Rebecca Kiessling said she is glad abortion was illegal then.
OXFORD – Rebecca Kiessling knew from childhood that she was adopted. She always dreamed of meeting her birth mother, figuring she’d been a girl who found herself with an unplanned pregnancy and no way to raise a baby.
When she turned 18, Kiessling petitioned for the non-confidential part of her background information. The court records listed her birth mother’s eye color, ethnicity, medical history and many other specifics.
“For father, it said ‘Caucasian’ and ‘of large build,’” the 41-year-old Michigan native told an audience of several hundred at Monday’s annual banquet of Sav-A-Life of Lafayette County at First Baptist Church of Oxford. “I thought, ‘That sounds like a police description.’”
The confirmation that her biological father was the man who viciously raped her mother was devastating.
“I remember feeling so ugly and so unwanted,” she said.
Kiessling eventually was able to contact her birth mother. The younger woman was further traumatized to find her birth mother had sought to have an abortion but found they were illegal in Michigan before Roe v. Wade.
“That was my near-death experience,” Kiessling told the audience. “Whenever you identify yourself as pro-choice, you … are telling me, ‘Your mother should have had the right to abort you.’”
She credits becoming a Christian with giving her life meaning and purpose.
“One of the gorgeous things I’ve learned is that a rapist did not create me,” she said. “My identity is not a product of rape, but a child of God.”
Kiessling became a family law attorney and has handled several pro bono cases regarding adoption and coercive abortion. She splits her time among law practice, speaking, writing and caring for her own five children.
She urged her audience to push for the anti-abortion amendment that will be on Mississippi’s ballot in 2011.
“The fact is that I am alive today is because a pro-life advocate made sure that abortion was illegal at that time in Michigan,” she said. “God thought I was pretty valuable, and you are, too. When you can say, ‘I’m pro-life’ without exception, you get it.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ERROL CASTENS / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau