What Happened When I Took the Pro-Life Message to a Conference of Abortion Doctors

International   |   Irene van der Wende   |   Dec 1, 2014   |   1:11PM   |   Ljubljana, Slovenia

At the beginning of October, hundreds of abortionists from around the world met for their conference.   I was there to watch them.

Our Dutch Bloemenhove abortion clinic is co-founder, and co-sponsor for the International Federation of Professionals of Abortion and Contraception Associates (FIAPAC). So when there was a request to do an educational pro-life campaign outside their worldwide FIAPAC meeting, I jumped at the opportunity.

And at the beginning of October, I traveled with some pro-life signs by plane to Slovenia. FIAPAC meets every two years. This most recent meeting—entitled “Task Sharing in Abortion Care” –took place in Slovenia. Hundreds of abortionists from around the world met there to inform each other and discuss practical and moral aspects related to abortion and contraception.

This their 11th conference was held in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which is celebrating 2000 years of existence. At the same time as the FIAPAC meeting, other festivals were taking place, for example a festival called “City of Women: Survival Tactics”, including a “Revolution of the Reproduction” seminar, and “The Ongoing War Against Women” lecture.   The city is surrounded by the burial grounds of partisans who died for the cause of freedom.

vanherkLittle did I know, that on the way to hold this public awareness campaign outside the meeting place of the FIAPAC conference of abortionists, that I would travel on a plane seated next to various members of Women on Waves. While I was reading a magazine about “Weapons of mass distraction”, I was thinking of the abortionists’ Weapons of mass destruction, and could overhear Rebecca Gomperts talking to Gunilla Kleiverda – both leaders of Women on Waves. They were talking about pain, and the amount of misoprostol to administer. Also there was some talk about Ireland.

A contact in Slovenia had arranged for us to stand on the street by the Presidential Palace, where hundreds of people passed in cars and busses, and also at the entrance on the other side, where the conference participants would come outside for smoke or lunch breaks. Our signs were graphic, but to show respect for passing children and parents, we didn’t show the signs when a child would pass. Many conference goers would laugh heartily and mock us for doing that. But some ventured to ask why.

One of the men, who also was interested in our AbortionInformation.eu English brochure, stopped dead in his tracks after he started to read the brochure as he walked away, taking in all the information. It was obvious he was moved, as couldn’t stop reading it. As he left, he was continuously turning his head looking at me over and over again, until he passed from view. I guess we left an impression.

Another conference goer was infuriated that we were there, and filmed us with her ipad from across the street, for what seemed an hour. Conference goers repeatedly took pictures and films of us all the time, especially during lunch breaks. To think these pictures of our campaign will be going all over the world!

Two women from Kyrgyzstan walked up because one was writing a report of the conference and wanted to include a picture of our display in her article. As she did that, she tripped over the silver tray in which we had placed a row of models of babies in the range of 6-12 weeks. As she stepped on them, the thought crossed my mind, “This is what in effect happens every day – treading on babies as if they are nothing.”

She felt abortion was needed for medical situations, like rape etc. I told her of my rape, and subsequent whirlwind abortion, and being conceived in violence myself, grateful for life. I told her how I cried and cried when I saw pictures of what they do to babies in D&E abortions like mine, where they tear off arms and legs. What have I done! My own flesh and blood! She was MY baby, and that day was the day I realized we weren’t given all the information beforehand to make an informed decision.

In the meantime she was translating for the other woman, and I could see they were affected. I continued with words to the effect of: “You speak of medical situations. You know, if I carry a baby with problems, and my baby dies naturally, I of course will grieve as a mother, mourning the loss of my baby. But this is a healthy way to mourn the loss of a human being. It’s healthy. But if instead of letting the baby die naturally, I decide to make the decision to kill her, this is a different process.

I repressed my feelings about my abortion for many years, as it was part of me I didn’t like – it was a trauma on top of a trauma. But we all know in psychology, when you suppress things, it comes out in different ways. If I kill my child for a medical condition, instead of letting them die naturally, this will have a different psychological effect in my life. I will perhaps try to suppress it as much as possible, but this will have an effect on my relationships. At the time it may seem a ‘quick’ fix to what may appear as a mountain of problems, but problems are often surmountable. Instead I may have lifelong feelings of guilt and regret – a very different psychological state of mind, the rest of my life- instead of healthy grieving from the natural death of my child.”

They were both visibly affected by what I said, and thanked me. They were now very quiet, and obviously mulling over what I had said. It seemed to sink in. I wonder what they will write in their article.

Another woman I spoke to was complaining about overpopulation, and was concerned about all the poor “unwanted” children who would otherwise be born and might have a hard life. When I responded “Maybe we should start putting people into prison, just in case they start stealing in a supermarket,” she was amused, and said, “That’s a very good response!” The point came across.

At the conference, Rebecca Gomperts of Women on Web talked about medical abortions (at home), citing a report stating that 13.6 percent needed a surgical intervention after their home abortions. While the pills are only to be used up to 9 weeks, another report from Brazil showed around 23 percent were used for pregnancies between 10-12 weeks, and almost 10 percent for 13 weeks or later.

Inside the conference a table was laid out with all the most recent medical instruments used to kill babies.

I watched the Exelgyn DVD “ Medical Termination of Pregnancy” which was handed out at the conference, showing how a medical termination is conducted, but this portrays the baby as a simple clump of cells which would be expelled. Personally, I consider this consumer fraud, as that would only be applicable for the first week of pregnancy, when the mother probably doesn’t even know she is pregnant yet. If the pills are to be used up to 9 weeks LMP, why not show the fully-formed baby with arms and legs, eyes and mouth, fingers and toes? I find it misleading.

At the end I recognized a man who walked up to us (above right). We had already met once before on opening day of his new abortion clinic in Houten in Holland. So I stretched out my hand and greeted him, “Good afternoon Mr van Herk!”

As a representative of the worldwide governance council of International Planned Parenthood (IPPF), he signed off their 2013 financial statement in which they proudly state they work in 172 countries. (The world has around 196 countries.) He asked who I was, and asked whether we had come there to shake things up a bit. I responded by saying that we were just showing that there are different viewpoints, and mentioned my own D&E abortion experience, and that I was horrified when I saw afterwards what is done to babies during the procedure, and that I feel women have a right to know beforehand what happens to their baby so they can truly make an informed choice.

He made a belittling comment about our “dolls,” but I simply said they were models of little children, which he “corrected” to “fetuses”. His attempts to spark something were clearly diffused, and all he could say was “Ja ja. You’re done?”, to which I responded, “Yes, we are finished with our activities and leaving”. I found it a pleasure to meet him again.

All in all, it was exciting to be part of this educational project, which is of international importance. It is clear that some of the professionals there were affected by our presence. A few were livid we were there, calling us sick, but the rest were peaceful, with some professionals clearly pondering a lot after seeing the signs and studying our brochure. The police were very helpful, no problems whatsoever, and the weather was perfect, with sunshine.

On the last day we had flags of nations draped over us, like the flag of the European Union, Germany, Holland etc, carrying the burden of the children killed in these countries. In the European Union some 3,300 babies are aborted every day according to ipfe.org. It was a big burden, and my soul was heavy.

LifeNews Note: Irene van der Wende is the founder of the Dutch pro-life organization Abortioninformation.eu (and AbortusInformatie.nl). Read an interview with her here.