Abortion Survivor Hopes Testimony Will Change America’s Apathy

By Julie Roys

Like many pro-life activists, Gianna Jessen is heartened that the recent sting videos revealing Planned Parenthood’s practice of harvesting and selling aborted baby parts has energized the pro-life movement. But, she’s also angered by what she sees as widespread apathy.

“I’m thankful that there is an uprising over them, but I’m astonished that the entire nation isn’t in an uprising over them,” Jessen said. “Facebook should be blowing up about this and yet, we hear forever about Cecil the lion. And, I’m not in favor of killing lions or whatever. That’s not the point. It’s that we’ve got our priorities all wrong.”

For Jessen, abortion isn’t a just a political issue; it’s personal. Thirty-eight years ago, she spent 18 hours soaking in a saline solution in her mother’s womb. She should have died. But miraculously, she defied the odds and was born in an abortion clinic in Los Angeles County.

“I was born alive, instead of dead, at 6 o’clock in the morning and thank God!” she told me in a recent interview. “I mean, it was literally, ‘Thank God!’ because it was the perfect moment to be born because the abortionist was not at work yet. . . . Had he been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation, suffocation or leaving me there to die.”

Hear my Interview with Gianna 

Tomorrow, Jessen will tell her amazing story of survival to a House Judiciary Committee investigating the alleged illegal and barbaric practices of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Also testifying will be Melissa Ohden, a woman who also miraculously survived a botched saline abortion in 1977. Ohden soaked in a chemical solution for five days before a doctor induced labor and Ohden was born and presumed dead. Fortunately, a nurse heard her muffled cry, saved her life, and Ohden was adopted into a loving family.

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“If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” Jessen asked. “There was not a radical feminist standing up and yelling about how my rights were being violated that day; in fact, my life was being snuffed out in the name of women’s rights.”

Both Ohden and Jessen are powerful, living testimonies of the awful realities of the abortion industry and the hypocrisy of the abortion rights movement. “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” Jessen asked. “There was not a radical feminist standing up and yelling about how my rights were being violated that day; in fact, my life was being snuffed out in the name of women’s rights.”

They also highlight the continued, barbaric practice of late-term abortions. Both Oden and Jessen’s mothers were more than seven months pregnant at the time of their botched abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 10,000 third-trimester abortions occur every year in the U.S. “Usually pro-choice people will say, ‘Oh my gosh! You know, late-term abortions, they never happen,’” Jessen said. “Yes, they do. The bigger the baby in the womb, the more money they ask for an abortion. And, now we know they sell the parts of the babies, as well.”

Americans now also have evidence that hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of unborn babies survive abortion doctors’ attempts to kill them. In 2012, Ohden founded the Abortion Survivors Network and since then, she has been in contact with 160 abortion survivors. However, most babies who survive abortion do not live to tell their stories. According to Florida Rep. Cary Pigman, an emergency medicine physician and sponsor of the Florida “born-alive” bill, at least 1,270 babies before 2010 were reported to have survived an abortion and then died.

One of the Planned Parenthood videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) provided evidence of this horrific reality. The video included testimony from a technician, who not only witnessed a baby born alive, but also helped harvest the baby’s brain for sale. Jessen said watching these CMP videos has been excruciating. “Most of the time, I have to disconnect,” she explained. “I engage, but I have to disconnect from myself in order to do what I do. . . . But, if I was just constantly living in, ‘I am this aborted child,’ I could never do what I do because it would be too intense.”

The abortion procedure both Ohden and Jessen survived normally poisons the baby, who swallows the saline solution. It also burns the baby’s lungs and its skin so badly that the outer layer is usually completely stripped away. However, neither Jessen nor Ohden have any burns on their body.

When asked how this happened, Jessen replied, “Jesus. . . . It was just the hand of God. It was like being thrown into the fiery furnace, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, ‘and there was one like the Son of Man in the midst of the fire with them, and the fire did not harm them. 

“But, I’ll tell ya,” Jessen said in a playful, yet defiant tone, “they got a little more than they bargained for. Not only did they not realize who they were trying to kill, they didn’t realize that in that time, the Lord would be instilling in me a fire that can never be vanquished. It’s eternal; it is relentless; it is of Him – a will that is of him.”

“So many people now are resistant to the name of Jesus,” Jessen explained. “But when you’re limping in front of them or falling in front of them, they will listen to what you have to say. And, that is an incredible honor. It is an honor to, to limp all the way through this life leaning on the strong arm of Jesus Christ.”

That will, and God’s sovereignty, enabled Jessen to live when every doctor and nurse expected her to die. Jessen, however, retains a permanent reminder of her mother’s abortion attempt: due to the trauma she endured, she has cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that impairs her ability to walk and move. Because of her condition, few thought Jessen would ever take a single step. She spent her first 17 months of her life in emergency foster care, where she reportedly was neglected and shut in a room for long periods of time. But then, a Christian woman named Penny took Jessen into her home. Penny refused to believe the negative prognoses, prayed regularly for Jessen, and diligently performed physical therapy on her three times a day. By age three-and-a-half, Jessen was walking with a walker and leg braces.

Today, Jessen enjoys a very full life. She speaks internationally and has testified before the Australian Parliament, the British House of Commons and the U.S. Congress. A movie based loosely on her life, “October Baby,” was produced in 2012, and actually included a song Jessen wrote and recorded called, “Oceans Floor.”

But, Jessen still struggles with her physical ailment. In the past several years, she’s developed a “horrible” condition where she can unexpectedly freeze in place. Despite this, Jessen calls cerebral palsy her “gift” and part of her “sermon on earth.”

“So many people now are resistant to the name of Jesus,” Jessen explained. “But when you’re limping in front of them or falling in front of them, they will listen to what you have to say. And, that is an incredible honor. It is an honor to, to limp all the way through this life leaning on the strong arm of Jesus Christ.”

This is a perspective Jessen desperately hopes more Christians will embrace – to be willing to suffer the consequences for standing on their Christian convictions. Specifically, she’s hoping more Christians lose their apathy and instead become willing to sacrifice social status, comfort and convenience for the pro-life cause.

“I look at our nation and I think, if all the Christians would just stand, we would have a totally different nation,” she said. “What kind of Christian do you want to be? You can’t handle losing five friends? If your relationships are that shallow, this test might be great for you because the Lord might remove you from a bunch of shallow people, living a shallow life, (to) living in the grandeur of the impossible things of God.

“It is God’s desire to do the impossible in your life,” Jessen said. Given all she’s been through, she should know. 




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21 thoughts on “Abortion Survivor Hopes Testimony Will Change America’s Apathy”

  1. I had to have an abortion because the baby was already dead but the way they did it was traumatic they just gave me a bed pan a shot of morphine and left me alone I was 5 mo.along it was like having a baby but in a bed pan alone and only 15 years old I am rh negative and that’s what killed my baby but I should not have been treated so bad I did look at the little one it was not burned and because it was already dead it did not suffer but I did and will never forget that little one

    1. I’m so sorry you had to go through that alone. I was also 15 when i had my daughter. I didn’t have to go through what you wen’t through. No one should have to do it alone like you did. My ex sister in law was RH Negative and she lost her first child to but thank goodness they have a shot to take care of it. I hope that you have some beautiful children now.

  2. I was in riverside general hospital in Ca.And had the same thing happen to me it was awful it is something you never get over never forget to all the young girls out there please think of adoption for you and the baby

    1. Gail, your story really resonates with me. If I were telling my story it would be exactly like yours. Right down to the same hospital in the same town. Only difference is I was 13. But still all alone sitting on a bed pan.

  3. I haven’t had an abortion but I have had friends who did. But I am a firm believer of Jesus Christ and that He has a special purpose for all of us and now is your time to be bold. Which obviously you are. :) My hubby and I will be praying that your testimony is heard and that God will move the mountains in the court room for His glory. We are in constant prayer for a heavenly boldness would sweep the nations believers.

    Isaiah 54:17
    no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.

  4. Thank you so much for your courageous testimony. I am determined to do what ever I can to change hearts and minds and encourage others, especially young people, many of whom are passionate about their faith, to do the same by sharing and speaking rationally and articulately for life and Godly values. Sadly, too many don’t want to face this evil of abortion and are just looking the other way, again concerned only with sparing themselves pain and distress. The exposure of these heinous abortion practices has shown the many lies by which “Pro Choice” has been sold to a selfish world, including many, many so called Christians. Keep up your good message!

  5. Thankyou for what you are doing, and may God continue to fill you with strength and courage to speak for the unborn child!

  6. Difference between you and Cecil the lion – there are less than 500 of Cecil’s species living in the wild while there are over 7 billion of your species ruining the planet. We need more abortion.

    1. Ronald,you are a very cold hearted abortion that should have happened!people like you are the reason these murders take place.you are sickening!

      1. Satan will always try to speak lies and destruction through man that is not a believer in Christ. As for Ronald, God’s wrath will be upon him soon. He need salvation…he needs prayer.

  7. I walked into a Planned Parenthood at the age of 16, with my grandmother, with every intention of getting an abortion, my baby was the product of rape. When I entered the building there were protesters outside, with pictures of babies being dismembered.They were begging me not to go through with it. I got into the waiting room and I checked in. A woman there came an explained to me the procedures and the different types they offered. She said “We have to send you downstairs for an ultrasound first.”, to make sure I was past 12 weeks. I went down and got my ultrasound. The lady that did my ultrasound was a heavensent. She said “I’m not supposed to do this, but would you like to see the baby?” Me at 16, thinking selfishly, initially I said no. I just wanted to get it all done and over with. The lady said “Alright.” She printed out the ultra sound and stuck it in an envelope. She said to me as I was leaving to go back up the stairs “I didn’t seal it, in case you change your mind.” In the stairwell, I opened the envelope and pulled out the picture. The ultrasound said I was 8 weeks and 4 days pregnant. The part that got to me though was my baby was in the shape of a heart. I hit my knees and instantly started bawling my eyes out. I couldn’t possibly imagine taking the life of an innocent. I walked back to my seat and told my grandmother I was leaving. She did not agree with my decision and tried pushing abortion on me. Her thought process was “You’re just a kid, you shouldn’t be having kids.” She thought the baby would ruin my life. She went as far as rescheduling for me to come back in a couple weeks and have the abortion proformed. I ran outside to the people standing in front of the building protesting. They asked me “How does it feel to be a murderer?” I told them “I wouldn’t know. I’m keeping my baby.” I then went on to show them the ultrasound. I had a beautiful baby girl on April 1st 2011. She’s now 4 years old and the light of my life. I sacrificed a lot for her and I was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while I was 6 months pregnant with her. She had a difficult start but you would never know it now. That little girl is my saving grace and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

  8. Kimberlee… Thank you so much for sharing your story and thank God for your baby girl. Children are an amazing gift and it breaks my heart to think that people are trying to convince mothers otherwise.

  9. What about you Ronald? Do you want to leave the planet? Are you ruining the planet? Why are you so special? I can’t believe the hatred coming from you! We all belong on this planet. Why aren’t you opting out? I am perplexed by the groups of people who hate humanity but are a part of it. I don’t see them killing themselves but complaining that everyone else is alive. You look at an almost aborted child, have no empathy and worse say such a horrible thing to someone who survived this? You said ‘your species’. Are you stupid? What are you? The current culture we are in is telling us that we must loathe ourselves. Don’t fall for it!

  10. Glad to be born

    Do you even have a heart? I hope you don’t have children since you don’t value life. Unprotected sex creates babies – maybe protected sex or ABSTINENCE should prevent them – not barbarically cruel procedures ending their life – yes, I said life because I’m pretty sure until they don’t hear your cruel heart (again, assuming you have one) beating, they won’t put you in the ground. Why shouldn’t they? What’s the difference?

  11. Glad to be born

    By the way, the above comment was meant for “ronald”. Sorry, I thought since I clicked on the “reply” directly after his post that it would follow his ignorant post.

  12. I reconnected with my child 19 years after I gave her up for adoption. She was raised by a wonderful family. She is now grown with a child of her own. What a tragic loss there would have been had I had an abortion. That was in 1979. I did not believe in abortion then and I don’t believe in it to this day. For those of you willing to kill innocent babies, may God have mercy on your soul.

  13. Keep using your experience and your gift of life to educate others! Many tried to encourage me a single mother to have an abortion. My beautiful 17 year old son is the light of my life and his father now is upset our son calls my current husband of the last 10 years dad. His biological father wanted and tried to pressure me into abortion. My son and I have an amazing relationship and life. He is truly my gift from God.

  14. I no longer call it abortion – I call it murder, since that is what it is. Calling a baby ‘a foetus’ doesn’t make any difference, it is still a recognisable individual very early on, some even sucking their thumbs!

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