Two anti-abortion groups protested at the capitol Wednesday afternoon to urge Wisconsin legislators to either abolish abortion or defy federal law and treat abortion as a criminal act.

Matthew Trewhella, pastor at Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee and founder of the anti-abortion group Missionaries to the Preborn, organized the event with another abolitionist group, Abolish Abortion Wisconsin.

Trewhella said the group, which consists of some but not all of his congregation, has morphed from primarily protesting outside of abortion centers and at busy intersections – with members holding pictures of aborted fetuses – to trying to convince state lawmakers and citizens that it is right to disobey federal law.

“Now, we decided it’s time to go to the legislature, to those who hold public office, and demand that they defend the pre-born,” Trewhella said.

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Trewhella has long been active in promoting anti-abortion morals. In 1993, for instance, Trewhella signed the “defensive action statement” which said the murder of abortion doctors was “justifiable homicide,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It is the duty of legislators at the state level to oppose laws which are oppressive or ungodly, Trewhella said, an idea which he formulated in his 2013 book, “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates.”

Darby Muckerheide, one of Trewhella’s 11 children, also protested at the event. Mucherheide said she has been involved in trying to abolish abortion since she was a child.

“I believe that murder should be completely outlawed,” Muckerheide said. “Completely. I’m not pro-life if you want to say that. I’m pro-life in the aspect that I want it completely wiped out.”

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Trewhella said abortion is murder and should be a criminal act, with the state prosecuting women who get abortions or doctors who perform abortions under murder statutes.

Incremental wins for the movement, whether that be cleaner methods of abortion or stricter regulations on the practice, are not true victories but mere regulation, Muckerheide said.

“I don’t want a bill saying, well, ‘now you can have this baby aborted at this many months’ or ‘now we have clean tools to abort the baby,’” Muckerheid said. “I don’t believe people should get that option.”