March of Dimes


I’m not really sure where to post this…

Do any of you know much about the March of Dimes? I do know that their official stance on abortion is neither pro-choice nor pro-life. I know that they do a lot of good as far as research and prevention of pre-term birth. But I also know that there was some controversy with their involvement in Planned Parenthood - I believe it had something to do with an educational campaign of some sort - they don’t provide funds that could be used for abortions though. I’m thinking the campaign may have had something to do with educating women about monthly cycles and contraception (but this is JUST a hunch I have - I don’t know for sure).

What I don’t know is what sort of research they fund - if it involves embryonic stem cells or whole embryos or what.

Now here’s the dilemma I have - my sister lost two children to pre-term birth and a big part of her way of healing has been to support the March of Dimes. She gets really into it and it means so much to her. In the past, I’ve supported her - raised money and done the walk with her. But I’ve only recently started to realize that the MOD may somehow support causes that I feel are morally wrong. But they also support causes that are admirable and good as well. I’m just having a hard time finding out exactly what research they fund and if they have ever been involved in funding things that God would consider sinful.

Do any of you know more about this? If it is true that they fund things like embryonic stem cell research, does that totally negate the good that they do and should I stop supporting my sister through my support of the MOD? (or course I would still support my sister in other ways, but to be quite honest, she will be very hurt if I stop supporting MOD:( )

I really need some guidance on this one!!!


I suggest going to the MOD’s website and researching it.


thanks for the reply…

the only thing I could find on the website was a statement declaring the organization “neither pro-choice nor pro-life” and a document that they make every organization receiving funds from them sign - it forbids the organization from using the funds for abortions…

After some more research on this site (, it sounds as though many pro-lifers have a lot of problems with the MOD. But I can’t find much concrete evidence or reason to withdraw support myself - many (including myself) are upset by the fact that the MOD will not take more of a pro-life stance, but I don’t consider that a reason to not support them:confused:

I guess the most compelling reason to withdraw my support would be their support of amniocentesis to detect genetic defects, which many times leads to abortion. But I wonder if the tests can be helpful for any other reason other than awareness of a defect (ie. could the results be used for good - like some sort of treatment,etc.?).

One thing I did find is that donated funds have been used to conduct experiments on harvested parts of aborted fetuses. I don’t find this appealing at all and quite gruesome, to be honest. But is it reason to not donate any more? I just don’t know.

It seems like all the info I find is so “gray”. They don’t allow their funds to be used for abortions, yet it seems that sometimes the funds are used in procedures that may lead to abortions, based on the decisions made by the parents. Do I withdraw support because of those poor decisions of people who have no affiliation with MOD? How much responsibility does the MOD have as far as educating people about abortion, test results, etc?

these are all honest questions as I’m very confused. I wish the Church could just come out with some definative stance on this issue so I could have some concrete guidance!!!


Good morning, Maggie! :wave:

Here’s what I’ve found, regarding March of Dimes and pro-life issues:

That last link is especially helpful, I think. :slight_smile:


I have a problem with their inhumane testing methods, so I tell everyone I know to avoid MOD.


Thanks, Gisella…

Can you elaborate a little on the inhumane testing methods? If you don’t mind sharing, what sort of testing are you referring to? If you’ve got references, that would be even better!


Years back MOD supported prenatal testing as a part of their program to eliminate birth defects. They denied that they were advocating abortion if the results were positive, but never suggested what the alternative was.


Personally I had prenatal testing done on both of my pregnancies and I never would have considered aborting them. What it did allow me to do was to give me the opportunity to prepare resources for a possibly severely disabled child.


I guess this is one of the reasons why I’m struggling with this so much. Yes, the MOD encourages prenatal and mid-trimester testing, but doesn’t the decision to have an abortion/not have an abortion belong to the parents and not the MOD?

Is it really the MOD’s responsibility to educate parents about abortion alternatives? Of course, I think it would be awesome if they did - not only that… it would be a responsible thing to do, BUT… I still feel like the MOD does a lot of good… as far as I can tell.

Now, if I come across at some point some unequivocal evidence (which may very well exist - I just haven’t found any yet) that the MOD truely does currently encourage abortion or fund embryonic stem cell research, then I will definately cease to support them. Everything I’ve come across so far that even hints in that direction, happened in the 70’s, before the MOD came out with the document that prohibits the organizations receiving funds from using them for abortions.

With all of the anti-MOD thoughts permeating the Church community, I would think there would have to be some hard evidence - I’m going to go back through “Truely Beloved”'s links and try to find something there - thanks for those, by the way!!!

thanks again to all of you for your thoughts on this subject:)


Let us know if you find anything, I have also been looking for the “hard evidence”. I have seen things that are enough for me to question them, but not enough for me to show anyone as proof that they support abortion.


It really is a philosophical issue. MoD encourages ‘at-risk’ pregnant women to have amniocentesis to detect birth defects, all of which (IIRC) cannot be corrected in utero. Since amnio itself contains serious risks to the baby, the logical question to ask is WHY would anyone do this testing? The foreknowledge leads people to decide to kill their child rather than endure having an imperfect child. In a way, it is exploitive and leading. The emotionally devastating news of a serious birth defect arguably puts parents in a state where they are highly vulerable to suggestions on a ‘way out.’

If the above seems far - fetched, go ahead and look up the numbers of Downs Syndrome kids born every year since 1970 or so. It has dropped like a rock. There has been no cure, no treatment and risk factors are UP, not down. So what happened? People got ‘screened’ by the March of Dimes - and aborted. It IS one way to reduce birth defects, but not IMO a very good one.

Aside from all that, MoD has historically been a typical large secualr charity. VERY low efficiency, high admin costs and high expenditure on fundraising. I’d rather give my dollar to an organization that uses more of it for good use rather than self-perpetuation.


WELL, I’m having a problem right now because I call on the phone for various orgnizations and one of them is the MOD, and recently I’ve been looking up things about the MOD being alerted by some of the people I called asking for support, and to my dismay am finding out some things that sound pretty horrible:

If it' true that they do use aborted fetal tissue for research I have to say that is horrible because the demand for such tissue seems to me to support abortions, even if they say that the reason they are using it for research is because of a 'moral' reason to not let such tissue 'go to waste when they could use it to 'help' someone' .   I really have a problem with this.  

I am not going to work today because I cannot get this figured out in my head and am very upset !   We won't have health insurance if I donnot keep this job but then again health insurance is not going to keep me out of hell if I am committing a mortal sin by calling for the MOD.      :(:confused:


MOD is the #2 provider of abortion in the U.S.


glad to see this thread has been resurrected… since I began it a few years back, I’ve since made the rock-solid decision to NOT support the MOD in any way.

I’ll now have to go back to find the references, but the reason pretty much stems from evidence I found in which the MOD funds certain initiatives of Planned Parenthood. NOT specifically abortions, but other things like education, etc.

Well, I’ve always known about the PP thing and how it’s pro-choice and provides abortions, but I visited the PP site and COULD NOT BELIEVE the things that were written, plain as day, on their website. It was VERY obvious that PP encourages abortions. I will not fund any organization that passes along support to Planned Parenthood in any way, shape or form. PP’s idea of education seems to me to be educating young women on the benefits of abortion.

There was something else I came across as well, but I can’t remember it right now. Maybe it was the research with aborted babies - can’t remember though (of course that would upset me, but I can’t say that I’ve seen hard evidence of this)

MOD is the #2 provider of abortion in the U.S.…/dp/1581820577

Catholick345 - do you mean because the MOD funds PP? Is there a specific entry in the book that you’re referring to? I’m interested to hear…


One of the other reasons I choose not to support them is because I feel like their statements of having reduced the instance of birth defects, premature births, etc is very misleading. They way they say it implies that their research and work has saved children from these horrible things, so who wouldn't want to contribute to that, right?!!?

In reality, yes, the instance of defects has decreased due to MOD's work, but because the MOD helped to develop certain prenatal tests that are now widely used - and used only to detect defects early enough that the parents would have the choice to abort. And many do. The tests do nothing to help the unborn children who are afflicted - that would be a different story - if these tests could somehow give an option to intervene and help cure the child and ensure a healthy baby. But they only exist really to give the parents the option to abort and try again for a 'better' baby, without Down's Syndrome or the other genetic anomalies that are detected with these tests.


A good resource:

Commentary about the MOD’s 'Global Report on Birth Defects":
Secondary prevention “aims to reduce the number of children born with birth defects.” 3 Although rarely stated explicitly within this carefully worded report, one potential ‘treatment’ at this stage is frequently implied: abortion. Its sanctioned use as a method for reducing the rate of babies born with birth defects is embedded in the discussion of Secondary Prevention. “This is achieved through medical genetic screening and prenatal diagnosis where birth defects are detected and the couple offered genetic counseling and therapeutic options…secondary prevention requires prenatal diagnosis, which must be accompanied by genetic counseling that includes descriptions of the tests available, with their scope and attendant risks.” 4 The important point to note here is that prenatal diagnosis of birth defects does not ‘prevent’ birth defects; it identifies them. Some birth defects are treatable in utero, many are not. Therefore, some of the implicit ‘prevention’ at this stage involves preventing the birth of a child with defects via the ‘abortion treatment.’

the ‘therapeutic option’ here being of course, abortion. This is the MOD’s strategy to ‘prevent birth defects’ in the so-called ‘secondary prevention’ stage.

From the ‘7 reasons to boycott the MOD’:
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

In the link above, the full article can be seen, which gives details and reasons for the allegations.


Maggie, thank you for your inquiry; it's refreshing to see someone of faith honestly seeking truth in order to follow an authentically informed conscience! Goes to show that the lifelong formation of conscience can never adopt the "fast food" mentality.

This discussion came up as I was researching the MoD and it's position/encouragement/practice of abortion. My wife and I have always been amazed at the confusion caused by our refusing the Triple/Quad screen tests with our last four pregnancies. No test will negate the fact that our child is an Imago Dei.

However, I was surprised to see our local Catholic High School, Allentown Central Catholic High School ( lists MoD as a place to fulfill their service requirements. Here is the Service List provided by the school.

I have a feeling that, after reading the many posts and replies, that positive, life affirming experiences, shape how we view organizations that present a "Double Effect" scenario that presents a moral quandary for many.

As a side note, a college student of mine, who was born with spina bifida, remarked that in her early years she was frequently contacted on her progress, but as time went on, when the contacts were fewer, she finally asked why. The reply was that most pre-born babies with spina bifida are aborted making further research unnecessary. Not necessarily a MoD issue, but it adds to the discussion on pre-screening and the "priming" for abortion.

Again, it is edifying to find a faithful disciple seek answers in forming her conscience. God Bless! Vivat Jesus!!

Mary, Mother of Life, Pray for all OB-GYNs, those who are pro-life and those for whom His grace can enlighten every day.



Educatio - Interesting that your local catholic school encourages service with the MOD. I do have to say that years ago, when I first began questioning whether or not I should support them (I think I mentioned that I used to go on the walks and raise funds with my sister - I wanted to support her because it was an event that helped her heal from losing two beautiful children due to prematurity) - I called our local parish to see if they had any input or guidance. They had none.

The March of Dimes has a beautiful mission statement and a great facade. Unless one digs deep into the particulars of all aspects of what they do, it is hard NOT to want to support them. IMO, I think your local school should do some research on this and make sure that they make their recommendations with a fully informed conscience…

Welcome to the boards, btw!


maggie2 - I am sorry that your sister lost 2 babies to prematurity. My older child was born 10 1/2 weeks early, so I know prematurity myself. Many parents on the preemie board I frequent are big MOD supporters, like your sister. For some reason, I never have been, even after my daughter’s birth. Since our daughter was born, my DH and I have preferred to use our efforts to help the Ronald McDonald House that was home after DD was born. We donate cash, goods and supplies now. If you convince your sister to switch her efforts to help other preemies, perhaps there is something like that on which she can focus her attention. Another possibility could be the NICU where her babies were treated. They probably have lots of things they could use for the current babies and parents. Those needed things will range anywhere from preemie clothes/blankets to digital camera equipment, so no matter her financial status, there is something she can do for preemies.



Thank you for all the research and telling us of your journey through this issue. I wanted to know your thoughts on something very similar. My co-worker wants me to join her walking team for MOD. Her sister had a preemie who thankfully is home now. I said yes due to not doing research. Now that I have, thanks also in part to your story, I'm now looking to back out. My priest told me MOD is something to not get involved with and it's a chance to evangelize. The 2 questions I have are #1, she got married outside of the church because the church wouldn't marry them since her husband is divorced. Additionally, it appears she's going to baptize their child in another church since the church won't recognize their marriage. #2 I don't want to come off as just negative, so I was wondering if it'd be okay to give a donation towards the NICU where her nephew was at.

Basically the attitude would already be negative against the church from her viewpoint.
Plus I'd like to show that pro-life/Catholcism doesn't mean to just criticize.

Thank you again for telling your story and may God bless you and all your family.

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