John C. Willke

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John C. Willke (born 1925) is an American author, and anti-abortion activist and retired physician. Along with his wife Barbara, he is the author of a number of books on abortion and human sexuality. Willke was a prominent obstetrician in Cincinnati, Ohio, but ceased practicing medicine in 1988 in order to devote himself full-time to the anti-abortion movement.[1] He is the founder of several anti-abortion advocacy groups, including National Right to Life, and the most prominent proponent of the discredited concept that women's bodies can prevent conception during rape.[1] Willke is a renowned figure in the U.S. anti-abortion movement, although his medical claims about rape and pregnancy are regarded as "pure fiction" by physicians.[1]

Views on rape and pregnancy[edit]

Willke is a proponent of the discredited concept that female rape victims have physiologic defenses against pregnancy, and thus that women rarely become pregnant after a sexual assault. Willke wrote in Christian Life Resources in 1999: "There's no greater emotional trauma that can be experienced by a woman than an assault rape. This can radically upset her possibility of ovulation, fertilization, implantation and even nurturing of a pregnancy", claiming that sexual assaults resulted in only about four pregnancies per state per year.[1][2] A study published in 1996 by the Medical University of South Carolina estimated that there are in fact approximately 32,000 pregnancies from rape in the United States each year, a pregnancy rate of 5% per rape among victims of reproductive age.[3]

In an interview on August 20, 2012, following the Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy, Willke said: "This is a traumatic thing—she's, shall we say, she’s uptight. She is frightened, tight, and so on. And sperm, if deposited in her vagina, are less likely to be able to fertilize. The tubes are spastic." Willke's assertions were dismissed as false and outlandish by experts in obstetrics and gynecology.[4][5][6] The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated that rape victims had no control over whether they became pregnant, adding that "to suggest otherwise contradicts basic biological truths".[6] Michael Greene, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive health at Harvard Medical School, dismissed Willke's claims by saying: "There are no words for this—it is just nuts."[4]

Links with Republican party[edit]

Mitt Romney's 2007 campaign embraced Willke as "an important surrogate for Governor Romney's pro-life and pro-family agenda",[7] and Romney expressed his pride to "have the support of a man who has meant so much to the pro-life movement in our country."[8]

During the Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy in August 2012, Willke wrote a letter to Todd Akin in which he stated, "It's time for Republican leaders to rise to the level of Rep. Akin's principle and courage and stand with him and the Republican platform that stands for the protection of every human life."[9] Dr Willkie told the Washington bureau of the The Daily Telegraph that he met Romney during the latter's 2012 campaign, when Romney had praised him: "He told me 'thank you for your support – we agree on almost everything, and if I am elected President I will make some major pro-life pronouncements'." [10]

Books and booklets[edit]

  • Handbook on Abortion - First published in 1971, the Handbook on Abortion is an anti-abortion booklet written and published by Willke and his wife. The booklet has been widely distributed, republished, and translated, and has been influential in shaping pro-life thought, according to journalist Linda Greenhouse.[11]
  • Abortion and Slavery: History Repeats ISBN 978-0685087824
  • How to Teach Children the Wonder of Sex: a guide for parents and teachers ISBN 978-0910728171
  • Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present ISBN 978-0910728225
  • Abortion, Questions and Answers: Why Can’t We Love Them Both ISBN 978-0318351650

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d DeMillo, Andrew (August 24, 2012). "US doctor helps perpetuate rape pregnancy ideas". Associated Press. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ Willke, John (April 1999). "Rape Pregnancies Are Rare". Life Issues Connector. Christian Life Resources. 
  3. ^ Holmes, MM; Resnick, HS; Kilpatrick, DG; Best, CL (August 1996). "Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women.". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 175 (2): 320–324. doi:10.1016/S0002-9378(96)70141-2. PMID 8765248. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Health Experts Dismiss Assertions on Rape". The New York Times. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  5. ^ Dellorto, Danielle (August 22, 2012). "Experts: Rape does not lower odds of pregnancy". CNN. 
  6. ^ a b Gardner, Amanda (August 21, 2012). "No Truth to Akin's Claim That Rape Hinders Pregnancy, Experts Say". U.S. News & World Report. 
  7. ^ Lee, Kristen (2012-08-21). "Pro-life doctor John Willke, linked to Akin’s ‘forcible rape’ claims, endorsed Romney in 2007". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-08-21. 
  8. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20071227112415/http:/www.mittromney.com/News/Press-Releases/Endorsement_Willke
  9. ^ Mascaro, Lisa; Kim Geiger (21 Augg 2012). "campaign 2012 Latest News / Battleground States / Fundraising / Super PAC Spending / Political Cartoons / Opinion Todd Akin touts support from crusader who espoused theories on rape". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  10. ^ Jon Swaine, August 22, 2012, The Daily Telegraph, US election: Mitt Romney met Todd Akin doctor Jack Willke during 2012 campaign
  11. ^ "The Rhetoric That Shaped The Abortion Debate". National Public Radio. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 

External links[edit]