Abortion survivor talks to Franciscan about life, Christ, love

Gianna Jessen
Gianna Jessen
Photo by Liz Bunnell
Abortion survivor Gianna Jessen meeting the students of Franciscan University.


Gianna Jessen, internationally known pro-life speaker and abortion survivor, spoke to a crowd of over 300 Franciscan University students on Monday night.

Anne Hendershott, director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life, one of the organizations sponsoring the event, introduced Jessen with a quote from Blessed Mother Teresa, “God is using Gianna to remind the world that each human being is precious to Him.”

Jessen was born April 6, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, during the 30th week of her mother’s pregnancy: a survivor of a failed saline abortion attempt.

Jessen said that one of the miracles of her birth was that the abortionist had to sign her birth certificate.

Jessen said that this was God’s way of telling the abortionist, “You will acknowledge her life. I will use the very woman you tried to kill to remind you of My Grace.”

Jessen weighed 2 lbs at birth, and, in her words, was born with “the gift of cerebral palsy.”

“I am not defined by my brokenness. I am defined by Jesus,” Jessen said. She spent three months in the hospital before being placed in foster care. She was adopted at the age of four.

While Jessen’s talk certainly had a pro-life focus, she also addressed our calling as Christians to first and foremost witness to Christ.

“Our world is freaking blowing up,” Jessen said. “We need to be people of courage. It is easy for us to be ‘gung-ho’ about the Christian life when we do not have much of a price to pay.”

Jessen passionately encouraged the students to live a life of passion for Christ, and to let that passion prepare them for the calling from Christ that is on each of their lives.

At one point in her talk, she led everyone in prayer for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

Jessen also encouraged the young men and women present to remain faithful to their unique roles. She encouraged men to be courageous and fearless like the men of “Braveheart.” Jessen reminded the ladies not chase men, but to let the men pursue them.

“If you really want to be fulfilled,” said Jessen. “You want to be chosen and fought for. You know you want to be ‘it.’ You won’t get that by running the show.”

Jessen told the audience not to settle for just any kind of love in a relationship.

“I don’t want average love,” said Jessen. “I want the epic love story. If people waited for God, He would do more than you could believe.”

Jessen’s amazing voice is also a miracle. Because of the saline abortion, she was not supposed to be able to sing. After a period of Q & A, she ended her talk by singing “You Are My Sunshine.”

Jessen’s witness deeply touched those in attendance.

“What struck me the most was how simple her message was,” said JoJoe Delany, a sophomore from Alabama. “We try to complicate things so much. Her message of courage and freedom was encouraging.”