Renowned pro-life activist, author, and obstetrician John Willke died at the age of 89 on Friday. The founder of the International Right to Life Federation passed away at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine described Willke as a “worldwide leader in the right to life movement.”

After more than 30 years working as a family practitioner, Willke devoted himself full-time to the pro-life movement in 1988. He and his wife, Barbara Willke, authored dozens of books, presentations, movies, audio sets, and handbooks on abortion and human sexuality. Their writings have been translated into 32 languages and distributed worldwide.

Willke and his wife lectured in 85 countries, and the couple’s first book, “Handbook on Abortion,” remains one of the most widely read books presenting a pro-life perspective. In the U.S., Willke has appeared on almost every major network show.

In the preface to his book, “Why Can’t We Love Them Both?”, Willke wrote, “we view this field of battle with mixed emotions — dismay that the slaughter continues, elation at the great progress the pro-life movement has made . . . and a quiet optimism that our children will see the day when this demon is slain.”

Survived by six children and 22 grandchildren, Willke will be remembered as a loving father as well as a renowned activist.

“The core of his life was caring for people as a husband, a father and a doctor, and that caring extended to his life work for unborn children and their mothers,” Marie Meyers, Willke’s daughter, told The Associated Press.

“He will be remembered as a great teacher and friend and stalwart leader in giving a voice to the most vulnerable in our society,” DeWine said.


When not writing, Sierra can be found conducting experiments in the chemistry lab or whipping up delectable creations in her kitchen. With a passion for storytelling, Sierra puts her natural curiosity to use investigating enlightening angles for news and events here at The Oregon Optimist.