Death March

Lauren Santini was born on December 6, 1997—and died 13 days later of bacterial pneumonia. In memory of their daughter, Eric and Vanessa Santini took part in a recent March of Dimes fund raiser in Virginia Beach. They wanted to help raise money for neonatal research because, in Vanessa's words, "the more we know, the more we can help babies to live." But what the Santinis probably don't realize is that the March of Dimes can be a handicapped baby's worst enemy: The organization promotes genetic screening followed by abortion when babies are less than perfect. The March of Dimes emphatically denies that the organization promotes abortion. But its own publications suggest otherwise. For example, a publication called Protocol for Genetic Counseling advises counselors to "validate" the parents' decision to abort if the fetus is defective. A publication called Fetal Reduction and Selective Termination, also published by the March of Dimes, describes how to selectively kill one or more developing babies in utero when the mother is pregnant with multiple babies. Among the reasons for the reduction: "to allow the birth of a healthy newborn without the birth of a coexisting fetus with a congenital abnormality." According to the National Right to Life Committee, the March of Dimes has also become a supporter of fetal transplantation using tissue from aborted fetuses. The truth is that the March of Dimes is marching straight toward the Brave New World of eugenics—the idea that society ought to weed out those deemed unfit for a high quality of life. As genetic screening and other technologies become increasingly available, the abortion of defective babies goes from being an option to being an expectation—in the name of "public health." Eugenic thinking was widespread here in America before World War II. But it fell into disrepute after Americans saw the outcome of the eugenic program in Nazi Germany—where the retarded and handicapped were herded off to death camps. Today, however, eugenic thinking is sweeping back with a vengeance—only today's eugenic programs are much more sophisticated: They rely on the latest techniques of genetic screening and abortion in sterile surroundings. The March of Dimes has done a great deal of good since its founding in 1938. It has funded Neonatal Intensive Care Units to care for sick newborns, and financed the development of drugs that treat respiratory distress syndrome in babies. But their involvement in genetic testing and their acceptance of both fetal reduction and the abortion of defective babies represent what prolife leader John Willke calls "a little eugenics Auschwitz" on the side. Some 3,000 prolife groups around the country are boycotting the March of Dimes. When March of Dimes fund raisers knock on your door, tell them you cannot support their organization unless and until it becomes 100 percent prolife. If you want to help in the fight against birth defects, why not give to The Michael Fund? It's a prolife group that supports research to find a cure for Down’s Syndrome. A high view of human life demands that we hunt down genetic diseases. But we should not be hunting down the babies themselves.


Chuck Colson


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