By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Gianna Jessen was born in an abortion facility.
A survivor of saline abortion, she was rescued by a nurse and sent to a hospital.
“They said this baby girl wouldn’t live, but I just kept on living,” she said.
Jessen has been telling her story for more than 20 years. She eventually told it before Congress, and the result was the Born Alive Act, which requires life-saving medical care for babies that survive abortion attempts.
She spoke Monday at the annual banquet of Sav-A-Life of Lafayette County, hosted by First Baptist Church of Oxford.
As compelling as the pro-life message is, Jessen said it’s not a standalone philosophy but one part of Christianity.
“My mission in life is Jesus,” she told the audience of about 400. “It is not the pro-life movement and then Jesus wherever he fits in. ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven, and all these things will be added unto you.’”
She admitted both sides of her message offend people.
“I survived an abortion not so I could sit around making everybody happy,” she said, “but so I could dare to offend someone and awake them.”
The movie “October Baby” is based loosely on Jessen’s life. The film portrays a young woman who unexpectedly discovers she was an abortion survivor. While the movie is fictionalized, some scenes were enough like her own to be “incredibly healing,” she said.
Jessen said abortion is not just a problem for women but for men, too.
“You are made to defend women and children – not to use them and abandon them,” she said.
Jessen’s visit to Oxford was to encourage the work and support of Sav-A-Life, a crisis pregnancy center.
Treasurer Midge McCay outlined the help that Sav-A-Life offers to women with crisis pregnancies or who are afraid they might be pregnant. In addition to Christian counseling and parenting classes, women with a positive pregnancy test can see ultrasound images of their babies and are given clothing, furniture and other forms of support.
“When a woman has a crisis pregnancy, the answer is not to terminate the pregnancy,” McCay said. “It’s to terminate the crisis.”