Barbara Lyons

Nick and Bonnie, We Are Here for You

Wisconsin Right to Life was recently contacted about a GoFundMe page for Nick and Bonnie, who are asking for funds to travel to Chicago to get an abortion for their 20-week-old unborn child who was diagnosed with a terminal disability.

Wisconsin Right to Life pushed for the passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act for families just like Nick and Bonnie and their unborn child. Because we supported this law for them, we have a special message for them as written below. Please, please help us share this message in hopes that they, and families like them, will see it and receive the hope that the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act provides them.

Nick and Bonnie,

     We at Wisconsin Right to Life want you to know that you are not alone, and that we want to help your family in this difficult time. You deserve to be empowered with all relevant information to your situation and you deserve extensive support.

     We want you to know that facing a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis is incredibly difficult, but that there is hope for your unborn child. First and foremost, we encourage you to seek out a second opinion on your prenatal diagnosis. Not all prenatal diagnoses are correct – one popular test can be incorrect up to 50% of the time in providing a positive result that a child has a disability, as the New England Center for Investigative Reporting discovered. We don’t want you to make an irreversible decision based on faulty information, because you all deserve better.

     Also know that there are many life-affirming options available to you. If you give your child the gift of life, no matter how short your child’s life may be, know that the Salchert family right here in Wisconsin is ready and happy to take in your child and love him or her for as long as time allows. You can learn more at www.safehaven4babies.org. If you choose to give your child the gift of life and wish to be with your child in his or her last moments, Hope After Loss is an organization more than happy to walk with you in your journey of grief and healing, and their website is www.hopeafterloss.org.

     Please know that both you and your unborn child deserve to be spared from the pain of abortion. Your child’s diagnosis will not detract from his or her ability to feel pain from an abortion procedure at 20 weeks post-fertilization age, nor will it spare you from the pain of prematurely losing your little one.

     Know that you don’t have to make this decision immediately. If you need someone to talk to in a non-judgmental and caring environment, call First Care Clinic at 608-259-1605. They are willing to listen and help you, before and after pregnancy, and whether or not you decide to abort.

     We are here for you and your unborn child, and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is here to give your family hope.

-Wisconsin Right to Life

P.S. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 414-778-5780 – we are here for you, and we are happy to listen to you and answer any questions you have.


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Sonya’s Law Delivers – Mother’s Informed, Babies Saved

By Barbara Lyons, Retired Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life

Sonya was a young mother of two – and now pregnant.  She was thinking of having an abortion when she saw a bus sign sponsored by Eyewitness for Life offering a free ultrasound.  In the caring hands of the staff at Eyewitness, Sonya saw her baby on ultrasound and knew he was a life—her baby’s life – and she could not destroy him. 

Sonya was asked by Eyewitness and Wisconsin Right to Life if she would be the face of a proposed law which would require that a woman seeking abortion first see an ultrasound of her child.  After careful consideration, she agreed and Sonya’s Law was born.

Wisconsin Right to Life assembled a team of pro-life doctors, ultrasound technicians, and Pregnancy Help Center directors to ensure that everything in the proposed law was medically sound and protective of women and children.   Sen. Mary Lazich and Rep. Pat Strachota agreed to author the law.

It wasn’t easy for Sonya – opponents of the law spouted on social media that she was a “plant,” that she didn’t exist.   The day of public hearings was long and tense as pro-abortion legislators grilled Sonya and others who testified in favor.   Then came lengthy debates in the Senate and Assembly before the measure passed.

This was not a popular measure for legislators, as ultrasound laws in other states were distorted and used as a whipping post against those who supported them.  Governor Walker hung tough in the face of such adversity and signed Sonya’s Law which went into effect in July 2013.

The lifesaving benefits of Sonya’s Law are now evident with the release of the 2014 Wisconsin abortion numbers showing a 10% decrease.   Not every mother who saw her baby on ultrasound decided against abortion, but many did.   Words cannot express the gratitude felt for the courage of Sonya and the team of people who made Sonya’s Law a reality.  It certainly delivered its promise of mothers informed and babies saved.


Watch the video of Sonya’s Story


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Vermont Legislative Leaders Who Pushed for Legalization of Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Lose in 2014 Election

It has not been widely published, but Vermont proponents of the law to allow doctor-prescribed suicide (Act 39) were almost defeated or soundly defeated in the November 2014 election.

• Incumbent Governor Peter Shumlin made passage of the Vermont law to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide one of his four top priorities when he ran for Governor in 2012. Act 39 was enacted in 2013 with his strong support. In his 2014 re-election race, Shumlin was expected to easily defeat his Republican opponent — a political unknown who got a late start, had little funding and had never run for public office. Shumlin won by just a few thousand votes and appears unlikely to remain as Chair of the Democrat Governors Association.

• Representative Linda Waite-Simpson led the fight in the House for passage of Act 39, publicly stating she was “doing this for my Dad who was a member of the Hemlock Society.” Compassion and Choices, the national leader pushing for legalization of euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide, hired Waite-Simpson as its Executive Director while she continued to keep her House seat. Her leadership on Act 39 was a campaign issue and Waite-Simpson came in 4th in a two-seat district.

• Representative Cindy Weed was the only member in her county to vote in favor of Act 39 and her vote was also a campaign issue. Weed lost 55% to 45% to an opponent of Act 39.

• The Patient Choices Vermont PAC attempted to defeat sitting Vermont Lt. Governor, Phil Scott, who broke two tie votes against Act 39 in the Senate. Scott delivered a crushing defeat to his opponent.

We are buoyed by these election results which send a strong signal that support for killing a patient rather than caring for them is not a winning issue with the public, even in a state like Vermont. And, it shouldn’t be. Public education is key to informing the public that we must maintain the goal of caring for a patient until his or her natural death, rather than allowing death to occur by lethal ingestion of drugs.


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Chelsea Shields Named Legislative/PAC Director

Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director Heather Weininger has announced the hiring of Chelsea Shields as the Legislative/PAC Director effective November 10, 2014.

Chelsea Shields joined Wisconsin Right to Life as the Communications Assistant in August 2014 after her time as the Director of the National Right to Life Academy in Washington, D.C.  Chelsea is a graduate of Carthage College with a degree in Political Science.

“Chelsea has been an active member of Wisconsin Right to Life since she was a teenager,” commented Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  “Her knowledge of the pro-life issues and her past experience working on campaigns and on legislation make her a great fit for Wisconsin Right to Life’s Legislative/PAC Director position,” continued Weininger.

The Legislative/PAC Director is responsible for working on right-to-life legislation at the state and national level, as well as ensuring right-to-life candidates are elected to office.

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New Jersey Assembly’s Move to Legalize Doctor-Prescribed Suicide

“Wisconsin Right to Life is saddened to hear that the New Jersey Assembly voted yesterday to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide,” stated Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.  “This is an abandonment of some of the most vulnerable members of our society who deserve our care and support.”  

The New Jersey Assembly passed, 41-31, the so-called “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” which is now on its way to the state Senate. Most states prohibit doctor-prescribed suicide, yet for those states who do have “Aid in Dying” Laws, they are filled with ineffectual “safeguards” that provide little to no protection for those suffering from depression and other clinically diagnosable mental disorders while seeking doctor-prescribed suicide. Additionally, virtually every major disability rights organization has taken a stance against laws like these, which puts pressure on those perceived as a “burden” on society to choose doctor-prescribed suicide.

“We know that efforts like this to normalize suicide do not happen in a bubble, and that efforts to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide pose a threat not only to vulnerable people, but also to society as a whole,” continued Weininger.  “We now rely on New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie to uphold his promise to veto this dangerous law.”

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Major Advance Using Ethical Stem Cells

Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a Madison, Wisconsin-based company, has been award a $1.2 million contract from the National Eye Institute to engineer stem cells acquired ethically for potential treatment of macular degeneration.

The Eye Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, will send blood and tissue to CDI from 10 patients who have macular degeneration.   According to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, “… CDI will convert the blood or tissue into stem cells, then program them to become new retinal cells of the type damaged in macular degeneration.”  This contract represents CDI’s first venture into making cells for therapeutic use.

“Scientists at the company will, in essence, rewind the cells to create the equivalent of embryonic stem cells.   They will then nudge the cells forward in the developmental process to become retinal pigment epithelial cells…The tissue will be transplanted to the back of the eye behind the retina,” according to the article.  

Because a patient’s own cells will be programmed, the risk of rejection will be significantly reduced.  The process will take several years to be accomplished.

This type of therapeutic use of stem cells using ethical means is exactly what was envisioned when scientists in Madison and Japan discovered the iPS cells in 2007.  It is a science that can be embraced by everyone since no one has to die for the cells to be acquired. 



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Switzerland “Suicide Tourism” Victims Have Treatable Conditions

They flock to Switzerland from all over the world, where groups like Dignitas arrange for their suicides to be assisted.   Technically, assisting suicide is illegal, but Swiss authorities only punish those who have “selfish” motives.  In practice, this means there are essentially no restrictions on suicides which are facilitated.

Author Penny Sarchet reports in her article in the New Scientist magazine that “Non-fatal diseases increasingly drive assisted suicide.”   “Neurological disease, only some of which are fatal, were given as the reason for 57 per cent of assisted suicides for the years 2008-to 2012….Rheumatic or connective tissue diseases, generally considered non-fatal …..accounted for 25 percent of cases in the new study….Cancer….was cited in 37 percent of cases …., a decrease of 10 per cent.”  

As observed from government reports from Oregon and Washington, this trend is also found in the United States.   Loss of autonomy and dignity rank as the highest reasons for requesting assistance with suicide in Washington State. 

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Confirmation: Obamacare is Riddled with Abortion Coverage

Confirmation of what we ALWAYS knew — that Obamacare would be a vehicle for widespread government funding of abortion coverage.   Here’s the history.   Since the late 1970s, the Congress has enacted the Hyde and other amendments to ensure that taxpayers were not funding abortions or abortion coverage.  Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved by these provisions.

Enter Obamacare.   During the long, drawn-out debate, we insisted over and over that premiums subsidized by the government would include abortion coverage.   Remember the mighty pro-life Democrats who held out and held out for an amendment that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion coverage?   Remember their last minute “cave” when President Obama promised to sign an Executive Order which would would prohibit such abortion funding by decree with no legal substance?   An Executive Order that everyone knew was a sham? 

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today confirming that federally subsidized abortion coverage would become a widespread feature of Obamacare.  The report found that more than one thousand federally subsidized exchange plans currently cover elective abortion.

What is desperately needed to reverse this action is for the U.S. Senate to follow the lead of the House and enact the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act.

Congrats to President Obama, as his fondest dream has been realized.  He managed to hoodwink members of his own party to memorialize his position as the most pro-abortion President ever.

Barbara Lyons



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Former Nurse Finally Convicted for Assisting a Suicide

It sounds like a bizarre scene out of a horror movie — a “nurse” who lurks on the Internet, urging people to commit suicide and then watching the act on web cam.  Sadly, the story is true, and William Francis Melchert-Dinkel from Minnesota has finally been convicted of assisting the suicide of an English man and of attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman.

Melchert-Dinkel admits that he posed as a depressed female nurse in online chat rooms where he entered into suicide pacts with his victims.  Using his warped sense of “compassion,” he urged victims to turn on their web cams when committing suicide so they would not be alone.  This man is a monster, preying on vulnerable people seeking companionship and help. 

Mark Drybrough of Coventry, England was convinced to hang himself in 2005.  An 18-year-old, Nadia Kajouji of Canada, jump;ed into a frozen river and drowned in 2008.   Melchert-Dinkel gave his victims instructions on how to hang themselves.  It is believed he had contact with 50 other suicidal persons online. 

Melchert-Dinkel was initially convicted of assisted suicide under Minnesota law.  The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that “advising” or “encouraging” suicide is protected speech under the First Amendment.  The case was remanded to a lower court where he was finally convicted of assisting a suicide.

Melchert-Dinkel will be sentenced on October 15.   He plans to appeal his conviction.



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“The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion”

Can’t find a standing abortion clinic?  No problem, as various alternatives to the standard brick and mortar abortion clinics in the United States are being used and promoted.  Emily Bazelon wrote in last week’s New York Times that the abortion industry is transitioning to new models to provide abortions which include a boat anchored in international waters off Dublin, Ireland; border town flea markets in Texas; a businessman in India; and a storefront in rural Iowa. 

Referred to as D-I-Y (do-it-yourself) abortions, Bazelon discusses the details of this plan in the article titled “The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion.”  It is largely a profile piece on Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch general-practice physician who launched an “Abortion Ship” and sailed it to the coast of Ireland in 2001 stocked with abortion pills (RU 486 and the prostaglandin misoprostol).  The plan was to have women ferried out to the ship for their abortion pills.  Rebuked by Ireland, Gomperts tried Poland and later, Portugal.   It is unclear whether any abortions were performed on the “Abortion Ship” but she received sensational publicity. 

Gomperts’s program set up hotlines in countries like Chile, Argentina, Peru, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Morocco where abortion is not legal, telling women where they could get abortion pills and how to self-abort.  She then established a website where women from all over the world could request an abortion and have pills shipped from a manufacturer in India. 

Although Gomperts targeted countries where abortion is not legal, her radical ideas have caught the attention of pro-abortion activists in the United States.  They see this as an opportunity to provide access abortion pills to keep abortion available even when clinics close their doors.

Randy O’Bannon, Education Director for the National Right to Life Committee, notes the progression:  “From a multi-step, highly supervised regimen that was recommended by the FDA when it approved use of the chemical abortifacients RU 486/prostaglandin combination in September of 2000; to fewer trips to the abortionist’s office (not coming back to take the prostaglandin in his office); to so-called ‘webcam-abortions’ where the abortionist never even sees the woman in person; to advertising how a woman can avoid a physician’s involvement all together.” 

Are prescriptions for over-the-counter abortions the next step for DIY abortions?  Two abortion activists are already arguing for it, calling it Plan C.  They hope to mimic the success of Plan B which a federal judge said had to be made available to women over the counter to women of all ages. 

O’Bannon asks what will happen to women who do DIY abortions?  Who will be there when they suffer the complications of the abortion drugs.  Who will handle their grief?  Will the mothers be abandoned in the same way the child has? 

It is alarming to see how far the abortion activists will go to help a woman get rid of her child.


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