WI Supreme Court hopeful spoke at event with pastor who says killing abortion doctors is 'justifiable homicide'
Judge's gavel (AFP Photo/Gil Cohen Magen)

In Wisconsin, far-right social conservative Dan Kelly is competing with liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Janet Protasiewicz for a seat on the state's supreme court. Kelly is vehemently anti-abortion, and Protasiewicz has been slamming him as a supporter of an anti-abortion law in Wisconsin that goes back to 1849.

Now, Protasiewicz is calling Kelly out for making a virtual appearance at a Tuesday, March 21 event with the Rev. Matthew Trewhella, an anti-abortion extremist and far-right Christian nationalist who has described the murder of abortion providers as "justifiable homicide." In 1990, Trewhella founded a Milwaukee-based group called Missionaries to the Unborn, and he has a long history of promoting violence.

Back in 1994, Trewhella said, "I don't condemn people who use force to try to protect babies, because they are human beings. And if someone uses force to try to protect those babies, it would be as if someone used force against Dr. Mengele, from Adolf Hitler's era. If someone used force against him, would I condemn the person for stopping Mengele from all the atrocities he did? No, I wouldn't condemn that person."

In response to Kelly campaigning at an event featuring Trewhella, Protasiewicz said, "You may have heard me say Dan Kelly is an extremist. Well, although it's shocking that he would share the stage with this man, it's not surprising. Dan Kelly's radical views defending the 1849 abortion ban, and generally stopping women from controlling their own bodies, are well-documented. And his support for disrespecting democracy and overturning elections is well-documented. We can't let him anywhere close to our Supreme Court."

Trewhella is a long-time supporter of the militia movement, calling for militias and the Religious Right to join forces. At a 1994 event filmed by Planned Parenthood members, Trewhella — according to Knight-Ridder News Service — said, "Our government wants to disarm us. What should we do? We should do what thousands of people across this nation are doing; we should be forming militias…. Churches can form militia days and teach their men how to fight."

In 1994, according to Knight-Ridder, Planned Parenthood gave a copy of that video to the late Democrat Janet Reno, who was serving as U.S. attorney general under President Bill Clinton at the time.

Many years later, according to the the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trewhella has not softened his rhetoric. At the March 21 event — which was held at the Calvary Assembly of God in Wilson, Wisconsin — told the crowd, "You cannot appease tyrants. You have to defeat them. And the sooner you decide not to comply, and to defeat them privately, not comply with evil, publicly join with other good men and magistrates (to) stand against the evil, the better chance you have of stopping evil. If you keep accommodating yourself — guess what? — you'll be swallowed up by evil. It will be too late, and then, bloody revolution is the only option left."

Kelly, the Journal Sentinel's Molly Beck reports, was not physically present at the Calvary Assembly of God. But after Trewhella's speech, Kelly spoke virtually for 20 minutes.

In 1993, according to Newsweek, Trewhella signed a statement describing the murder of David Gunn, an abortion doctor in Pensacola, Florida, as "justifiable homicide."

The Wisconsin Supreme Court election is set for April 4.