Mike Froncek

The Election in the Rear View Mirror

By Heather Weininger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Right to Life

It took me a while to digest the results of last Tuesday and compile my thoughts that I wanted to share with others.

On Tuesday, November 6th the pro-life movement was dealt a set-back, but, fortunately, it was not an end-of-the world scenario.

I have to admit, this one was quite personal to me. In 2010, my husband was elected to his first term in the Wisconsin State Assembly. It was a time when we knew there were going to be many bold changes coming our way. And, big bold changes did come to Wisconsin. Also during this time, we were able to pass even more protections for the unborn.

When I first heard that our great pro-life Governor Scott Walker was in a tight race, I thought to myself how could people of the State of Wisconsin want to return to a time of deficits while taxpayer dollars were being used to fund abortions? How could people in Wisconsin want someone in office who doesn’t protect the most vulnerable?

Well, now we are faced with a time when we will not have a Governor who will sign into law pro-life legislation, nor will we have a Lt. Governor who speaks on behalf of the unborn, or and an Attorney General who will stand up for life in the courts. Let’s be real, this is a tough realization, but one that we need to get past in order to move forward.

While we are now going to have four years of someone who does not believe in the sanctity of life, it is reassuring to know that we have the State Senate and Assembly in control of pro-life legislators. I see these coming four years as a time during which we will educate Wisconsinites on the devastation caused by abortion and the need to protect the most vulnerable at all stages of life.

Our work at Wisconsin Right to Life will not change. We will continue to introduce legislation to protect the unborn, we will continue to educate the youth in our state about life, we will continue to work to change hearts and minds to favor life.

We cannot let one election cycle hold us down for too long. There is far too much work to be done to protect unborn babies and all vulnerable individuals from the moment of conception until natural death. Stay tuned to learn the specifics of what we will be working on in 2019.

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The Single Issue Voter

By Heather Weininger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Right to Life

In this highly contested and heated season of elections, it is more important than ever to focus in on why you are voting for the person you are voting for.

For me, there is simply one issue that determines who I’m voting for and why.

I would guess that most of you who are reading this will be able to easily guess what my issue is — yes, it’s the issue of life. Without the most basic human right, life, none of the other fundamental ideas of voting really matter.

Given the opportunity to vote for a candidate who stands firm against the killing of unborn babies at any stage, protecting the most vulnerable throughout any stage of life and ensuring assisted suicide does not become legal throughout the country are all reasons I would vote for a candidate.

According to most political surveys and polling information, it seems that I should be voting for a candidate who doesn’t value these as top priorities. I’m female, Caucasian, college educated, wife, mom and live in the suburbs. I am the classic demographic who in all rights should be voting for the progressive movement.

But, they are missing out on the key issue for me — life. They care more about giving a woman a “choice” about her body than they do in protecting innocent human life. That key issue that is missing is the very reason each of us needs to remain steadfast in being a single issue voter.

As you head to the polls tomorrow to support your candidates be sure to know who is the candidate who stands for life. If we do not stand up now and vote for the candidates who put life as a priority, then we might as well stay home on election day. The value of life is what makes our country continue to function. It’s time to end giving federal dollars to organizations that perform abortions, it’s time to end the painful dismemberment of unborn babies, and it’s time to ensure we have a US Senator who will support U.S. Supreme Court Justices who will work to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Keep the most basic human right — life — as your top priority when you vote. Do not fall victim to what you should be voting for. Be the person who stands up to protect others from the moment of conception until natural death. Use your voice by going to the voting booth tomorrow and vote pro-life.

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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Judge Brett Kavanaugh to Full Senate Vote

On Friday, September 28, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to move the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate floor for a vote. Just before the vote, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) bowed to Democrat concerns, indicating he will urge that the Senate hold off on its vote (for a week or less) until the FBI has time to further investigate the various charges brought forth during the hearing. By late Friday afternoon, Republican leaders in the Senate agreed to seek an additional FBI background investigation and before the end of the day, President Trump issued the order triggering it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings had been roiled by a series of lurid, last-minute, uncorroborated allegations of criminal misconduct against Kavanaugh which were purported to have occurred during his high school and college years. The testimony of an alleged Kavanaugh victim, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, put a credible and sympathetic face on the allegations.

In the end, Kavanaugh vigorously denied all the charges leveled against him and effectively defended his honor and integrity and potentially saved his nomination. Holding back tears and anger, Kavanaugh told Democrats on the committee that they were mounting a “coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and destroy my family,” and called his confirmation process a “national disgrace.” He vehemently told the committee, “I am innocent of this charge.”

The hyper-partisanship on display during the last day of hearings was so intense that both sides were visibly and verbally angry with each other. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called out Democratic senators, saying, “this is the most unethical sham [I’ve seen] since I’ve been in politics . . . Boy, you all want power. I hope you never get it,” Graham said. “I hope the American people can see through this sham.”

In a July press release, Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life stated, “D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent jurist, who understands that the role of judiciary is to interpret the law, not make the law . . . Unfortunately, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has already signaled that she would rather cave to pressure from the abortion lobby rather than give Judge Kavanaugh due consideration based upon his experience and qualifications . . . Senator Baldwin will be held accountable for her actions during this confirmation process by Wisconsin Right to Life and our grassroots supporters.”

Last Friday’s frenzied, blistering and impassioned final day of hearings is only the first stop along the way to Kavanaugh’s seat on the high court. The next involves at least one more week of delay: Waiting on the FBI to conduct interviews and produce a report. Perhaps after that, the Kavanaugh nomination will finally receive a vote by the full Senate. And God-willing, he will be confirmed.

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Remembering 9/11 Seventeen Years Later

Today, Tuesday, September 11, 2018, we recall the tragedy of lives lost during the 9-11 terrorist attacks, seventeen years ago. In a 2001 Wisconsin Right to Life newsletter, then executive director Barbara Lyons wrote about the loss of precious human life.

Life in the Shadow of September 11
As Americans, all of us have been deeply transformed by the events of September 11, 2001. We have experienced horror, anger, disbelief, and a profound sadness at the terrible loss of life. We have shed tears for people we will never know. I am still overwhelmed by the enormity of the tragedy. And I wonder what must happen before we are able to regain some sense of security.

As a country and as individuals, when we stand in the shadow of life-altering events, we have a need to focus inward. We try to understand the inexplicable and search for new meaning to our lives. As an organization, Wisconsin Right to Life has also searched for that deeper sense of purpose. What does September 11 mean to our mission and to our future?

First and foremost, we have newfound recognition of the goodness and truth of our prolife work. This is because our work teaches that each individual human life has inherent worth. We see with new eyes the beauty of human potential, the wonder of selfless bravery, and the immense void that remains when the uniqueness of an individual person is swept away.

Irrevocably lost were husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, grandparents, sons, daughters, and even a few children. Left behind were those who will grieve the loss of each person for eternity, each with a profoundly moving and touching personal story. Although the special individuals who died can never be duplicated, we can find strength and purpose in the renewal and continuation of life through the process of creation and birth.

Many have commented on the remarkable courage of the firefighters who ran into those burning buildings while everyone else was trying to leave. Why would someone do this? Why would they risk their lives in such a hellish scenario to save someone they didn’t even know? But, isn’t risking our own life to save another the most noble thing we can do?

While our pro-life work does not involve risking our lives, it does entail serious sacrifice, be it emotional or financial, so that a person we may never know can live. Only God knows those who are alive today because of your dedication to the pro-life cause through your involvement in Wisconsin Right to Life.

We lost over 4,500 precious human beings in one day on September 11. We lose almost 3,300 precious unborn lives to abortion each day. The tragedy of abortion does not diminish the tragedy of September 11. Both encompass helpless, innocent victims, trapped in a building, airplane or their mothers’ wombs, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both are woven together to teach the message that life should not to be taken for granted, and is always worth fighting for — even for people we will never know.


The above originally appeared in the Winter 2001-2002 issue of Life Without Limits magazine. The piece was reproduced here in the form it takes in the recently released 50th Anniversary book published by Wisconsin Right to Life titled, Fifty Years of Saving Lives. This 224-page keepsake edition is available for $19.99 in our online store, which can be found here: http://www.wisconsinrighttolife.org/shop/

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Sunday September 9 is Wisconsin Right to Life Day all across our State!


Your local congregation, church group or organization can help celebrate the 50 years of life-saving work of Wisconsin Right to Life, by observing Wisconsin Right to Life Day, next Sunday, September 9th, 2018.

Downloadable Church Bulletin Insert for Observance of Wisconsin Right to Life Day

Download the Church Bulletin Insert here (PDF).

Learn more about the planned observation of Wisconsin Right to Life Day on Sunday September 9, 2018 in Wisconsin churches here: WRTL.org/WRTLday

At Wisconsin Right to Life’s 50th Anniversary Gala in Milwaukee on April 13, 2018, Wisconsin’s pro-life Governor, Scott Walker, presented Executive Director Heather Weininger with a framed proclamation declaring Sunday, September 9, 2018, as Wisconsin Right to Life Day in our state.

In part, the proclamation reads:

“WHEREAS, 50 years have elapsed since Wisconsin Right to Life was originally formed under the name Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for the Unborn on September 9, 1968; and WHEREAS, Wisconsin Right to Life has established itself as the preeminent right-to-life organization in Wisconsin and for the last 50 years has been saving lives by changing hearts and minds to favor life . . . NOW, THEREFORE, I, Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 9, 2018, as WISCONSIN RIGHT TO LIFE DAY throughout the State of Wisconsin, and I commend this observance to all of our citizens.”

Our thanks to Gov. Walker for honoring our organization in this very special way!

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Gov. Walker Proclaims Wisconsin Right to Life Day

Speaking at Wisconsin Right to Life’s 50th Anniversary Gala in Milwaukee on April 13, 2018, Wisconsin’s pro-life Governor, Scott Walker, presented Executive Director Heather Weininger with a framed proclamation declaring Sunday, September 9, 2018, as Wisconsin Right to Life Day in our state.

In part, the proclamation reads:

“WHEREAS, 50 years have elapsed since Wisconsin Right to Life was originally formed under the name Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for the Unborn on September 9, 1968; and WHEREAS, Wisconsin Right to Life has established itself as the preeminent right-to-life organization in Wisconsin and for the last 50 years has been saving lives by changing hearts and minds to favor life . . . NOW, THEREFORE, I, Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 9, 2018, as WISCONSIN RIGHT TO LIFE DAY throughout the State of Wisconsin, and I commend this observance to all of our citizens.”

Our thanks to Gov. Walker for honoring our organization in this very special way!

Learn more about the planned observation of Wisconsin Right to Life Day on Sunday, September 9, 2018, in Wisconsin churches here:

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Two Towering Figures in Right-to-Life Movement Called Home to God

Brother Paul O'Donnell and Dr. John (Jack) Willke

Winston Churchill’s observation that “good and great are seldom in the same man” found exception in two exceptional men who passed away this last weekend.  Brother Paul O’Donnell and Dr. John (Jack) Willke both brought the pro-life movement to new heights through their full lives of love and devoted effort. 

Brother Paul O’Donnell

“One of the sweetest, kindest men I have ever known [has] passed,” wrote Jacki Ragan of National Right to Life. “I can’t imagine that it was his time but God knows these things, not me. Brother Paul was only 55 years old. He was the Superior at the Franciscan Brothers of Peace, a stalwart advocate for life throughout its spectrum, and he was my friend – for well over 25 years. He was also one of my heroes.”

“Brother Paul was a founder of the Pro-Life Action Ministries and served with them still. He was a board member of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, and a valiant spokesperson for life.”

“What an honor and privilege it was to see him in action, taking a stand for the truth…for life.”

Writing about his passing, Wisconsin Right to Life’s Barbara Lyons stated, “Brother Paul was a constant source of support to the Schindler family throughout the very public and painful ordeal of Terri Schindler Schiavo’s death from starvation and dehydration 10 years ago.  He is a wonderful friend of Wisconsin Right to Life and has presented at our teen camps and conferences.   A tower of strength with a gentle soul, he inspired so many.   May he deservedly rest in peace, tightly in the loving arms of his heavenly Father.”

Dr. John Willke

Cincinnati Right to Life (founded by Dr. John Willke and his wife Barbara) tells of his passing.

The pro-life movement worldwide mourns the loss of Dr. John Willke, who slipped quietly from this earth Friday evening, February 20, 2015, just two months short of his 90th birthday. His beloved wife, Barbara, preceded him in death April 2013–a soul mate he missed deeply.

“Dr. Willke was the leading statesman addressing the second civil rights struggle of our nation,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “He met with presidents and popes and crossed the globe, but his passion was always to ensure the right to life for helpless unborn children and other vulnerable people.”

Dr. Willke was a physician, author, lecturer, TV and radio personality, and expert in human sexuality. Until recently, he served as president of the national Life Issues Institute, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served for ten years as president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee, and helped found the International Right to Life Federation.

Dr. and Mrs. Willke co-authored Abortion, Questions and Answers: Why Can’t We Love Them BothHandbook on Abortion; Abortion and Slavery, History RepeatsAssisted Suicide & Euthanasia, Past & Present; plus six other books on human sexuality, videos, brochures, and more. Their works have been translated in over 30 languages worldwide.

Just last month, Dr. and Mrs. Willke’s autobiography Abortion and the Pro-Life Movement: An Inside View was released, chronicling the life of this legendary couple. They were devoted to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and in all things strengthened by their strong Catholic faith.

Barbara Lyons said of Dr. Willke, “Back in the olden days when Wisconsin Right to Life was a fledgling upstart, we were fighting somewhat blind.  Ultrasonography was a vision of scientists, not a reality.  How were we supposed to convince people there was a real baby in the womb, a baby in need of protection?”

“Dr. Willke and his wife, Barbara, both penultimate educators, came up with a slide presentation featuring the few pictures we had of unborn babies.   They wrote books about fetal development and abortion and urged us all to work for the mother as well as the baby.  We used their materials to educate millions.  Many an old-timer can state that the Willke slide presentation brought them into the pro-life movement.”

“Now Jack has joined his wife Barbara in perfect peace in heaven, fulfilled in knowing the powerful impact they had on earth.  Rest safely, Jack, in the arms of your Father and in the company of all of the pro-life heroes who preceded you.   You will be missed.”

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A Fitting Tribute – The Barbara Lyons Legacy

Last Friday’s tribute event celebrating Barbara Lyons’ 40 years of life-saving work with Wisconsin Right to Life was a night to remember.  It had all the elements of a great celebration.  

Those gathered for the standing-room-only program were treated to beautifully sung music, moments of laughter and touching words of tribute for Barbara’s work via video from friends coast-to-coast. A framed apostolic blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis was presented to Barbara. Numerous in-person guest speakers included newly re-elected Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch who each gave moving messages thanking Barbara for her work and encouraging all right-to-life supporters to carry on that work into the future. 

Governor Walker said Barbara Lyons embodies a wonderful combination of gifts, especially tenacity and compassion. He went on to say to Barbara, “The best testimony to your leadership over the past four decades isn’t just the remarkable number of people who love you in this room and others that they represent, its the fact that today, our neighbors, sometimes people we might work with, friends, co-workers, people we meet around the state, every once in a while we run into someone — we don’t know, but — they are alive because of your work. There are untold numbers of people among us today walking in this state who would not be alive without [your efforts], and that is your greatest legacy of all.” 

In addition to his kind remarks, to rousing applause, Governor Walker declared Monday, November 10, 2014 as Barbara Lyons Day in the great State of Wisconsin. 

“Barbara,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said, “you have taught a generation of Wisconsinites to love generously and give freely. You taught that to my little [daughter] Violet, and you taught that to a room full of admirers here tonight. And you will teach it as your legacy for many, many, many years to come.” 

President of the Wisconsin Right to Life Board of Directors, Michelle Farrow presented Barbara with the first-ever Wisconsin Right to Life Lifetime Achievement Award, saying, “Barbara, tonight I want to make you a promise — a promise from all of us — Wisconsin Right to Life is going to continue to build upon the strong foundation that you have formed. You are in our hearts and minds. And when we grapple with issues, whether they are budget, legislative or policy, I guarantee you, we are going to ask, what would Barbara Lyons do?” 

Upon accepting the award, Barbara said, “Words cannot express how grateful I am for this wonderful evening, for my family, for our staff, for our Board of Directors, for our Chapters leaders, for our government officials, for everyone here — it’s just an honor and a privilege to be associated with all of you.” 

“I think the Governor said it best,” Barbara continued, “there can be no reward greater than knowing that there are people that walk, laugh, and dream and have a future because they have been touched in some way by our work.  I thank each and every one of you here tonight. God bless you!” 

A beautiful citation from the Wisconsin State Senate presented by Senate President Mary Lazich lauded Barbara’s efforts to save lives through Wisconsin Right to Life’s public policy efforts bringing about multiple pieces of life-saving legislation; the educational outreach of the Veritas Society media campaign; teen and college training programs and development of the organizations’ state-wide grass-roots efforts. 

The evening was a fitting tribute for this woman of faith and fortitude, focusing on more than the past but the future as well.  In her closing remarks for those gathered, Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director Heather Weininger invited everyone to take part in strengthening the cause Barbara devoted her life to, by donating the newly created Barbara Lyons Legacy Fund.  Heather explained the fund will help build the future capabilities of Wisconsin Right to Life by enabling the organization to respond quickly to urgent needs and to be nimble enough to create new life-saving opportunities on short notice.

Visit WRTL.org/Legacy for more information and to learn how you may contribute to the Barbara Lyons Legacy Fund.    

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Wisconsin Right to Life will “Tweet Live” from our Event with Jason Jones

Wisconsin Right to Life will be tweeting LIVE from our event in Madison tomorrow! Hope you can be there! If not, follow you can follow along with our Live Tweets on Twitter.  Just use the hash tag #WRTLJasonJones to follow along.

Jason S. Jones is the producer of the newly-released movie CRESCENDO and the co-executive producer of the pro-life hit film BELLA. Crescendo has won 15 awards and raised over $5 million for pregnancy help centers across the United States and Canada.

We’re excited to welcome Jason to Madison to share his journey to the pro-life movement and his inside-Hollywood view as a successful pro-life film producer. 

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