Jack Willke, Rape Theory Doctor, is Major Anti-Abortion Leader, Embraced in 2007 by Romney
Rachel Tabachnick printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 12:43:00 PM EST
Rep. Todd Akin's medieval and unscientific theory that "legitimate rapes" rarely result in pregnancy has been promoted by John "Jack" Willke, a Catholic octogenarian and former doctor, well known in anti-abortion activism. Willke's resumé includes:
Photobucket-president of the National Right to Life Committee for a decade
-member of the secretive Council for National Policy
-founder of Life Issues Institute in Cincinnati and Ohio Right to Life
-co-founder and current president of the International Right to Life Federation*
He and his wife were on the cover of the Catholic magazine for business leaders, Legatus, in 2009 with the caption "Living Legends: Pro-Life Pioneers Dr. Jack and Barbara Willke," and he was profiled in a regional Catholic publication in March 2012. He has been featured with former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (Reagan administration) in anti-abortion videos marketed across the nation, and Willke is described in Ohio's Heartbeat Bill media as the "Founder of the Right-to-Life Movement."  In 2007, the Mitt Romney campaign welcomed the endorsement of Dr. Willke, describing him as, "an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda."
Romney responded to Willke's endorsement,
"I am proud to have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country," Romney said in a statement at the time. "He knows how important it is to have someone in Washington who will actively promote pro-life policies. Policies that include more than appointing judges who will follow the law but also opposing taxpayer funded abortion and partial birth abortion. I look forward to working with Dr. Willke and welcome him to Romney for President."

Jack Willke may not be a household name, but he is a major figure behind the scenes in the anti-abortion movement and featured in media promoted by activist organizations in states across the nation. He was founder of Ohio Right to Life and president from 1981 to 1983 and 1984 to 1991 of the National Right to Life Committee, which has affiliates in 50 states and over 3000 chapters.

Photobucket He is featured in the video "Pro-Life Doctors Speak Out" with former surgeon general C. Everett Koop and Dr. Bernard Nathanson, described as a "powerful presentation of the basic medical arguments against abortion."

President George H. W. Bush recognized Willke when speaking to the "Rally for Life" in 1990 by phone from the White House.  The transcript is available through the George Bush  Presidential Library.

Well, thank you, Henry Hyde. Thank you for the introduction, and thank you, as well, for your commitment to life. Incidentally, this magnificent rally looks very, very good on television. How do I know? Because I've seen some of it.
I want to pay my respects to our able Vice President, Dan Quayle -- thank him for his commitment -- to other Members of Congress that are there, to Dr. Willke, to Dr. Dobson, and a special greeting to my friend -- Your Eminences Cardinal O'Connor and Cardinal Hickey and others that might be in attendance.
Video of the event is still advertised on anti-abortion activist websites under the name "Rally for Life 90" and as "having been ignored by the media."

Willke is also featured in "The Hidden Holocaust" described as,

"...featuring Christian commentator Charles Colson, Dr. C. Everett Koop, NRLC President Dr. John Willke, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Jeremiah Denton, plus many others. Suitable for junior high age and older."

Willke is the voice behind "Life Jewels," short commentaries for radio that were broadcast over a period of 18 years, according to his Life Issues website, "on over 1,000 stations in English and Spanish, with 50 in Australia, 30 in South Africa and many stations in Brazil."

"Since 1984, hundreds of Christian radio stations (and a few secular ones) have been airing Dr. Willke's five-minute daily commentary. For 12 years Dr. Willke has informed and educated hundreds of millions of listeners to the reality and after-effects of abortion. As a result, people are changing the way they view abortion in our society today.

Nearly 1,000 CDs were sent to Christian radio stations, free of charge, and the response from the radio broadcasting industry has been overwhelmingly positive. Life Jewels has filled a need of sound educational information where there has previously been none. The CD format is very user friendly, and as a result, station personnel are airing the spots multiple times each day, educating a new audience every time."

Willke described the March of Dimes as "a little eugenics Auschwitz," as quoted by Chuck Colson in articles calling for readers to quit contributing to the organization because they have centers for genetic testing for birth defect in utero.

The opening page of the website for the "Heartbeat Bill," being promoted to "end almost every abortion in Ohio," prominently features a link to "Dr. Willke's Hard-Hitting Ad." That links to,

"Open Letter from Dr. Jack Willke Who Founded the Right to Life Movement Forty Years Ago"
The letter begins,
Many of you know me as founder and longtime president of Ohio Right to Life, National Right to Life, and International Right to Life. I am now 87 years old and thought I would not live to see the end of abortion. However, since passage of the Heartbeat Bill (H.B. 125) in the Ohio House, I have renewed hope.

Willke has provided testimony to the House in support of the bill. Next to the letter are the names of the Ohio supporters in addition to the 53 Ohio state representatives co-sponsoring the bill, and request for supporters to contact Ohio senators.  The bill would criminalize an abortion of any fetus with a detectable heartbeat.  Some supporters of "Personhood" bills have claimed that the Heartbeat Bill does not go far enough, because it allows for abortions to save the life of the mother and does not call for murder charges for the mother.

Dr. Willke was near the top of the list of the signers of the letter to the U.S. Congress in 2011 calling on the GOP to refuse to compromise on the defunding of Planned Parenthood.  Willke signed as president of the International Right to Life Federation, following just behind the signer representing the Susan B. Anthony List, Lila Rose, and signers representing the Family Research Council and Concerned Women of America.

Dr. Willke expounded on his theory that rape seldom results in pregnancy in his writings, including a 1999 article in his Life Issues Connector titled "Rape Pregnancies Are Rare."  Willke's claims have been refuted by studies, including those used by the CDC, which show that about 5% of rapes result in pregnancy.

Other politicians have promoted this pseudo-science, including former Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen Freind who told an interviewer in 1988 that the odds of rape resulting in pregnancy was "are one in millions and millions and millions." Freind stated that he got the information from Dr. Fred Mecklenburg. According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mecklenburg was the author of "Abortion and Social Justice" funded by Brent Bozell's Americans United for Life and included conclusions by Mecklenburg taken from tests done by Nazi doctors on women in concentration camps.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article also points out,

The dissemination of Mecklenburg's article may have had more to do with the influence of the doctor's wife, Marjory, an early opponent of abortion rights who was a chairwoman of the National Right to Life Committee, an adviser to Gerald Ford's 1976 presidential campaign and director of the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs in the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
Jack Willke, mentioned briefly at the end of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, was a major figure at the National Right to Life Committee including his terms as president and continues to be very active in anti-abortion activism as president of the International Right to Life Federation.

The 2012 Republican Party platform reportedly calls for a constitutional ban on abortion with no stated exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan co-sponsored Personhood-style legislation with Todd Akin titled the Sanctity of Human Life Act 2009, which declared that human life begins at fertilization and would have given states the right to criminalize all abortions with no exceptions and possibly criminalized some forms of birth control.  

The Romney-Ryan campaign would like for Rep. Todd Akin and his medieval ideas to appear to be an anomaly, but the use of pseudo-science to promote extreme ideology is widespread throughout the party on this and other issues.  It's much easier to criminalize all abortions, even in the case of rape, if you have voters that believe "legitimate rape" does not result in pregnancies.

*Willke recently retired from his position as president of the International Right to Life Federation. He is still listed as president on the website.

Article updated after posting with additional information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to Willke, Romney met with him last year and they "agree on almost everything." Romney's campaign says they do not agree on Willke's rape theory.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9493653/US- election-Mitt-Romney-met-Todd-Akin-doctor-Jack-Willke-during-2012 -campaign.html

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:05:28 PM EST

is their refusal to allow for the life of the mother. I realize that for these people, a woman is nothing but a broodmare, but even mares are given abortions if their (monetarily valuable) lives are in danger. That must mean that women have no value at all! Just like Martin Luther said. Even so, if a woman is denied an abortion at the point of a detectable heartbeat, BOTH the woman and the fetus will die. God's will, eh? Well, then, I think men with cancer have got it because of God's will, and they should not be treated. I am seriously afraid for our country, and especially for young people who have to live with this ... stuff. I'm long past reproduction, but it still chills me to the bone.

by phatkhat on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:54:00 PM EST
a 1500 word essay written by Paul Ryan about abortion.  She said he never mentioned the word "woman" or "mother" in the paper.  Goldberg said, "To him, a woman's claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn't merit even cursory consideration."

And something else I just read...

Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder called Jack Willke a "world hero," when Willke spoke to the Ohio House last year.

http://www.plunderbund.com/2012/08/21/speaker-batchelder-calls-do ctor-who-popularized-rape-doesnt-cause-pregnancy-theory-a-world-h ero/

by Rachel Tabachnick on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:16:17 PM EST

I went to the site and read Ryan's essay to confirm that he does not mention "woman", "mother", or any flowery variant for a woman of reproductive age. However, Ryan did mention a "widow" having rights, as compared with one of his automobiles. Ryan probably believes that the chief characteristic of the "widow" as opposed to "wife" is that the widow is no longer subject to her husband/owner and therefore has some independence, whereas the wife is property without rights (couverture).

As for the men not allowing abortion to save the life of the mother - hey, the men can't divorce, but can get a younger trophy wife if wife #1 is dead.

I could wish for a Haggard-gate, but Ryan doesn't look like he has enough libido in him to stray.

by NancyP on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 06:45:44 PM EST

I somehow missed this.  In an interview with the UK's Telegraph, Dr. Willke is quoted as saying that he has met with Paul Ryan several times.

by Rachel Tabachnick on Fri Aug 24, 2012 at 02:46:20 PM EST

The opening page of the website was as great as the website itself is,i was doing research paper writing services when i found this amazing article,thanks for sharing it with us.

by Richard Guiness on Thu Oct 20, 2016 at 07:37:38 AM EST

We are with you always. How to hack whatsapp and learn all tricks. https://whatsapphack.xyz

by natasha64bradd on Sat May 18, 2019 at 08:32:45 AM EST

We should do something about educating these people as there must be something that they are missing here. You cannot attribute lack of information to being ignorant.

by LayneMarvin on Wed Mar 25, 2020 at 03:33:47 AM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (178 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (98 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (105 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (115 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (79 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (228 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (153 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (54 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (210 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (240 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (87 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (171 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (141 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (146 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (144 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (123 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (185 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (142 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (105 comments)

More Diaries...

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.