Survivors of “the dreaded complication”: hearing from women born alive after attempted abortions

Fifth in the Voices to Trust series.

“If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” — Gianna Jessen

“My biological mother was 17 years old and seven and one-half months pregnant when she made the decision to have a saline abortion. I am the person she aborted. I lived instead of died.” That’s Gianna Jessen speaking. She was born in 1977 and was adopted at age 4. When she was 12, she learned the circumstances of her birth. When she was 14, she began telling her story publicly, and she hasn’t stopped since.


Born alive: “the dreaded complication” of abortions.

Jessen testified to Congress earlier this year at a hearing prompted by the Center for Medical Progress videos about Planned Parenthood. “Hear me clearly: I forgive my biological mother….how many children have died and been dismembered and their parts sold for our ego, our convenience, and our promiscuity? How many Lamborghinis were purchased with the blood of innocent children?”

Jessen spoke before another Congressional subcommittee in 1996. Today, a baby is a baby when convenient. It is tissue or otherwise when the time is not right. A baby is a baby when miscarriage takes place at two, three, four months. A baby is called a tissue or clumps of cells when an abortion takes place at two, three, four months. Why is that? I see no difference. What are you seeing? Many close their eyes…The best thing I can show you to defend life is my life. It has been a great gift. Killing is not the answer to any question or situation. Show me how it is the answer….All life is valuable. All life is a gift from our Creator. We must receive and cherish the gifts we are given. We must honor the right to life.”

At the more recent hearing, Jessen was joined by Melissa Ohden, another survivor of a saline abortion attempt.

On Ohden’s own web site, she writes about the intergenerational injustice inflicted by abortion – and the importance of speaking the truth, even in the face of opposition. (Punctuation is shown as she used it.)

“…I wrote a post in reference to the Washington Post’s attempt in 2012 to discredit my life and life story in their support of President Obama, (http://www.melissaohden.com/?p=1315), and in it, I started to process out some of my thoughts about how responses like this by those that are pro-abortion not only affect me, but affect my family, who have been forever changed by the abortion that was meant to end my life. In the course of the last year, though, I’ve been thinking about how not only such responses deny the reality of my family members, including my birthmother, who was forced to have the abortion and was greatly pained by this for decades, but denies the realities of tens of millions of families who have been forever changed by abortion. And I’ll be honest. It saddens and frustrates me that we live in a world that wants to deny the truth about abortion so badly that it will not only turn a blind eye to its’ everyday injustice against children, but then further denies the ramifications of this injustice on the children’s families.

“Abortion affects everyone, and I hear from and meet grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers who have experienced abortion and its’ long-lasting effects, day in and day out. They have a story. One that they don’t often share because of their own guilt, shame, grief, or fear about how others will respond in a culture that has embraced abortion as a way of life (or lack thereof). Yet, no matter the feelings welled up inside these family members, what I have discovered is that when they finally hear from someone else that they, too, have experienced that pain, that they, too, understand what they’ve gone through, the floodgates open, and those feelings, those words that have remained locked up within them come pouring out.

“We may not be able to change the response that the abortion industry and its’ supporters, including the media, have in regards to abortion, abortion survivors, and the truth about how abortion affects all of us, but we can do something. We can be courageous enough to share our experiences with others, whether it is face to face, or something we share anonymously on the Internet.

“We can educate others about the impact that abortion has across generations, not only on children and women, but on men, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and ultimately outside of the microcosm of family to our communities and nation. We can share our stories and encourage others to find hope and healing in the midst of what they have experienced. If we’ve lost 57 million children to abortion in the last 41 ½ years in the U.S. alone, we should recognize that we are not alone in our experience, and use our grief to bring about a difference, not only in our lives, but the lives of others.

“I know that it’s not easy to talk about, and it’s hard to know where to start, but I would like to just encourage you, the reader, if you’ve been affected by abortion in your family, to take the first step and simply acknowledge this to yourself. The next steps of sharing it will come in their due time.”

 

 

 

 

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