Rape Victim Gives Testimony of Her Abortion

Rome’s March for Life Offers Chance for Witness, Healing

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By Ann Schneible

ROME, MAY 15, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The March for Life, which took place this past Sunday in Rome, on Mother’s Day, was a time of remembrance for all the victims of abortion, including the children who are aborted, and their mothers.

Irene Van der Wende, from the Netherlands, walked in the march on Sunday carrying a sign that read, in English, «I regret my abortion.» She had been invited to Rome to speak at a conference hosted by Regina Apostolorum university the day before the March for Life.

 Sharing her testimony with ZENIT, she explained that, many years ago, she had been raped. «I was choked,» she recounts, «I knew I was going to die in the next minute so I let him have his way with my body. Then I found out much later I was pregnant as a result of it.»

It was not until the final moments before the abortion that she came to the realization that she was a mother of a baby in her womb. «I mentioned it to the nurse, and she mentioned it to the abortionist, and the abortionist started yelling at me. He said: ‘Hadn’t you signed the paper already downstairs?’ I was numb; I was just frozen. He stretched out my arms, and put a needle in my arm to make me go to sleep. When I awoke I was ‘so-called’ rid of my ‘problem,’ but it began a nightmare. I was now the mother of a dead baby.»

She spoke about the pain she would feel, especially with every passing Mother’s Day. «I couldn’t have children for many years, and I was always remembering that I was a mother, but of a dead baby. And then later, when my two grown children that I have now – who on Mother’s Day would come around my bed with flowers and gifts and breakfast in bed – I would always know I was the mother of more.»

«I have deep regrets of killing my own child, my first born. Even with my children now, I cannot say ‘you’re my first born.’ It’s always difficult.»

Sometime following her abortion, Van der Wende entered into a relationship, and became pregnant. «He insisted that I get rid of the baby or he would say goodbye. At that time, I’d had my abortion experience, which was a nightmare, and there was no way I was going to do that to another baby. And so I chose my baby. I was very glad, very happy.»

Tragically, Irene suffered a miscarriage. As she was bleeding, and not knowing anything about fetal development, she attempted to gather the remains so as to give her child a dignified burial. However, on the way to the hospital she passed out and woke the next day to discover that any remains left were thrown out with the garbage by the hospital staff.

Now, she has erected a monument to her two children, who she has named Natasha and Diana Maryann. «I made two models of my children and I buried them there with two Bibles. At least I have acknowledged them with names, and they’re part of my life, and I’m no longer in denial.»

Surrounded by the thousands of people who were marching for life through the city of Rome, she was thrilled to be «part of such a large movement, with people who still believe in the dignity of life. We have been fighting for women’s rights all these years, but it’s time we start fighting for the rights of children, because they deserve protection. They have nobody to stand up for them. It’s an honor to be with the cream of the crop here of speakers who really know everything about the development of the human life, and about the pain that the unborn feel.»

«I’m just an ambassador for the unborn now,» she said.

As an adult, Van der Wende learned that she herself was in fact conceived as a result of violence. «My mother tried to kill both of us when I was six months in her womb,» she relates, but did not go through with it. «I’m so grateful that she did give me life, and that I’m now able to be here, stand here today, and talk about the value of each and every person.»

«It doesn’t matter how you’re born, whether you’re created with wine and roses and love, or whether you’re created in violence. We all have just the same right to life, and have the right to make something of our lives. Our lives are not dependent on how we were conceived, but it depends on what we make of life.»

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