A detailed biography of an abortion survivor; an account that anti-life feminists cannot refute.
Imagine going to an abortion clinic to have your baby killed by salt poisoning, only to see her emerge from the birth canal, alive and screaming like a regular newborn.
The account of the attempt to kill Gianna Jessen by a saline (salt poisoning) abortion is riveting without being gory. Chapter one, which narrates the circumstances of her attempted killing in April 1977, is eight pages of right-to-life literature which every abortion activist, both pro- and anti-life, should read.
The rest of the biography of Gianna’s life (up to the book’s publication in 1995) is, as they say, history. She was adopted into a loving Christian family, pursued her career as a musician, and began travelling extensively to promote the pro-life movement.
It is especially interesting for a reader in 2021 to know that tactics of activists in the anti-life movement have not changed since the 1990s. The abortionist who tried to kill her was impersonal (6). Anti-life hostility to people with disabilities is manifest when an anti-lifer screams, “Children with disabilities are a burden to society!” (91). Anti-lifers heckled pro-lifers with vulgar and profane language in 1991 as Antifa domestic terrorists and pro-abortion Democrats do today (102ff). Escorts at clinics run by abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood were described as “demonic” then as they can still be described now (119).
Other things about abortion since the 1990s have not changed. One is the reaction of other aborted mothers to Gianna’s birth: “It’s a baby!” (9). Another is the effect of post-abortion trauma, this time evidenced in Gianna’s violent reaction to something as normal as a blazing fireplace: “She is subconsciously reliving the abortion. The roaring and crackling sounds recapitulate the effect of the saline solution as it burned her in the womb” (44-5). An aborted mother confesses an abortion she had kept secret for years (72-3). Fortunately, more abortion survivors are bold enough to share their accounts of how they were almost killed (207ff). It’s difficult being for the “choice” of abortion when a fellow human being states that he or she was almost killed.
Feminists will recoil at the idea, repeated throughout the biography, that mothers who abort are ignorant of their choice: “You didn’t know what you were doing” (72), Gianna tells mothers who disclose their abortions to her. Pro-abortion feminists want mothers to affirm that their desire to have an abortion is intentional, so this part of the biography would not only offend anti-life feminists, but also intensify the post-abortion syndrome (PAS) that aborted mothers experience. Fortunately, pro-life psychological services can help mothers overcome the deep regret they have.
The biography has definite flaws. Beyond the chapter one account, most of this biography is repetitious. Also, the author refers to herself as “this [or “the”] reporter” when first person would have been smoother. Despite these flaws, the biography can be read in half a day and qualifies as an important contribution to the literature of pro-life feminism.