Last weekend, I had the incredible privilege of meeting abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen, in person at the March for Life Chicago. About two years ago, I interviewed Gianna by phone and heard the amazing story of how she miraculously survived a saline solution abortion in the late 1970s. Days later, in an incredible testimony that went viral, she told her story before a Congressional committee investigating abuses by Planned Parenthood, declaring: “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”
Ever since then, Gianna has been a hero of mine, so I was thrilled to meet up with her last Sunday, and grab a quick interview before the march began. I found her to be exactly as I expected – warm, real, and possessing an indomitable spirit. And she’s incredibly optimistic about the future of the prolife movement, predicting that Planned Parenthood will be defunded and Roe v. Wade overturned in our lifetime. Here are highlights from our interview:
Julie: Gianna, last time we spoke, it was soon after the Center for Medical Progress had released its sting videos of Planned Parenthood. And we all had extremely high hopes that Congress would defund the abortion provider – and it tried. But each time a bill reached President Obama’s desk, he vetoed it. But now, we have a new administration coming in. And President-elect Trump has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and appoint pro-life judges. So what do see happening in the next few years?
Gianna: I see the culmination of decades of prayers of the people being answered. I see the defunding of Planned Parenthood happening. I ultimately believe that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned and returned to the states. Things that I never thought I would see in my life, honestly. I do believe that president-elect Trump has the courage to follow through with. And I have such admiration for the man, and I’m so happy.
Julie: After I interviewed you, you went before a Congressional committee and told your amazing story as only you can. I posted your testimony online and it received more than 2.5 million hits! You actually crashed my website! I’ve heard from so many people who saw that testimony and were impacted by it. But I’m wondering, what’s it like to be at the center of all that, and what’s the impact on your life personally?
Gianna: The spiritual warfare of my life is off the charts. So I hear the impact and I’m so, so grateful. But behind the scenes the cost of my life is both wonderful and excruciating, if that makes sense. You don’t live this sort of life without a price. And yet at the same time, I say that not as a victim but saying that, the cost — following Jesus should actually have a cost. And so that’s not a bad thing. Does that make sense? (Julie: How do you equip yourself for that battle?) Every day at 11:11, I pray for impossible things. And in that prayer, I pray each piece, literally, of the armor of God on myself. So you may not see it right now, but I’m absolutely clothed in the armor of God. And I didn’t always do that, but I heard a former Satanist say how if Christians only knew how powerful the actual armor of God is, and how they need to put it on, they would they would be astonished. And so I listened to him. And so I plead the blood of Jesus and I pray the armor of God, and the deliverance from temptation and evil, every single day. And that is how — and then also, because I have some physical limitations, I spend a lot of time alone in that I’m resting. And so there’s a lot of time to just be. So it’s not high intensity, you know, every single day. But it’s a, it’s an unusual life.
Julie: We’ve talked before about your unusual life, and how your calling, and your disability, can make relationships difficult to maintain. So I’m wondering, how is your relational life these days?
Gianna: I find that the longer you walk with Jesus in a more, in a more supernatural way, the more you will be attacked. And yet, I don’t want that to be like that’s the end of the story. But the truth is — that is the truth. I allow the Lord to allow my heart to be broken to take me into places that I would never otherwise go. I think it’s also, His power is made perfect to my weakness. So I’m not just coming here to this event, for example, going like, “Hey, you know, I got this!” It’s literally, I’m in my hotel room going, “Lord Jesus, please tell me what to say. Please show me what to do. Please speak through me because otherwise it’s dumb.”
Julie: My pastor said something really powerful last Sunday when he was encouraging people to come to today’s march. He said, “Someday, when your grandkids hear about the abortion holocaust, and come to you and ask, ‘Grandpa, grandma, what did you do to stop abortion?’, what will you say?” I know there are a lot of people listening who are like I was 10 years ago. I was prolife, and I voted for prolife politicians and I gave to crisis pregnancy centers. But I never put my boots on the street, so to speak, and got involved in prolife activism. That’s changed for me. But speak to the person who’s never attended a rally or prayed at an abortion clinic. What’s the importance of events like these?
Gianna: I think it’s incredibly powerful. For example, right now, Chicago is one of the most violent cities in America. And yet today, by gathering in this way, we are bringing in the kingdom of God, invading that space. How beautiful is that? We’re taking it back. So it’s never in vain. And showing this culture — and so many on the Left, honestly, so convinced that everybody thinks their way — to show them by example, walking in the opposite spirit of what is presented to us and saying “No! We are going to stand. We will not be intimidated. We will stand on one in the most violent cities in America, and we know that we are safe because we are in Jesus.” And I think so often — I wrote some notes today and posted them on social media — I think so often, we walk around this as grasshoppers in our own site as Christians, instead of standing up and saying, “No! No! No! You don’t win this, Satan. You don’t win this.” And also, to any woman reading or listening that has had abortions, my life is not about shaming them either. It was all about the opposite. It’s all about saying, “Listen, darling, come to Jesus and be healed and forgive yourself. Because you’ve been forgiven.”
Julie: Gianna, there are so many people who follow my blog and follow you, who just love you. And I’m sure they would love to know how to support you. How can they pray for you?
Gianna: I have an unusual answer. I want a baby. I want to be a mother. And I will not be a mother, at the moment. I will not, or ever, give my body to a man who has not committed himself to me in love epically forever. And I want a child. That is the most honest answer. I spend my life defending everyone else’s children and want one of my own. So to trust the Lord that He’s got all of that. I’m not desperate obviously. I’m not begging. This is not an advertisement to (laughs) Please underline that, underscore that! This is not an advertisement! It’s just simply I want to hold my own child.
Gianna spoke powerfully at the March for Life Chicago rally and really resonated with the crowd. I love how she began with, “I am unashamedly a Christian! Hello media!” I also appreciated how she addressed the counter-demonstrators who had gathered on the other side of the street: “You are loved by God and not forgotten. You are so loved! The Lord Jesus will and can invade your life.” Her talk was brief – only five minutes – but is well worth taking the time to listen.
Also, if you’ve never attended a March for Life, make a point to attend a local one next year, or the national March for Life in D.C. on January 27. Our family, as well as a large group from my church, has attended the one in Chicago for the past three years and we have been so inspired. I highly recommend attending and joining with thousands of other like-minded prolife Americans. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’d like to connect with Gianna personally, or invite her to speak, you can do so at her website: www.giannajessen.com.
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