Monday, March 7, 2011

"Aborted... and lived to tell about it"

Her name is Gianna Jessen, born April 6, 1977, the survivor of a late term saline abortion.

Instillation abortion is performed by injecting a chemical solution consisting of either saline, urea, or prostaglandin through the abdomen and into the amniotic sac. The cervix is dilated prior to the injection, and the chemical solution induces uterine contractions which expel the fetus. (Wikipedia)

At age 17, seven and a half months pregnant and scared, Gianna’s mother seeked council at an abortion clinic where doctors recommended an instillation abortion - a saline solution injected into the womb – intended to burn the baby inside and out, and for the mother to give birth to a dead baby within 24 hours. Instead, Gianna was born alive. Back then the procedure in such a case was to kill the baby after birth either by strangulation, suffocation, leaving it for dead or literally throwing it away. Instead, a nurse called an ambulance and she was taken to a hospital.

The abortionist had to sign her birth certificate, so she is well aware of his identity – she doesn’t mention him by name but he is the owner of the largest chain of abortion clinics in the US which gross an estimated $70M per year. He considers having aborted over a million babies his passion.

She describes her first emergency foster home as “the mean home”. Upon arrival at the second foster home she was 17 months old, 32 pounds of dead weight and diagnosed with cerebral palsy, caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain while she was struggling to survive. She was also supposed to be burned and blind but she was not. Because of the loving dedication of a foster mother who wouldn’t give up, and three sessions a day she was able to walk by the age of 3 and a half with the help of braces and a walker. Today she walks with a mild limp only; no braces or walker required. In fact, she even runs marathons!

She has met her biological mother once four years ago; an angry, broken woman even after 30 years.

When you listen to the story of someone who says, “They tried to kill me, but didn’t succeed” it makes you think about abortion in a different way. It shifts the perspective from the mother and her so called right to decide about her own body, to the baby – the silent voice – whose life merely gets snuffed out. But then I also think of Gianna’s angry, broken mom – 30 years later – and I realize that she was not so lucky herself, not like she might have thought she would be – she is the other side of the coin. The one difference is that her daughter is a daily, living reminder of the choice that she has made. I can't even begin to imagine how one lives with that, even worse when you have never been able to forgive yourself.

A dear friend of mine showed me a book a while back (forgive me not knowing the title), a compilation of letters written to unborn babies by mothers who have had abortions.

One baby was the result of a rape. The mommy was afraid that she would hate the baby because it would always remind her of what was done to her. Another baby was one more mouth to feed while the family was already unable to feed the mouths that was there. Another was filled with so much fear of being discovered pregnant and the rejection that would come with that. But all the letters had one thing in common: sadness, remorse, longing, emptiness, wonderings of “what if’s”. For most of the mommy’s it was a realisation that, even though abortion was the short term solution, they could never have fathomed the long term pain that it would leave inside of them. In reality they unknowingly exchanged one form of brokenness for another, but thinking that they would be free.

As I read one letter after another my heart broke for these women. I've never thought abortion to be right, but neither have I ever given much thought to why any mother would choose this horrible route.

From not really thinking about it much to learning about the stories of these woman I have certainly gained a deeper understanding, but still just a glimpse at the surface, I'm sure. Even though it hasn't changed my mind about believing it is wrong it has certainly stirred up compassion in my heart.

Life is indeed a miracle. It is so sad that we live in a broken world where it is not cherished as the gift that it is.

Today Gianna Jessen is an anti-abortion activist; a voice for the unwanted babies like herself. You can view clips of her story here: part 1 and part 2


  1. Dear God, this has made me quite tearful ...

  2. So has it me, Cindy. It was quite an eye opener. It can be sad and painful to have a glimpse at the shoes that others walk in. Still you can't fully imagine what it must be like to walk in them unless you have.