– Under normal circumstances, I would have been “finished off” after being born. But fortunately, I was born before the abortionist came to work – says Gianna Jessen, an American pro-life activist who was born during an abortion procedure.
PIOTR WŁOCZYK: On April 6th, 1977, you were supposed to be born dead. What saved you?
Gianna Jessen: A miracle. The day before my birth, my 17-year-old biological mother visited one of the abortion clinics in Los Angeles. She was seven months pregnant at the time. The abortionist injected a substance into her uterus which burned me alive for 18 hours. A child swallows this corrosive and poisonous substance, which is supposed to lead to suffocation. It also causes the uterus to contract, resulting in a miscarriage within 24 hours of the start of this “procedure”. But somehow I didn’t die. I was born at six in the morning. I am a Christian so I believe my birth was a miracle that I owe to Jesus. Such words are becoming more and more unpopular in our world, so it is all the more joy to say them out loud (laughs).
You were born in an abortion clinic. It is hard to imagine a more hostile environment for a newborn.
Under normal circumstances, I would have been “finished off” after being born. But luckily I was born before the abortionist came to work. If this man was next to me, he would probably have liked to finish his work – he would have either choked me or thrown me in the disposal bin. Other children who miraculously survived abortion procedures died in such circumstances. At the time of my birth, however, a nurse who turned out to be a wonderful woman was on duty. It was she who saved me by calling an ambulance.
After reaching the hospital, I went straight to the incubator. I weighed one kilogram. Doctors were certain that I was going to die, but I must have been very determined to survive.
My medical records say: “born during an abortion”. This short sentence is my triumph: the child who was about to be burned alive miraculously survived. As if that was not enough, the abortionist had to sign my birth certificate. Another triumph.
Who took care of you afterwards?
For the first year and a half of my life, I was in a foster family. However, I was treated very badly there. Luckily Social Services found out about this and I was taken away from this dreadful place. At the age of 17 months, I found myself under Penny’s wing. She was a wonderful woman. I owe her everything. She took care of unwanted children all her life. She took in the most hopeless children – those that no one else wanted. There were 56 of them in total.
I came to her in a terrible condition. I wasn’t moving, I was like a sack of potatoes. Doctors said this would be a permanent state. But Penny didn’t take it for granted and provided therapy me herself. It slowly began to bring results – it started with the fact that I was able to raise my head on my own, and finally at the age of 3.5 I took my first steps. Penny’s daughter also adopted me then. Thanks to my grandmother, I learned something very important: no one can tell me what I can achieve in life and what is beyond my reach.
You are, however, struggling with the consequences of being born as a result of an unsuccessful abortion to this day
Yes, I am suffering from cerebral palsy, which in my case is the result of hypoxia during childbirth under such conditions. The initial diagnosis was terrible – doctors said I would never be able to raise my head. I had to learn to walk twice. The first time I was 3.5 years old. The second time after spinal surgery, which I had when I was 10. To this day, I have been limping and struggling to keep my balance, but that didn’t stop me from finishing two marathons – one in Nashville and one in London. I was at the very end, it took me eight hours, but eventually I made it to the finish line.
In the movie “October baby”, which was advertised as a story based on your life, at the age of 19, the main character learns that her health problems result from being born during an abortion. How did this turn out in your case?
I was 12 when I asked my mother why I was sick. It happened to be Christmas. She told me what I felt subconsciously. As for this movie – “October baby” I like it very much, but I can’t recognize myself in it. My youth was completely different.
Did you meet your biological mother?
Yes. It happened in quite unusual circumstances. Long before that, my mother met my biological mother and told her that I forgave her but that I don’t want to meet her. It wasn’t about resentment or anger, it was just that I didn’t want to go back to the past. However, this woman did not respect my decision. In 2006, she unexpectedly showed up at a meeting I was attending. She came up to me just as I was greeting people and said, “Hello, I’m your mother”.
I began to pray silently for God’s grace. It is not hard to imagine that I was deeply shaken. I repeated the words about forgiveness. In response, this woman screamed in my face, “I don’t want your forgiveness!” And then began to say terrible things. I ended this “conversation” and walked away shocked.
Did you meet the gynecologist who tried to murder you?
No. This is not the kind of person a normal human being would like to talk to. However, if I came across him somewhere, I would probably try to tell him a few words about Jesus. Certainly, God is missing in this man’s life.
Most Americans are very critical of George W. Bush. However, you have a very warm affection for the former American president.
I have at least one great reason to adore this man. In 2002, President Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which is very important to me. This law protects the lives of children who are born alive after an unsuccessful abortion. Since 2002, every abortionist has an obligation to save a child born as a result of a failed murder attempt in the womb. Unfortunately, knowing the nature of the death industry, it is fair to suspect that there are still many people killing babies born during abortion. It is worth noting at this point that Barack Obama, when he was still a state senator in Illinois, voted against this law.
You have been working in the pro-life movement for years. How resilient is the American pro-life community today?
If you look at the polls, we have recently constituted a majority in society. This is indescribable happiness. Many states have succeeded in limiting the scale of abortion by law. Consequently, more and more locations where this crime is perpetrated are shut down and the public learns the truth about how this cruel industry works. How it’s poisoning the minds of young people by trying to convince them that a baby is just a fetus.
However, being active in the pro-life movement does not constitute your life’s work.
That’s true. In addition to fighting for the life of the unborn, I write, sing and do a lot of other creative things. It seems to me that I survived to shake the world a bit – to awaken people’s conscience. Many of us live as if under hypnosis. We are chased and we do not pay attention to important things. Let’s wake and live!
You tend to use particularly strong words when referring to the abortion of sick children. You don’t accept the argument from the other side that it is inhumane to let a seriously ill child come into the world where only suffering awaits him?
This argument is terrifying to me. It is based on the belief that one person is better than another. When we despise the disabled, we forget that there are things we can learn only from the weakest among us. These people show an extraordinary will to live and fight.
In my opinion, we are lost in our arrogance. How can a healthy person look at a sick little person and claim to know what is best for him? This is a purely Hitlerian argument for me: “You are not good enough to be born. Why? Because I say so.” Welcome to the world of Adolf Hitler.
Clearly you are allergic to feminism. What do you dislike about the fight for women’s rights?
(laughs) Oh yeah, feminists and all their “blah, blah, blah” stuff. Where were all these fighting feminists when I was born in the abortion clinic? None of them screamed then: “Don’t murder that little woman! Spare Gianna!” On the other hand, the people of this milieu present themselves as the most compassionate in the world. Can anyone pinpoint a greater example of hypocrisy?
When discussing this topic, you use very categorical statements: “a war of good against evil” or “silent holocaust”. Even among those in the prolife camp, however, there are plenty of people who say that you need to use a more moderate language so as not to discourage others from the debate.
And were those who wanted to kill me moderate? Please consider this for a moment. Not calling these things by their names is sheer cowardice to me.
This article was published in “Do Rzeczy” – a Polish weekly magazine.