There is often talk of abortion, of laws protecting women or fetuses, of the right to life or of conscientious objectors. Sometimes we come to think of abortion as the most convenient solution, without pausing to reflect on what it really means. We are interrupting the life of a living being, not yet outside the womb but still living and above all innocent.
Except in cases where the life of the mother or the fetus is in danger, it is almost impossible to understand women who decide to have an abortion, as if it were something totally normal and common; instead of giving birth to the baby and then giving it up for adoption, considering that there are many people in the world who want the joy of a child and who can not have it. Perhaps knowing the history and the testimonies of those who survived an abortion, we will see things and life from a different perspective.
Gianna Jessen had been in the womb for 7 months before her mother decided to undergo a saline abortion. A saline abortion occurs as follows: a saline solution (which includes substances such as saline, digoxin, potassium chloride, prostaglandin) is injected into the mother’s uterus and into the baby. The solution is poisonous and literally ends up corroding from the inside and out. The fetus will suffer under these conditions for over an hour until it dies, and the mother will have to give birth to a stillborn fetus around the next day.
Gianna Jessen however, survived abortion, coming to light still alive. The child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy due to lack of oxygen during the abortion procedure. But from the age of 4, Jessen walked with the help of a walker, guardians and foster mother and today she is limping only slightly. “Death has not prevailed over me and I am so happy!” Says Jessen, who now supports activism in favour of life.
Melissa Ohden’s mother was a 19-year-old student when she found out she was pregnant. She had a saline abortion: the baby survived and it was discovered that she was about 7 months old. The girl was adopted and grew up in a happy and loving family. At the age of 14, she discovered that she had survived abortion, which led her to search for her biological parents, whom she contacted and forgiven for trying to abort her. Today, Ohden is also an activist in favour of life and has founded Abortion Survivors Network (ASN), which aims to educate the public about failed abortions and survivors, providing them with emotional and mental support. Today the ASN has reached over 210 abortion survivors. “There’s something wrong when women’s emancipation that is based on putting an end to another human’s life,” says Ohden.
Claire Culwell’s mother, Tonya Glasby, was only 13 when she found out she was pregnant. Her parents pressured her for abortion and after five months she opted for it. However, the doctors did not know that the teenager was expecting twins and only aborted one of them. Culwell remained alive in the mother’s womb. After the abortion, Tonya continued to feel kicking. Realising she was still pregnant. She went to another state to have another abortion, but the doctors considered the procedure too risky.
Claire was born at 7 months with her hips dislocated and her feet twisted. Despite the obstacles faced due to abortion, Claire was adopted. At the age of 20, she started looking for the biological mother. When she found her, she shared her childhood memories with her, she forgave her and even thanked her for saving her life. “Here’s what it means to survive an abortion. My hips were dislocated, my feet were twisted and I was completely plastered to correct what had caused the abortion. But I still deserved to live,” says Claire.
A woman from South Korea was two months pregnant with Josiah Presley when she decided to have an abortion. Shortly after the procedure, she realised she was still pregnant: the abortion was not successful. So she chose to give birth to her baby and then give it up for adoption. Josiah was born with the left arm shortened because of the missed abortion. He was adopted by a family in the United States. He later discovered that the biological mother had attempted abortion, which brought about hatred against her. In the end, however, he managed to forgive the woman for what she had done. “What makes babies born prematurely different from us, besides the fact that they are innocent and can not defend themselves against these huge abortion bullies that kill them?”, asks Presley.
In Siberia, in 1996, Nik Hoot’s mother chose abortion when she was in the 24th week of pregnancy. It was a missed abortion and because of that, Hoot was born with missing parts in both legs and without fully developed fingers. His parents, Marvin and Apryl Woodburn, adopted him after a priest told them that “they had to respect all forms of life, even those with disabilities“. Just 2 years old, Hoot received his first leg prosthetics. After only a couple of weeks, he walked alone. He developed a love for sport and played soccer, baseball, basketball and today he wrestles, despite his disability.
Hoot is an inspiration for many: if he manages to achieve similar results despite the sad reality he faces, it means that there is no limit to what each of us can do, despite the obstacles we face. “There are things I can not do, but I’ll try anyway, I’ll learn how to do them,” says Hoot.
Survivors of abortion are perhaps the strongest message that can be given: they are proof that all life, both the one that has seen the light and the one that is still in the womb, must be respected. They are the voice and the face of all those children who deserve to live and must be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. Before considering an abortion, it is necessary to understand how precious that little human being is in the womb of every woman. And nothing could do it better than these testimonies.