Testimony: Gianna Jessen

Gianna Jessen's mother underwent  a saline abortion when she was 7-months-pregnant with Gianna, yet amazingly, Gianna survived the abortion and lives today to tell her story. Despite her cerebral palsy, which she has described as a gift and is a legacy of the abortion, Ms Jessen has travelled the world with a powerful testimony. She is living evidence of the humanity of the unborn child and the fact that abortion takes a human life.

Gianna Jessen's story is so unique and amazing that it touched everyone - even those who had come wanting to disagree. She is also a musician and songwriter and she (and Michael who plays guitar) played three songs to the students in each university before giving her testimony.

She spoke movingly and eloquently of the story of her life, of her mother's abortion, and how she, Gianna, that baby that was meant to be aborted, was actually delivered alive. She told how an ambulance brought her to hospital but that there was little hope, firstly, that Gianna would survive, and secondly, that she would ever walk. This was due to the lack of oxygen during the abortion that caused the cerebral palsy that she calls a gift, since, “it gives me the opportunity to overcome every day”. She knows her birth parents were 17-years-old, and that her mother was told that abortion was the best option for her. Gianna asked where all the advocates for womens’ rights were when her life was being taken? She pointed out the inherent contradiction in calling abortion a woman's right when it takes the lives of women. She also deplored the fact that the rights of unborn children are not considered in the abortion debate.

She spoke of her wonderful foster mother Penny who despite being told that Gianna would “never, never,” stand or walk was absolutely determined that Gianna would indeed stand and walk, and most importantly, would live as full a life as possible. Gianna's has often undertaken difficult tasks such as completing a 26 mile marathon on 30 April 2005 in Nashville. It took her seven and a half hours, but she did it. The Revelation Tour, with its heavy schedule must have been exhausting for her at times but she left a wonderful gift for Irish students: the gift of truth, the chance to see  why abortion is always wrong.

What struck many throughout Gianna's talk was her absolute joy at being alive and her fascination with life itself. Irish students will never forget the small woman with the big voice! Her passion, her drive, her singing, her anger at injustice, her laugh, her attitude, her joy. That's what will be remembered. The world nearly never got to see Gianna's uniqueness of being. And millions of others never get to express their uniqueness because they do not make it outside their mother's womb alive.