shocking but at least very positive... reading this one should be able to reflect on the chance each and everyone of us was given...
In 1977, a 17-year-old single mother entered an abortion clinic in California while seven-and-a-half months pregnant and had an abortion by a saline injection.
The baby spent 18 hours burning in the solution and the teenager was due to deliver a dead baby within 24 hours. But when a one-kilogramme Gianna Jessen emerged, she was alive.
The abortionist had to sign her birth certificate. Ms Jassen was born with cerebral palsy, caused by her brain being starved of oxygen during the attempted termination, but insists she is not a victim and is incredibly grateful to be alive.
Ms Jassen will be in Malta this week and will be campaigning with the Malta Stand Up for Life Movement to keep the protection of life in focus.
“People expect me to be angry but I’m actually a very cheerful person,” she says.
“I’m also unashamedly Christian. I know it doesn’t seem very popular to speak about Jesus but I’m not good with being told what and what not to do,” she adds, bursting into one of her infectious laughs.
She explains that she was adopted and has only met her biological mother once in 2006.
“I’ve forgiven her. Once, she came to one of my events but it turned out to be very dramatic. She told me she didn’t want my forgiveness. I ended up having to walk out of the room.”
The majority of abortions are not carried out because of rape or incest but out of convenience, she continues. In most cases, a woman has a choice whether or not to hop into bed. Life came as a result of that decision. “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were my rights when I was in the womb?” she questions.
She refutes the argument that an embryo is just tissue, adding that a heartbeat could be heard within three weeks.
If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were my rights when I was in the womb?
“It’s funny – when we hear a heartbeat in every other aspect of life, we rejoice because it means life. But somehow a heartbeat inside the womb doesn’t seem to mean the same thing.”
She believes that the beauty of diversity is often being forgotten and that disability does not mean that a person was any less valuable.
What does she think of the debate currently raging in Malta on possible amendments to the Embryo Protection Act to allow embryo freezing during IVF procedures?
Embryos mean that life is present and life should be protected at all costs, she replies.
“Sometimes there seems to be more outrage over sea life and wildlife than over human life,” she muses.
“I understand how heart-breaking infertility can be. And although the intention [of IVF] is good – to bring about life – ultimately, with such a procedure, life would end up being discarded.”
To women considering whether to have an abortion, she says the procedure would only be an additional traumatic experience.
Nowadays, there is much support and counselling available to help women during the extremely difficult time.
There were also options such as adoption, offering the gift of a child to someone unable to have children.
“We are not defined by our traumas. I don’t want to live as a victim, but as a victor.”
Ms Jessen will participate in the Rally4Life, which will be held on December 6 at 2pm at Castille Place.
The rally is being organised by Life Network, Gift of Life and Magnificat Malta. [source]