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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pray for abortionist Harmen Van Der Woude

I'm conflicted today. This morning before Mass I heard that the abortionist who runs the mill next door to AAA Women for Choice, the crisis pregnancy center (CPC) where I used to volunteer, is dying. Harmen Van Der Woude is an atheist who used to send the director of our CPC articles about natural disasters with margin notes like -- "Is this what your loving God does to his children?" Pat had at least a dozen of these which I always thought indicated his conscience wasn't quite dead. After all, if he was so sure of what he was doing why bother?

We could hear the suction machine through the thin walls and used to play sacred music for our own sake and those in the killing rooms. I was glad I usually worked on the days there were no abortions. But I met some of Van Der Woude's victims, the living ones. One morning I counseled a young woman in her twenties who ended up in the emergency room following her abortion next door. Van Der Woude  perforated her uterus and the hospital had to clean up the mess. She had a total hysterectomy to save her life - in her 20s! I urged her to sue, and said we could put her in touch with people who would help. As a single mom she could use the money to help support her living children. She told me she deserved what happened for what she did to her baby. "No one deserves that," I replied.

I don't think I've ever met someone so sad. I spoke to her of God's love and forgiveness, but my words couldn't penetrate her self-loathing. Please pray for her. To this day, I can see her pretty face stricken with pain. Another woman came in who also aborted next door. She said she didn't feel right and was having pain and went back a week or so after the abortion. The nurse did a sonogram and looked worried. She told her to come back later when the doctor was there, but said don't go to the emergency room. Fortunately, the woman didn't listen and went to the hospital. She had a major infection and had to be on IV antibiotics for massive septicemia. That is the reality of "safe, legal abortion."

 Van Der Woude's wife Elizabeth is a lapsed Catholic who had a cordial relationship with our director. I was there once when Elizabeth brought a young woman over who was beyond the point they did abortions. Too risky. "I could send them to D.C.," she said defensively. On another day I was outside washing windows  when she arrived and said "Good morning." I replied, sardonically I confess. "It will be a good morning for us, not for you." It made her angry. Well, how does one greet someone coming in to begin the morning kill?

Yes, I am conflicted about Harmen's condition? My feelings say, "Good-bye, good riddance, and go to hell, Harmen! Now you meet your maker and all the little victims you butchered." I'm not proud of those feelings. There's a lot of the older brother of the prodigal son in my makeup, sad to say. "You did the crime; now serve the time" -- in a very hot place. Then I remember my own sins and the fact that one unrepented mortal sin can send a soul to hell. Mea culpa! And thank you, Lord, for Confession.

I know God sees Harmen as a son, a beloved son who went very wrong. Jesus grieved on the cross seeing the sins each one of us, including Harmen, would commit. He must have grieved especially for those who would die in final rejection of His love. So I have to resist my feelings and pray for Harmen to receive the grace of final repentance. No one is beyond God's grace no matter how evil a life he's led, even Harmen.

I prayed for him at Mass and I'll be offering my rosary today as well, that Harmen will repent and reach out to God. I suspect all the little ones he killed and his poor neglected guardian angel will join me. I hope you will too. No one should rejoice in the eternal loss of a brother, even the blackest sheep of the family.

And if you're looking for an alternative to this week's collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, I heartily recommend AAA Women for Choice, 9380A Forestwood Lane, Manassas, VA 20110-4735, (703) 330-9312. I guarantee your money will be well spent! ‎


cwbullets said...

Thank you.

semperficatholic said...

The Divine Mercy Chaplet for the dying is in order for this man. God doesn't want to lose not even one soul, even when that soul has done what this person has done, which I hate. When Van Der Woulde meets God face to Face and realizes what he has done, and if in God's Mercy the soul hits the safety net, just think what kind of prayer warrior he will be for the end to abortion.

Martina said...

the irony to this blog post is that i would put serious money on the pro-choice/abortion bloggers not doing something similar if a pro-life doctor was dying.

the CCF ladies enjoyed this entry. i think you articulated the internal struggle/dialogue that we all feel when we pray for the sinner and hate the sin. sometimes it's not so black and white for us.

John Donlan said...

Harmen, even though he has done despicable and dastardly things, does in fact have an immortal soul -- which is very much desired and loved by God.

If God had meant for this man to go to hell, then He wouldn't have arranged for us to find out about his dying, would He?

Lets pray for his soul, and leave the mercy and/or punishment up to God. That we, at least we will have done what Jesus teaches us to our enemies.

life or something like it said...

thanks you for sharing. I will pray

Just passing by you blog today.

Anonymous said...


Diane Korzeniewski said...

As I have said on other issues, we will be judged based on our capacity to love. It is easy to love people who do good. It is very difficult to love those who do heinous things. But, it is what distinguishes us as sons and daughters of Christ from others. We imitate Christ by loving everyone unconditionally as we are loved.

This is what made me want to participate with Helpers of God's Precious Infants. At my first prayer vigil here in Detroit, I was blessed to hear Monsignor Philip Reilly, the founder. It was the way that he explained, that the vigil we were about to embark on, was not a protest, but a genuine effort of praying for people with the hope that they will convert. I have a video embedded here with Msgr. Reilly that someone took in New York.

I will pray for Harmen as I do all abortionists, clinic workers, and those going into those clinics for "service".

Anonymous said...

suuuuuper Christlike of you.


Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

It is Christlike, Anonymous, to warn and pray for those standing on the brink of the abyss. What's your Christlike response? What, for example, would you have done for Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, etc.?