I recently heard for the first time a powerful speech given in 2008 by abortion survivor Gianna Jessen at Parliament House in Victoria, Australia. I heard about it from an Illinois high school student who is using Jessen’s address in competition for her high school’s speech team—even though she was initially advised against doing so by her coaches! Gianna Jessen’s address is definitely worth sharing, so I’ve included the video below, which is followed by a transcript.
Address at Parliament House, Victoria, Australia, September 8, 2008
by Gianna Jessen
I’m adopted and my biological mother was 17 and so was my biological father. She was 7 and a half months pregnant when she decided to go to Planned Parenthood, which is the largest abortion provider in the world. And they counseled her to have a late term saline abortion, which is a saline solution that is injected into the mother’s womb. The baby gulps that solution, it burns the baby inside and out and then she is to deliver a dead baby within 24 hours. And to everyone’s great shock and surprise I didn’t arrive dead but alive on April the 6th, 1977 in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic. What’s fantastic about this, about the perfect timing of my arrival, is that the abortionist was not on duty yet. So he wasn’t even given the opportunity to continue on with his plan for my life, which was death. And I know that I am in a government building and a beautiful one it is and I love your country as well as my own. But I know in the age that we live in it is not at all politically correct to say the name of Jesus Christ in places like this; to bring him into these sorts of meetings because his name can make people so terribly uncomfortable. But I didn’t survive so I could make everyone comfortable. I survived so I could stir things up a bit and I have a great time doing it. And so I was delivered alive, as I’ve already said, after 18 hours. I should be blind, I should be burned, I should be dead. And yet I’m not. You know what is fantastic vindication is the fact that the abortionist had to sign my birth certificate. So I know who he is. And it also says, for any skeptic listening, on my medical records: “born during saline abortion.” Ha! They didn’t win. I’ve done some research on the man that performed the abortion on me. And his clinics are the largest chain of clinics in the United States of America and they gross $70 million a year. I read him say, I read a quote from him at some point several years ago and he said, “I have aborted over a million babies and I consider it my passion.” I tell you these things because, listen ladies and gentlemen, we are in an interesting battle, whether we realize it or not, in this world. It is a battle between life and death. What side are you on? So a nurse called an ambulance and had me transferred to a hospital, which is absolutely miraculous. Generally, the practice at the time and up until 2002, was, in my country, was to end the life of an abortion survivor by strangulation, suffocation, leaving the baby there to die, or throwing the baby away. But on August the 5th 2002, my extraordinary President Bush signed into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act to prevent that from occurring anymore. You see, we’re playing for keeps. I mean I’m hoping to be hated by the time I die so I can feel God about me and understand what it was to be hated. I mean, He was hated, Christ was hated. And not that I look forward to being hated, but I know along my journey, I know I’m already hated because I declare life. I say you didn’t get me. The silent holocaust didn’t win over me. And my mission, ladies and gentlemen, among many things is this: to infuse humanity into a debate that we have just compartmentalized and set on a shelf and said it is an issue. We have removed our emotions, we are becoming harder. Do you really want that? How much are you willing to take and how much are you willing to risk to speak the truth in love and graciousness and stand up and at least be willing to be hated? Or at the end of the day is it all about you? Or me? And so, after that I was placed in an emergency foster care home where they decided they didn’t like me very well. And as I’m fond of saying, I don’t know how you could not adore me right from the start. What is wrong with these people? But they didn’t. You see, I’ve been hated since conception by so many and loved by so many more, but most especially by God. I’m his girl. You don’t mess with God’s girl. I’ve got a sign on my forehead that says, “You better be nice to me because my father runs the world.” So after I was placed in the mean home, I was taken out of the mean home and placed into another home. A beautiful home.Penny’s home. She said by this time I was 17 months old, 32 pounds of dead weight, and diagnosed with what I consider to be the gift of cerebral palsy, which was caused directly by the lack of oxygen to my brain while I was trying to survive. Now I am just compelled to say this. If abortion is merely about women’s rights, ladies and gentlemen, then what were mine? 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. And, ladies and gentlemen, I would not have cerebral palsy had I not survived all of this. So when I hear the appalling, disgusting argument that we should have abortions because the child just might be disabled. Auh! The horror that fills my heart. Ladies and gentlemen, there are things that you will only be able to learn by the weakest among us. And when you snuff them out, you are the one that loses. The Lord looks after them but you are the one that will suffer forever. And what arrogance, what absolute arrogance. And it has been an argument for so long in this human place that we live, that the stronger should dominate the weaker, should determine who lives or dies. The arrogance of that! Don’t you realize that you cannot make your own heartbeat? Don’t you realize that all the power you think you possess, you really possess none of it, it is the mercy of God that sustains you, even when you hate Him. So they looked at my dear Penny and they said, “Gianna will never be anything.” Which is always encouraging. And she decided to ignore them and she worked with me three times a day and I began to hold up my head and they said, “Well, Gianna will never this and never that.” Long story shorter, I was walking by the age of three and a half with a walker and leg braces and I stand up here today with a mild little limp and without a walker and leg braces. I fall gracefully sometimes and very ungracefully at other times, depending on the situation. But I consider it all for the glory of God. You see, ladies and gentlemen, I am weaker than most of you, but this is my sermon. And what a small price to pay to be able to blaze through the world as I do and offer hope. And I think in our misunderstanding of the way things work, we misunderstand how beautiful suffering can be. I don’t willingly sign up for it. But when it comes we forget, we forget that God is in control and God has a way of making the most miserable thing beautiful. I have met my biological mother. I have forgiven my biological mother. I am a Christian. She’s a very broken woman. She came to an event I was having two years ago, showed up unannounced, and said, “Hello, I’m your mother.” It was a very difficult day, and yet while I was enduring all of this (you’ll probably think I’m silly) but I was sitting there and thinking: I don’t belong to you. I belong to Christ. I’m his girl, and I’m a princess. So no matter what you say in all your anger, and brokenness, and rage, it’s not mine to keep. It’s not mine to carry. And I won’t. I was saying all this inside. So ladies and gentlemen, you have an opportunity. But for just a brief moment I would like to speak directly to the men in this room and do something that is never done. Men, you are made for greatness. You are made to stand up and be men. You are made to defend women and children. Not stand by and turn your head when you know murder is occurring and do nothing about it. You are not made to use women and leave us alone. You are made to be kind and great and gracious and strong and stand for something. Because, men listen to me, I am too tired to do your job. Women, you are not made for abuse. You are not made to sit and and not know your worth and your value. You are made to be fought for. Forever. So now is your moment. What sort of people are you going to be? I trust incredible. I trust, men, you will rise to the occasion. To the politicians listening, particularly to the men, I would say this: “You are made for greatness, set your politics aside.” You are made to defend what is right and good. This fiery young girl will stand here and say, “Now’s your moment.” What sort of man do you want to be? A man obsessed with your own glory or a man obsessed with the glory of God? It’s time to take a stand, Victoria. This is your hour. God will assist you. God will be with you. You have the opportunity to glorify and honor God in 2008. I’ll just end with this. Some of you might be slightly annoyed that all I keep doing is talking about God and Jesus. But how on earth can I walk about, limping through this world and not give all my heart, and mind, and soul, and strength to the Christ who gave me life? So if you think I’m a fool, it’s just another jewel in my crown. My whole intent in living here is to make God smile. I hope some of this made sense. It just came from my heart. God bless and keep you.
A transcript of Gianna Jessen’s address at Parliament House is also available as a PDF.