HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Handbook on Abortion
Author: Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Willke
Publisher: Right to Life League, revised edition republished in 1979
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Willke, Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Handbook on Abortion (published in 1971 and revised edition published in 1975 by Hayes Publishing Company Inc., Cincinnati, OH 45224). Albert Schweitzer said, “If a man loses reverence for any part of life, he will lose reverence for all life.” Recently, while looking for some information regarding the subject of abortion, I came across this book, which helped to start the pro-life movement, in my library. Illustrated with very graphic dumped fetus and abortion related photographs, it presents the pro-life side of the abortion controversy. John (Jack) C. Willke (born 1925) was a prominent obstetrician in Cincinnati, OH, who ceased practicing medicine in 1988 in order to devote himself full-time to the pro-life movement. His wife Barbara was a nurse who taught her profession for five years at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health. They were founders of the National Right to Life Committee and the authors of a number of books on abortion and human sexuality. Sometimes the pro-abortion crowd likes to characterize the pro-life movement as being only “anti-abortion,” but the Willkes also wrote books to help parents teach their children about sexuality, dating, love, and marriage.
In explaining the importance of the subject, the authors wrote “that the logic and reasons for the destruction of these weakest, least conscious, smallest and most innocent humans among us by abortion, can be applied just as logically and legally to the weak, only partly conscious, oldest, and most dependent or defective among us by euthanasia. Then truly this is shown to be a civil rights issue of the gravest import.” The book is divided into three sections. Part I, discussing “Human Life?”, deals with when human life begins, how the unborn child develops, and what abortion does to an unborn baby. Did you know that a medical group composed of biochemists, professors of obstetrics and gynecology, geneticists, and others from many different backgrounds at the First International Conference on Abortion held at Washington, DC, in October of 1967, concluded (19 to 1) that “the majority of our group could find no point in time between the union of sperm and egg, or at least the blastocyst stage, and the birth of the infant at which point we could say that this was not a human being”?
Part II, “A New Ethic?”, deals with many of the hard questions related to abortion, such as rape and incest, mental health, unwanted pregnancies, population explosion, back-alley abortions, religious values, euthanasia, and fetal experimentation, citing copious sources with all kinds of statistics to corroborate their arguments. They argue that the Roe v. Wade decision “used almost every pro-abortion argument available including a number so false as to be totally ridiculous, and totally ignored a vast body of firm scientific facts that would have completely refuted those arguments.” Part III, “Action,” ends with a chapter on “What To Do?” I do disagree with Willke’s personal opposition to capital punishment, but he allows that there is a distinction between it and abortion. Of course, pro-abortion advocates who might at first think that this is a book about pro-choice options would likely consider it a deceptive piece of “Utterly Awful Anti-Choice Propaganda.” Some of the information may be a little dated, but the facts presented and the reasoning used in defense of the unborn are timeless.