“If abortion is a right, where was mine when they tried to kill me in the womb?”. Her personal story hits like a punch on the stomach, but her smile is a hymn to life which prevails on resentment.
In Terris spoke to Gianna Jessen, U.S. pro-life activist survived to a saline abortion. It is April 1977 when her mother, a seventeen years old girl from Tennessee, goes in a clinic of the abortion industry Planned Parenthood to ask to terminate the pregnancy at the seventh month.
Destined to die
The belly is as big as the cynicism of doctors, they make her sit in a waiting room together with other girls about to be subjected to abortion. Her turn comes. The method of operation is atrocious. She has to lay on a bed and she is injected with a saline solution in the uterus. The practice is that the child swallow the solution and gets burned inside and outside, and then the mother delivers the child dead within twenty-four hours.
But in the case of Gianna things did not go the way they are supposed to. After eighteen hours from the injection, the child was born alive. Her luck was that at that time, the doctor that resolves these extraordinary cases is not on duty. The way used to resolve those cases is terrifying: in the United States before 2002, in fact, every child who survived the abortion was strangled, suffocated or simply left to die of starvation.
The law “Born Alive Infants Protection Act“, approved by the Bush government in that year, has put an end to this barbarity which Gianna has miraculously managed to escape. At birth, she weighs 1900 grams and she has a precarious health condition. A nurse transfers her in a hospital. Here she challenges the opinion of the doctors and manages to survive. She is adopted by a family that accompanies her in a difficult but fruitful path of physiotherapy.
Today Gianna has relationships, she studied, she walks although with difficulty and travels the globe to tell her story. In these days she is in Rome, thanks to the association ProVita, and today she participates in the seventh edition of the March for Life that winds through the centre of the Capital City.
Her voice is inconvenient. It is testified also by the censorship she met in recent days in Roma Tre University. She was supposed to attend a conference, but less than twenty-four hours from the beginning a couple of professors would have withdrawn the granting of the hall where the conference was supposed to take place.
A fact that the same Gianna defines “alarming“, because “the university should be a place of freedom” and not of “discrimination, furthermore against a disabled woman”. This censorship follows similar episodes that occurred in the United States. “There is a widespread attempt to control the thought – observes Gianna – that is carried out by providing the general public with a single point of view on these issues“.
A point of view that – continues Gianna – is in contradiction with the science. Gianna underlines that “the heart of the embryo beats already after a few days from the moment of conception, so life is present. Yet despite this is recognized, abortion is still allowed“.
Gianna has however the hope that in the United States is in act radical political change in favour of the unborn life. She is confident because Donald Trump, among his first acts once entered the White House, signed an executive order that locks the funding of the federal government to non-governmental organizations which practice abortions abroad. And then, a few weeks ago, he signed a document on religious freedom that allows businesses to be able to choose to not provide their employees health cover that includes free contraception.
“I am convinced that Trump will change the law on abortion“, says Gianna. And she adds: “Many were sceptical against him during the election campaign, but now they are realizing that on bioethical themes he is doing more than it has ever been done before”.
But laws alone are not enough. It is the culture that must be changed. The testimony of Gianna Jessen in this sense is precious. Here is what she tells: “Many are the women that told me that they wanted to have an abortion but that after having heard my story, they decided to keep the child“.
Events that fill the heart of Gianna with gratitude. As those of the many doctors that used to perform abortions and that then, exhausted by the much evil caused even to themselves, have become conscientious objectors. “It is nice to speak with them, I have met many – she explained – and every time I read in those eyes a sense of serenity due to sincere repentance“.
Gianna is a believer. She trusts in Jesus and in his mercy. But her story penetrates the hearts of everyone, even of those who are far from faith: “I speak on behalf of the many dead children and of those that will be killed in the future. Today there is so much discussion about rights, but we often forget their rights“.