• October 5, 2010
Jack Barbara WillkeThe annual International Pro-life Conference is coming to Ottawa from Oct. 28 to 30, and it is likely to be one of pro-life advocate Jack Willke’s last international appearances.

Willke, president of both the International Right to Life Federation and Life Issues Institute, has been experiencing health problems of late.

“I’m past 85 now and I’ve just been hospitalized,” Wilke told The Catholic Register from his office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I’m back home again. I’m not taking any other speaking engagements but I don’t think you can write my obituary yet. However, Mrs. Willke and I will be there and will be speaking.”

Willke has been involved in pro-life advocacy along with his wife, Barbara, since the late 1950s. In 1971, the couple co-wrote Handbook on Abortion, which presents the scientific case for the unborn. This book, along with numerous others, has been translated into 32 languages and the duo has lectured on pro-life issues in 85 countries. Willke practised medicine in Cincinnati for 40 years and is also a past president of the U.S. National Right to Life Committee.

He said that the upcoming conference in Ottawa will bring attention to Canada’s lack of policy on abortion.

“When you have a conference like this, you get a certain amount of national publicity and people will find out that (Canada) doesn’t have any laws protecting the unborn.

“You’re going to have a lot more people conscious of that saying, ‘Hey, that’s not the way it ought to be.’

“I’m optimistic for Canada,” said Willke, referring to the fact that Canada has no abortion laws.

“We’re seeing a change slowly. Public opinion is moving in the pro-life direction.”

Some of the other speakers at the conference will include John Smeaton, president of The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in the United Kingdom, Michael O’Brien, a Canadian author and artist, and Brad Mattes, winner of a 2010 Emmy Award for his pro-life TV show Facing Life Head-on.

A full registration package for the weekend costs $225 and registration for a single day is $75. For more information, see www.campaignlifecoalition.com.

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