Mark Gietzen, a longtime pro-life leader and president of the Kansas Republican Assembly, died in a Nebraska plane crash Tuesday.
Gietzen was known for helping lead the "Summer of Mercy" abortion clinic blockades in Wichita during the 1990s.
Gietzen, one of the nation’s leading anti-abortion activists, was flying alone in northern Nebraska when his plane crashed under unknown circumstances. https://t.co/9M6YHbMz05
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) May 17, 2023
“I know many people right now are in shock over this news. It’s not something we expect to see like this,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell.
"The Holt County Sheriff’s Office identified Gietzen as the pilot Wednesday afternoon in a written statement. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was on the plane," the report added.
Abortion foe who forced recount of Kansas vote, dies in Nebraska plane crash https://t.co/4p6Tcvlcvu
— Onmytitswhaaaat? (@onmytitswhaaaat) May 18, 2023
"He was flying a single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk when it crashed in a field near O'Neill, Nebraska, about 190 miles (306 kilometers) northwest of Omaha, according to the Federal Aviation Administration's crash log," ABC News reported.
"Gietzen was the only person on board and the log said the plane crashed 'in unknown circumstances,'" it added.
Kansas anti-abortion advocate dies in Nebraska plane crash https://t.co/21NFfYkskM
— Donald Pedersen (@DonaldP28785881) May 18, 2023
"Identified as a staunch conservative, and a former leader of the Sedgwick County Republican Party, Gietzen helped drive a shift in local politics, converting once long-time Democratic seats into GOP strongholds. Although never elected, he was a candidate himself a few times in state and local elections," KWCH noted.
"Gietzen served as the chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, a group opposing abortion in Kansas," it added.
The Kansas Republican Party Facebook page called for prayers for Gietzen's family following the announcement of his death.
“Prayers for Mark, his family, and his friends are encouraged at this challenging time,” the post read. “Mark was known, loved and respected by many across Kansas for his endless efforts to save babies from abortion. His presence, determination and hard work will be greatly missed."
Gietzen's life was committed to saving the lives of unborn children in his state despite much controversy surrounding the issue of abortion. His legacy will be known as a man who emphasized protecting the lives of babies, especially in his home state of Kansas, through turbulent times over the pro-life debate.