January 17, 2019 Press Release

March for Life Claims It’s “Pro-Science,” Yet Research From Equity Forward Proves Otherwise

M4L speakers include anti-abortion advocates who demanded HHS slash funding for lifesaving research, another who claims birth control causes cancer

01.17.19 – Despite efforts to rebrand their extreme and out-of-touch anti-abortion agenda as “pro-science,” the speakers at tomorrow’s annual March for Life hold views and advocate for policies that fly in the face of medical and scientific experts. According to research from Equity Forward, one speaker has lied under oath in front of Congress about the need for research using fetal tissue while another peddles misinformation about birth control causing cancer.

In fact, numerous scientists just pushed back against March for Life’s claim that it stands with science, particularly since the anti-abortion lobby, including March for Life, has been pressuring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to cancel nearly $100 million in lifesaving research for diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, HIV, Zika and Autism because the research relies on tissue a woman donates after she has an abortion.

“As March for Life tries to claim the mantle of ‘pro-science,’ HHS Secretary Alex Azar continues to pander to its unfounded views, giving an audience to its far-right ideology and installing extremists at top levels of his agency,” said Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward.  

“Alex Azar promised us that his agency would be guided by evidence and science, yet he’s taking his cues from hardliners in the anti-abortion lobby who ignore science in order to advance their extreme agenda.

“There’s no way to dance around it: the speakers at and sponsors of tomorrow’s March for Life are trying to hijack HHS with their hardline views that ignore evidence and will put millions of people’s lives and well-being at risk.”

Earlier this month, Equity Forward launched a new “Put People Before Politics” campaign calling on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar not to cut millions of dollars in lifesaving research at the behest of the anti-abortion lobby.  HHS has already shut down a study that could potentially find a cure for HIV because the research relies on cells derived from fetal tissue. The assault on this type of research comes a little over two months after Secretary Azar — bowing to pressure from the anti-abortion lobby — abruptly cancelled a long-standing contract with a fetal tissue provider while also announcing “a comprehensive review” of all fetal tissue research and procurement. This flies in the face of the scientific community: a coalition of 64 research institutions and medical organizations recently submitted a letter urging Congress to protect this lifesaving research.