A top fundraiser for the March of Dimes in two Southern states has been ousted after questioning her employer on whether it has ties to Planned Parenthood's business of supplying aborted babies for scientific research.
The March of Dimes has always said publicly that it has no involvement in the abortion industry and "no relationship" with Planned Parenthood. It remains "neutral" politically on the issue of abortion, it says on its website.
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The MOD slogan is "A Fighting Chance for Every Baby." It raises nearly $200 million annually for research into cures for birth defects and premature births.
Joy Barr, who served three years as community director for the MOD's Augusta, Georgia, and Aiken-Sumter, South Carolina, offices, personally raised more than $250,000 for the organization.
But she discovered the group, founded in 1938 to support healthy newborns, is hiding dark secrets from the public and its donors.
Barr's job was to recruit donors of all sizes, including a large Catholic hospital, Trinity Hospital of Augusta, which has a strict rule against donating to any groups with ties to abortion.
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After the Center for Medical Research started releasing its undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood executives casually bartering for "reimbursement" for baby body parts harvested during abortions, including intact livers, hearts, brains and even whole babies, Barr began asking questions of her employer.
"I was horrified by what I saw in the videos but not completely shocked," Barr told WND. "But when Cecile Richards (CEO of Planned Parenthood) made the comment about the importance of research using aborted fetal tissue for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, my next thought was, do we?"
Were there any ties between the wholesome March of Dimes and the ghastly Planned Parenthood?
Watch video of Joy Barr describing her quest for information on the true involvement of March of Dimes in the abortion business.
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"At first, they were friendly and tried to get me as much information as they could," Barr said of her former employer.
Barr was sent an old letter dated June 17, 2014, from Dr. Edward McCabe, head of medical research for March of Dimes, explaining MOD policy with regard to abortion:
"The March of Dimes does not encourage, fund, or support abortions," the letter says. "Our longstanding position of neutrality on the issue of abortion is reflected throughout the organization's many programs. March of Dimes grantees are prohibited from using March of Dimes funds to conduct abortion research, to pay for abortions, or to give directive advice concerning abortions. Violation of this policy would be grounds for cancellation of a grant."
Barr was then referred to the foundation's "sensitive issues kit" for more information.
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In that kit, March of Dimes directs staffers on how to answer sensitive questions from donors about abortion, Planned Parenthood and other issues.
When the Daily Signal came out with a list of 41 organizations that support Planned Parenthood, and it included March of Dimes, the organization posted the following notice on its Facebook page.
Q: Planned Parenthood – you support them and abortions?
A: "March of Dimes does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood. Additionally, the March of Dimes does not promote or fund abortion services, nor may Foundation funds be used for directive counseling regarding abortion. Violation of this policy would be grounds for immediate cancellation of a grant or cooperative agreement. Since 2007, five local March of Dimes chapters have given local grants to Planned Parenthood exclusively for prenatal education. In these communities, these are the only such services available to improve the health of low-income women and reduce the risks of birth defects, low birthweight, and prematurity in their babies."
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But it turns out that's not entirely true.
On July 21, Barr received an email from Michelle Kling, director of public relations for MOD, which included an admission Barr found startling.
"Joy, yes, the March of Dimes has supported some research using cells and tissues obtained from induced abortion and probably will continue to support some," Kling told Barr in the email, a copy of which has been obtained by WND.
When WND contacted Kling to ask the same question, Kling conceded that MOD does make grants to researchers who used aborted baby parts as the specimens on which to be experimented.
"March of Dimes does have a small number of research grants in our very large portfolio, one or two every year, but the research grants are not given to Planned Parenthood, they are given to research universities whose investigators are using (aborted) fetal issue, and the material may or may not be obtained from a Planned Parenthood clinic," Kling said. "It could be obtained from a hospital that performs abortions, or the tissue might come from a different organization than Planned Parenthood that performs abortions. We generally have one or two grants per year that involve fetal tissue. There are some people who would prefer that we don't have any."
What confuses many people is the difference between fetal tissue that doesn't come from aborted babies and that which does.
"Fetal tissue can mean the placenta, it can mean the amniotic fluid, it can mean the part of the umbilical cord removed after birth, it can mean the blood inside the placenta used for stem cells, and it can mean organs and tissues from aborted fetuses," Kling told WND.
"But some people think that when you say 'fetal tissue' it's only the first category while others believe it's only aborted material."
The truth is, it includes both.
"So I think Joy was one who believed it was only the other (first) types of (non-abortive) fetal tissue and so she was very surprised that it encompassed the other," Kling said.
Skirting the truth?
After Barr's case, MOD issued an updated "sensitive issues kit" that gives new talking points to its employees when confronted with these types of questions.
"I think we are clear, and we did re-issue the internal documents, that we give to help them understand, and posted them for our employees," Kling said.
But Barr said it still isn't nearly clear enough.
In those new talking points, it still says that when someone asks, "Do you pay for aborted fetal issue?" the employee is to say, "No."
They key there is the word "pay."
A federal statute makes it illegal to buy aborted fetal tissue but allows for "reasonable" expenses to be reimbursed for storage and shipping.
The March of Dimes definitely does allow its researchers to give "reimbursement" for the storage and transfer of aborted baby body parts.
"By saying, 'We do not support abortion … or abortion-related research,' they are leading you a certain way," Barr said. "But unless the person reading this is familiar with the technical nuances, they would never know the truth of what March of Dimes is involved in.
"March of Dimes does not want to talk about this publicly. It's like when your 8-year-old asks you if Santa Claus is real. You may not lie and say, 'yes,' but you only include information that leads him to believe that is the case. I'm not an 8-year-old child. I'm a 38-year-old employee. I asked a point-blank question, a yes or no question, and I got back a 42-page document."
Kling told me she could not give a figure on the number of aborted babies or a dollar figure for "reimbursements."
"We would have to examine each of the research grant files to determine how much money was spent on these administrative costs; we do not have an estimate of the average or an overall figure," she said in a follow-up email to WND. "Administrative costs may vary by location and the type of tissue required for the research."
Barr said March of Dimes' answer is not only incomplete but misleading in its failure to take full responsibility for its ethical policies.
"You who claim to be all about saving babies and healthy babies have reduced five livers or X number of severed heads of aborted babies to 'administrative costs,'" she said.
On July 26, Barr was told to take a paid leave of absence while the issue was being sorted out to her satisfaction.
But the more she persisted in seeking answers to her main questions, namely whether any MOD funds are used by researchers to procure tissue from abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood, she encountered a stiffening resistance.
Answers to questions 'outside the scope' of her employment
After a spate of back-and-forth emailing with Kling, Barr found herself frustrated.
"For the most part over those two days, I got a lot of copying and pasting out of the sensitive issues kit, until I finally just said, 'Look, as an employee I want an answer here. Do we allow our researchers who receive grant money from us, do we allow them to use that money to reimburse, because purchasing is illegal, for aborted fetal tissue and the answer was, 'Yes, and we will probably continue to do so.'"
In a verbal conversation with her supervisor, she was told that her final three questions were "outside of our scope" and, therefore, could not be answered.
She was eventually called to the state capitol in Columbia for a meeting with her supervisor and the state director. They gave her two choices: Drop her pursuit of the answers she was seeking and go back to work, or resign.
She refused those options, saying she wanted to get the answers and then decide whether her conscience would let her go back to the job she loved.
Barr was abruptly fired on Aug. 4 when she refused to back off from her pursuit of the truth.
March of Dimes raises millions of dollars for research into the causes of premature birth and birth defects, and Barr said she was extremely proud of the work she had done raising money for a cause in which she passionately believed.
"I asked those three questions in several different ways, nobody was coaching me, I never approached an attorney," Barr said. "I was just an employee trying to get answers to my questions, and at first they tried. And then it basically came to a dead stop, and they said you need to stop asking questions and go back to doing your job. You're not getting any more information."
After she was fired, Barr enlisted the help of Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based nonprofit civil rights organization that represents primarily Christians who are discriminated against in the workplace and in business, including those fighting for the sanctity of life.
Thomas More's special counsel, Peter Breen, issued the following statement to WND:
"The stated mission of March of Dimes is, 'a fighting chance for every baby.' That mission is totally inconsistent with experimenting on organs harvested from aborted babies. In the wake of revelations that Planned Parenthood is trafficking in the body parts of aborted babies, the public deserves to know whether the March of Dimes is funding this barbaric practice. Thomas More Society is providing legal counsel for Joy Barr as she works to get to the bottom of March of Dimes' involvement in the baby parts trafficking scandal."
Before she was fired, Barr was making Facebook posts urging her friends to call their congressmen and demand that Congress cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. Her bosses told her to "be careful" with her posts about the Planned Parenthood videos.
In a Facebook message obtained by WND, South Carolina State Development Director for MOD Meredith Goodwin Repik warned Barr, "Be careful with the Planned Parenthood posts." (See screenshot below)
She never heard back on that question.
And from that point on, Barr said it became evident that what she thought was her dream job, fundraising for research that would save the lives of premature babies, was coming to a screeching halt.
"The number one reason I've decided to go public was to get answers to those three questions," she said.
The three questions Barr was asked to put in writing and to which she never received answers are as follows:
- Do our researchers use companies like StemExpress or ABR to procure fetal tissue from abortion clinics?
- If so, what "fees" do our internal review boards allow MOD grant recipients to pay and is there a standard amount? I realize it is illegal to purchase fetal tissue, but there are also no federal guidelines as to what a standard amount of reimbursement is.
- Do we know how much money was used last year, or any year's average, to procure aborted fetal tissue for research?
March of Dimes' dark history
While she's still waiting for answers, Barr discovered a plethora of hidden history involving March of Dimes. It has funded eugenics projects and projects using aborted babies for decades. The most grotesque example dates back to the 1970s.
Performing research on live aborted babies remains a felony crime in America, but that is not the case in other countries. An American doctor traveled to Finland in the early '70s to perform just such an experiment. The horrific details are described in a fully documented article by Randy Engle, head of the U.S. Coalition for Life, in CatholicCulture.org:
"In the early 1970s, the March of Dimes awarded Dr. Peter Adams of Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, a grant of $9,240 to study, 'Fetal Brain Fuel Metabolism at Different Gestational Ages.' Dr. Adams had to travel to Helsinki, Finland, to carry out his experiments which involved severing the heads of live aborted babies [ages 3-5 months gestation] delivered by hysterotomy [a mini-Caesarean-section] and then mounting those heads on perfusion equipment in order to establish whether glucose and D-beta hydroxybutyrate can serve equally as energy sources in human development. Initially, the MOD public relations department denied that their agency had jointly funded the Adams grant with the U.S. National Institute of Health. Unfortunately for the March of Dimes, the U.S. Coalition for Life was sitting on the entire Adams grant package so the MOD decided to cut its losses, shut up and wait for the storm to pass over."
In another case, between 1973 and 1975, the March of Dimes awarded $46,000 in donor funds to Dr. John F.S. Crocker at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for research into renal maldevelopment. Crocker used tiny but intact human embryos from aborted babies between five and 12 weeks of gestation.
Barr believes Planned Parenthood's negotiating for "reimbursement" is a scam to mask what is actually the selling of human remains.
"The undercover videos show employees from Stem Express in the lab directly after the abortion. They put the remains of the baby in a strainer, rinse it off, pick through the remains to find what they want and take it with them. There was zero cost to Planned Parenthood," Barr said. "They didn't pay a penny for that, so what are they being 'reimbursed' for?"
Cecil the Lion gets more concern than aborted babies
Barr said she has many more questions for the abortion industry, including who is providing the incidental services, such as transportation. Are FedEx or any other air and ground transport services involved?
"When Cecil the Lion was killed, two major airlines came out and said they would no longer ship trophy animals that were killed overseas," Barr said. "My question is: Who is shipping the bodies of these aborted babies?"
"Neural tissue is so fragile, they would ship the whole head of a baby because they didn't want someone in a lab making $12 an hour picking through the remains, so they would rather severe the head and ship it that way to a university lab or wherever this research is being conducted," Barr said. "Shouldn't you have to tell somebody when you're shipping the head of a human being somewhere? I can't send $20 cash to my grandmother in the mail, and yet you can ship the severed head of a baby. Are you kidding me?"
While few scientific breakthroughs have been discovered through experiments on abortive fetal tissue, one exception is in the area of vaccines. The Salk vaccine for polio is one example that made use of this type of tissue.
"A lot of vaccines used this because they want to see how human tissue reacts to the medicine," Barr said.
The National Institutes for Health issued a $1.1 million grant for the study of humanized mice, including brains.
"It has been astounding," Barr said. "There are so many dark secrets and the abortion industry has done a good job of not talking about it. Women who've had abortions aren't going to talk about the fact that they had an abortion, and signed these wavers for research. That's not something you would want to talk about, so Planned Parenthood is taking people in a highly personal, emotional crisis and they're just telling them it’s a blob of tissue. They should be required to say, 'You are donating human organs,' but they are not doing that because that humanizes your fetus. And that's not what it is. You are donating your fetus' brain and heart and kidneys. But if they did that, they would have young women saying, 'You're telling me my fetus has a brain, a heart and a spine?'"
'Carly Fiorina is right' about Planned Parenthood
Barr said Carly Fiorina dealt a blow to the abortion industry in her scathing comments against Planned Parenthood during last Wednesday's GOP presidential debate, which reached millions worldwide.
Watch Fiorina's statements at the debate:
"Carly is right. How did we get here? How did our culture get to this point?" she said. "And that's why the abortion industry is so powerful, because they are backed up by the scientific research community. They are the providers for what is necessary or what they deem to be necessary, although they haven't come up with anything much in the way of scientific breakthroughs."
The irony is that some of the unborn babies aborted at Planned Parenthood clinics are further along in their development than the premature babies that March of Dimes says it wants to save.
And herein lies the predicament March of Dimes has put itself in, Barr says.
"MOD can't be neutral on this," Barr said. "You can't say that you are the champions of premature babies on the one hand, and then on the other hand admit you are funding research that uses babies who are older and have been aborted."
When March of Dimes appeared on the widely circulated list of 41 organizations that support Planned Parenthood, the MOD responded with a statement on its Facebook page pointing out that MOD has no relationship with Planned Parenthood on a national level. However, five local chapters did send money to Planned Parenthood clinics that provide prenatal screenings for low-income women and underserved women in rural areas where supposedly no other option was available.
"They can't say, 'We have no relationship with Planned Parenthood,' and then go on to say five of our local chapters have given grants," Barr said. "Planned Parenthood hardly does any prenatal care. Of 100 women, they see 92 have an abortion and the remaining eight either give birth or receive an adoption referral."
In other words, very few women who use Planned Parenthood for prenatal health screenings end up leaving the clinic with a baby in their arms.
In 2013, Planned Parenthood was granted $24,900 for its Richmond, Virginia, chapter office, and MOD has awarded five similar grants to Planned Parenthood since 2007.
"It's just disingenuous, this is not a rural clinic. This in Richmond, Virginia," Barr said. "So what are you talking about, there was not anyone else in Richmond to see for prenatal care other than somewhere where 92 percent leave without a baby? So they say we have no relationship and then say we give local grants to poor and underserved rural areas. So they contradict themselves right there."
The web and tentacles of the abortion industry in America are so far reaching that many suspecting and unsuspecting entities are attached, said Alveda King, a pro-life activist and civil rights champion who is the niece of slain former civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
King, who had two abortions in the past, later became a pro-life activist and heads up the African-American outreach for Priests for Life.
"The March of Dimes with its harvesting and experimenting, and so many other public, private, for profit and nonprofit agencies are entangled," King said. "Some still knowingly or unknowingly are profiting from the grim practices of the abortion machine. Some people still will do anything for money. Some presidential candidates are now bold enough to recant and speak against these horrors. Yes, candidates, business executives and officials and leaders and laypersons of America have often been duped into accepting abortion and its byproducts which include body harvesting of baby body parts and mothers' tissue as the norm. I once believed this. I was blind but now I see."