The Bioethics Defense Fund, a public-interest law firm that advocates on behalf of the protection of human life, will honor local physician Marciela Moffitt with its Witness for Life award Nov. 16.

Dr. Marciela Moffit.

Moffitt is the current president of the Catholic Medical Association and has been a longtime board member for the 1st Way Pregnancy Center in Phoenix.

“Being pro-life is in my blood,” Moffitt said. “My father used to take us as children and we’d be pray the rosary in front of the abortion clinics, pushing my younger sister in the stroller. I have memories of this from age 7 or 8, right when Roe v. Wade came out.”

In 2003, Moffitt spearheaded an effort to revive Phoenix’s Catholic Physicians Guild. The group began meeting monthly at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish and works to communicate and uphold Catholic principles in medicine.

In 2005, Moffitt was the target of a $20 million-dollar lawsuit after she refused to allow residents in her charge to train in abortion techniques at a local abortion clinic.

Moffitt said the techniques that residents needed to learn were the same as those used in the event of miscarriage. Her refusal to sign the affiliation agreement snowballed into a protracted legal battle and ultimately the lawsuit. A nine-hour deposition, Moffitt said, resulted in the videographer having a conversion of heart and working at 1st Way.

Kay Allen, former director of 1st Way, lauded Moffitt for her pro-life leadership, saying that she helped with the clinic’s dramatic improvement in saving lives. After incorporating an ultrasound machine, 1st Way went from a 50 percent success rate to 95 percent. Moffitt still serves on the board for the HOPE ultrasound mobile unit, which travels the Valley providing free ultrasound exams to pregnant women considering abortion.

“You know that when Marci is pushed into a corner for defense of life issues, she will die fighting,” Allen said.  “She lives her faith and breathes truth with every fiber of her being. She is a solid mentor, a great counselor and a fantastic doctor.”

Moffitt said prayer and the sacraments helped her get through the efforts to intimidate her and the extended legal battle.

“You can’t give into fear. It’s diabolical,” Moffitt said. “God is good. I prayed for the grace to forgive and that grace was given.”

The Bioethics Defense Fund’s “Passion for Life” event will honor both Moffitt and Maureen Condic, an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah who is the law firm’s scientific advisor.

Nikolas Nikas, president and general counsel of the Bioethics Defense Fund, said that he and the law firm’s co-founder Dorinda Bordlee chose to honor Moffitt and Condic because “they are professionals in medicine and science who have paid the price for speaking the truth in the public square about human life, the pro-life conscience issues in the [U.S. Health and Human Services Department] mandate, and the public funding of destructive human embryo research.”

 ‘Passion for Life’

Friday, Nov. 16, 2012

6:30 p.m.

Scottsdale Plaza Resort

7200 Scottsdale Road

(602) 751-7234