Mary Kate Knorr is the executive director of Illinois Right To Life. She brings numerous years of experience in political communications and state government to the role, as well as a deeply-held passion for the protection of life, women’s health, and the defense of society’s most vulnerable members. Mary Kate is a native of Joliet.
As the oldest of three girls, Mary Kate grew up in a family that celebrated the miraculous circumstances of life and the beauty of womanhood. While she was raised on pro-life values from an early age, the essence of the movement became much more personal as she and her sisters grew older and found themselves inundated by the lies that the abortion industry has been feeding women for decades. After a few years in politics, Mary Kate began to realize she held very few issues as close to her heart as those of life and women’s healthcare. It was then that her commitment to the protection of society’s most vulnerable really solidified itself in her work, and a renewed devotion began to take shape.
Prior to joining IRL, Mary Kate worked to elect numerous pro-life candidates to office, including former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who successfully defunded Planned Parenthood at the state level in 2017. She also served as an aide and communications advisor to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds during her time as lieutenant governor, and as communications director to Tonia Khouri during her run for Congress in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District in 2016.
Following the passage of HB-40, which allocated taxpayer dollars to state-funded abortions, Mary Kate felt an overwhelming pull to become more directly involved with Illinois’ pro-life movement. It was not long after that she joined the Illinois Right To Life team, which has been at the front lines in the fight against abortion for half a century, and continues to advocate for life at all stages, regardless of age, gender, or race. Mary Kate hopes that through the education of each individual heart, Illinois will eventually adopt a culture of life that can serve as an example for communities across the globe.