of UCLA.

In the 1980s the TSD search and destroy operations continued with MOD grants to such institutions as the Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School "to test a new visual method for diagnosis, carrier detection, and prenatal detection of disorders such as Tay Sachs and Gaucher Disease." (7/1/84-6/30/85) and (7/1/87-6/30/88).

U is for Understanding

The key to unraveling the mystery of the March of Dimes lies in an understanding of the role that money and public relations play in the success and survival of powerful national health agencies such as the MOD.

According to Dr. Herbert Ratner, editor of Child and Family and author of "An Untold Vaccine Story," an expose of the Salk Vaccine fiasco of 1955, "To be realistic, the success of national health agencies, and the tenure of their top administrators, depends heavily on the talent of their public relations divisions and for the most part, is measured by the amount of funds garnered from the public. Appearance, good or bad, premature or otherwise, becomes habitual."

"When the agencies make seriously flawed decisions," says Dr. Ratner, "and reputations and even the preservation of the organization is at stake, the pressure and the temptation to cover up is intense, even when actual human lives are at stake. '

The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions' 1962 American Character Critique of American Medicine captured the essential character of over-publicized, media-type tactics of such. The Critique condemned "Mass manipulation by hand-selected, well-subsidized overly committed scientists backed by powerful public relations departments of wealthy national health agencies."

The recommendation of Dr. Ratner is that one should become "less innocent and more sophisticated in regard to the trustworthiness of mass programs sponsored and supported by national health agencies, the alleged guardians of our health."

V is for Villi as in Chorion Villus Sampling (CVS)

CVS is a prenatal diagnostic technique, which can be performed between the 9th and 11th week of pregnancy for direct chromosomal and biomedical studies. According to the MOD's head of CVS studies, Laird G. Jackson of Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, CVS is preferable to mid-trimester amniocentesis, performed at 16-weeks' gestation because, "Clearly, it would be preferable to identify genetic abnormalities before the 12th week of gestation, so that patients could opt for first-trimester termination of pregnancy, which is simpler, safer, and less psychologically stressful than the mid-trimester procedure."

As with fetoscopy, Jackson stated that "Our initial experience with chorion villus sampling was obtained from a group of 60 volunteers who underwent the procedure immediately before termination of pregnancy."

According to another MOD grantee, Dr. Mitchell Golbus, it is "very necessary" for doctors attempting CVS to practice on TBAs (to-be-aborted patients) first.

The Jackson statements were taken from an article by Dr. Jackson titled, "First-Trimester Diagnosis of Fetal Genetic Disorders" (Hospital Practice, April 15, 1985), sent to this writer by Richard P. Leavitt, head of Corporate Communications for the National Office of the MOD in White Plains, New York.

In still another of its Public Relations schemes, the MOD press release on CVS dated April 15, 1984, claims that "safe first-trimester diagnosis of genetic disorders may make it possible to intervene and treat problems before damage is done in the womb. The March of Dimes supports research on chorion villus sampling, and the Philadelphia registry, in an effort to determine the risks and applicability of the new procedure. MOD's reference to future therapy is ludicrous, when one understands that the sole selling point of the more dangerous CVS procedure is that it makes possible an earlier eugenic abortion — the ultimate damage to the child in the womb.

W is for WHO — the United Nations World Health Organization

The belief that first and second trimester prenatal diagnosis for untreatable disorders, such as Tay Sachs or Down syndrome, is inextricably linked to the abortion of affected pre-born children can be validated at the international level by the action of the World Health Organization (WHO).

A report titled "Prevention and Control of Genetic and Congenital Defects," published in 1984 by the Pan American Regional Office of WHO, under the section dealing with the Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) testing for neural tube defects (a test actively endorsed by the MOD and in effect at MOD-financially established genetic centers across the U.S.) reads: "This primary prevention measure [i.e. AFP testing and amniocentesis] is already being applied voluntarily in countries with organized prenatal care programs and WHERE THERE IS THE LEGAL OPTION TO ABORT ABNORMAL FETUSES IN THE 2ND TRIMESTER." [Bold added] The technique is simple and the cost-benefit ratio very favorable." Listed as the first requirement for an effective AFP program was "Legislation permitting the interruption of pregnancy when the fetus is abnormal." (p. 12).

X is for X-Linked Disorders

The MOD has stated it does not support mid-trimester prenatal diagnosis for sex selection purposes, but this is not quite true.

Due to the relatively high risk of fetal loss following fetoscopy to detect sex-linked disorders such as hemophilia or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an "alternative" genetic strategy has been to use amniocentesis or chorion villus sampling to determine the sex of the fetus, and then abort all the males since there is a 50% chance the male offspring of a female carrier will develop the disease with the female offspring (at the same percentage) being only carriers.

According to Dr. Stylianos E. Antonarakis of Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Pediatrics, "We certainly can reduce the cases of hemophilia by two-thirds, perhaps 250 cases a year, if all the women who have an affected fetus elected to abort."

In "Guidelines for the Ethical, Social and Legal Issues in Prenatal Diagnosis," a $17,000 MOD study by the pro-abort think-tank known as the Hastings Institute, the Institute's Genetics Research Group recommended that "Prenatal ascertainment of sex in fetuses at risk for otherwise undiagnosable sex-linked disorders should be available to parents who want it."

Regarding sex selection across the board, the Hastings Report, which was sent to all MOD field staff, science writers and family interest editors throughout the U.S., concluded that "although we strongly oppose any movement aimed at making diagnosis of sex and selective abortion a part of ordinary medical practice and family planning. WE RECOMMEND THAT NO LEGAL RESTRICTIONS BE PLACED ON ASCERTAINMENT OF FETAL SEX." [Bold added]

The MOD has funded research grants in order also to discover the gene marker for hemophilia B as a basis for prenatal diagnosis (Jagadeeswaran-pudur, $25,000, 9/11/84-8/31/85; and $20,830, 9/1/86-87 and for gene carrier tests for woman carrying the gene for hemophilia A or B. (R. Janco, $15,000, 1/1/90-12/31/90).

Y is for YaleHarvard Medical Underground

Since the early 1970s, there has existed among various MOD-funded university-based, genetic medical complexes, a type of "medical underground," which cooperates at a number of different levels to provide various types of research assistance, for example, supplying fresh human fetal tissues, blood or organs, to their colleagues in need.

A very rare opportunity to witness the activities of this underground was provided in the February 2, 1977, issue of the Medical Tribune, in an article titled "Fetal Research Continued Despite Hysteria."

In an exclusive interview with the Medical Tribune reporter, Dr. David Nathan, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard University, a MOD grantee and current National MOD advisor, disclosed how his fellow MOD-funded colleague, Dr. Blanche Alter, and their fetologic hemoglobinopathy team, "master-minded a plane and bus shuttle of blood samples and patients and an interprofessional axis between London, New Haven, and Boston, in order that "knowledge go on, vital clinical testing go on, and when necessary, abortions go on."

Their fetoscopic trials, Nathan claimed, "have given the hematologic green light to abortions all over the world." Dr. Nathan said, "I told the Right-to-Life group here...there was no way to pass a law to stop us...You can't stop knowledge."

About the same time of the Medical Tribune interview, Nathan defended the policies of the NF/MOD against "attacks by prolife or Right-to-Life groups in a special issue of the Villanova Law Review on "Research on the Fetus." Here, Nathan warned that "because the foundation supports research on the developing fetus, it became the object of utterly mindless calumny. "

Going into the 1990s, there is sufficient information to support the belief that the "underground" described by Nathan is alive and well today among MOD-funded researchers.

Z is for OmegaThe End

Perhaps the most frequently asked question concerning the NF/MOD's role in spreading the gospel of eugenics is this, "How did it happen? When did the MOD take the wrong turn in the road?"

The answer regarding the beginning of the National Foundation/March of Dimes' role in eugenic killing which has lead to the death of thousands of innocent preborn children whose only "crime" was to be suspected of being "less than perfect" is this:

It began the very first time the National leadership of the March of Dimes knowingly gave its assent to the contract killing of handicapped children in the womb.

The rest is history!"

— End —

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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