Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 21, 2005
She was aborted - but she lived!
Damaged by a botched saline abortion, Gianna now celebrates God and life
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Recently I was in Kentucky to speak to a pro-life leadership conference. There were a number of speakers who dealt with various life issues. But the most powerful speaker came at the end of the conference in the person of Gianna Jessen. She spoke at the closing banquet. Gianna is an abortion survivor.
At the age of 29, she is a gifted and inspiring speaker, accomplished, talented and moving singer, a charming woman and a devout Christian. Everyone at the banquet was blessed by her story and her presence.
Gianna was delivered alive, seven and a half months into her mother's pregnancy that ended in a saline abortion. Gianna was born unwanted and unloved on April 6, 1977. Fortunately, the abortionist was not in the room when Gianna was born alive. A hysterical nurse called 911 and Gianna was rushed by ambulance to a hospital.
The hospital held little hope for Gianna's survival. Not only was she born weighing a mere two pounds, she had survived a saline abortion that almost always kills the baby in utero. Baby Gianna spent her first two months of life in intensive care.
What is a saline abortion? It's a procedure whereby a strong salt solution is injected into the amniotic sac of a pregnant woman. The corrosive solution poisons and burns the developing baby, which is usually delivered dead within one or two days. The saline abortion procedure, or the "salting out" abortion technique, as it's also known, was developed in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Gianna Jessen survived this terrible procedure.
She did not get away unscathed. Due to oxygen deprivation during her delivery, Gianna was left with the life-long condition of cerebral palsy. Until the age of two, she was shuffled from one abusive foster home to another.
Today, amazingly, she is free of bitterness. Gianna courageously challenges our culture of death and exclusion - a culture that has embraced the "choice" to kill its unwanted children before birth. Gianna's message is hard but necessary to for us to hear after 30 years of rampant abortion across North America. "Where were the feminists to speak for my rights?" she asked.
Gianna spoke of rejection in its starkest context. She bluntly acknowledged that she was a "botched abortion." She touched upon the universal desire of people to be loved. She spoke about the challenges of overcoming disability and her need to belong somewhere in the world.
Gianna spoke of her earthly and heavenly sense of belonging to her aged adoptive mother, and her love for Jesus. After all, it is Christ who gives us all our ultimate belonging, as the children of God. And then Gianna tenderly sang the hymn, It is Well With My Soul.
As Gianna sang that sweet melody, accompanied by nothing but a lonely guitar, every eye in the room filled with tears. I was reminded of God's words:
"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palm of my hands I have written your name" (Isaiah 49:15-16).
Gianna identifies with Christ. I believe that her name is written by nails in the palms of his hands. The cross bears the greatest witness to God's love for each one of us, even the life of a "botched abortion."
St. John told us, "But to those who did accept him he gave the power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by man's decision but of God" (John 1:12-13).
Had it been by "human choice," Gianna would have been born dead - but God intervened.
Twenty-nine years later, she stands as an articulate and compelling witness against the spiritual poverty of abortion that has shamefully claimed millions of innocent human lives, and scarred countless women.
The victory is Gianna's. She is a victor over unwantedness, despite a spirit of the age espousing that society discard unwanted, inconvenient or imperfect human life.
Her presence is an indictment of a culture of death and a call to always choose life. Though her birth was unwelcome, Gianna has been born anew in Christ Jesus, and that has given her entrance into the family of God.
The angels rejoiced
Whereas her birth in the flesh was met with cries of horror on earth, her second birth of the spirit was met by rejoicing in heaven.
Gianna Jessen's message must be heard. I highly recommend her as a guest speaker to any life issues forum. She can be contacted through her website (www.giannajessen.com).
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