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Abortion Survivors

It is something that is rarely discussed, but sometimes children do survive abortion attempts. It’s impossible to know exactly how many survive. However, here are just four stories of individuals we know have survived abortion attempts. Some of them escaped relatively unharmed. Others were profoundly injured by their abortions. Their stories deserved to be told, regardless. A photo of the abortion survivor has been provided so that you can attach a real human face to the victims of abortions, who are so often dehumanised by efforts to defend abortion.

What can we say to these people, “We’re sorry that you’re missing a limb as a result of that failed abortion, but the abortion attempt was in your mother’s best interest, as well as yours and society’s and the world’s”? Or, “Your injuries are awful; better technology and skill should have been available to abort you correctly, so that you would not have lived to either ‘enslave’ your mother or suffer yourself”?
 - D.N. Rivera


Gianna Jessen



On April 6, 1977, Gianna’s 17 year old birthmother (named Tina) sought a saline abortion at seven months pregnant. Saline abortions involve injecting a caustic saline solution into the amniotic fluid, which (normally) causes the foetus to be scalded to death and then delivered dead. In this case, however, things didn’t go according to plan. In the early hours of April 7th, Tina went into labour and gave birth to a living baby girl, Gianna.


Fortunately for Gianna, she was born before the abortionist had arrived at the clinic for the day. As a result, instead of being killed at birth by the abortionist, she was transported to a hospital. She was severely injured by the abortion attempt, requiring a three month stay in the hospital, but she survived to be placed in a foster family specialising in high risk babies.

As a result of injuries from the abortion, Gianna was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Doctors believed she would never be able to sit up, let alone walk. She surpassed all expectations. Today she is able to run, dance, and walk…and has even taken up rock climbing. She has also become a tireless advocate for the pro-life cause.

Many would expect Gianna to be bitter or angry about the fact her birthmother tried to abort her, especially at such a late point in the pregnancy. However, Gianna does not have any hatred towards her birthmother. She has forgiven her mother for the traumatic circumstances of her birth and treats the post-abortion women who hear her speak with compassion.

On April 22, 1996, Gianna testified before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of abortion. Sadly, out of 13 members of the subcommittee, only 2 were willing to listen to her testimony; abortion supporters boycotted the meeting.



Hear Gianna's inspiring talk at Victoria's Parliament House (Australia) 2008 Part 1 / Part 2




Melissa Ohden


Melissa's medical records reveal she was born during a failed saline abortion on August 29, 1977, at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, US.


Melissa's adopted mother reports that medical staff said that Melissa was originally placed aside after the procedure, but that a nurse later noticed Melissa making small movements and grunting noises and sought medical attention for her. One of the doctors estimated her to be at 31 weeks gestation; however, Melissa’s birth mother, a 19-year-old unmarried college student, was believed to be around 18 weeks pregnant at the time of the attempted abortion. Melissa was transferred to University of Iowa Hospital, where she was treated in the neonatal intensive care unit for seizures, as well as respiratory and liver problems. In October 1977, she went home with her adoptive family, suffering no long term health problems.


Melissa grew up knowing she was adopted, but at age 14 she learned she survived an abortion attempt. Melissa reported she was initially devastated by this information. She says she later found healing through Christianity and felt called to go public with her story in hopes of influencing the abortion debate.


Hear Melissa's testimony HERE



Heidi Huffman

In 1978, Tina Huffman was a pregnant, unwed 17-year-old from a broken, dysfunctional home. Her mum and dad, as well as her boyfriend’s parents, adamantly insisted she had only one option: abortion. Tina yielded to their demands and had a suction abortion. But the abortionist “missed” Baby Heidi, even though he took most of the placenta and amniotic fluid. Heidi was delivered by C-section several months later. From her earliest years, Heidi attended pro-life rallies, programs and conferences with her mum, and then graduated to picketing and footpath counselling at abortion clinics. Heidi herself says:

“I believe that all young people are survivors of abortion, just like I am, because they too could have been killed under the current policy of our government, which declared us “non-persons” when we were in the womb.”


Sarah Smith


In 1970, three years before Roe vs. Wade knocked down all laws against abortion in the United States, California had already legalised abortion. Sarah’s mother, Betty, had an abortion in Los Angeles. Neither she nor the the abortionist realised she was carrying twins. As a result, one of the twins – Sarah – survived the abortion.

“Somehow, miraculously, I survived!” says Sarah. “My twin brother wasn’t so lucky. Andrew was aborted and we lost him forever. Several weeks later, my mother was shocked to feel me kicking in her womb. She already had five children and she knew what it felt like when a baby kicked in the womb. She instantly knew that somehow she was still pregnant.”


Sarah’s mother went back to the doctor and told him she was still pregnant, that she had made a big mistake and that she wanted to keep this baby.


“To this day, my mother deeply regrets that abortion,” says Sarah. “I know the pain is unbearable for her at times when she looks at me and knows she aborted my twin brother. Mum says ‘the protective hand of Almighty God saved my life,’ that God’s hand covered and hid me in her womb, and protected me from the scalpel of death.”

Sarah survived the abortion, but was born with bilateral, congenital dislocated hips and many other physical handicaps. Nine days after her birth she was taken to an orthopaedic surgeon who applied a cast to each of her tiny legs. “My mum would remove these casts with pliers every Monday morning and take me to the doctor to have new casts put on,” she recounts. “At six weeks I was put into my first body cast. Many surgeries and body casts followed over the next few years.”

Sarah’s life has been painful in many ways, and her future holds more painful surgeries for her. Yet Sarah says she continually thanks God she survived the abortion. But the pain is not hers alone and not merely physical. The emotional pain continues, she says, for everyone in her family. “In memory of my brother Andrew, we bought a memorial gravestone and placed it in a cemetery in Southern California. It reads: Andrew James Smith, Twin Brother of Sarah – in our hearts you’ll always be alive – November 1970.”


Some of the above article is adapted from: http://joseromia.tripod.com/survivors.html
Suggested reading:
Jessica Shaver; GIANNA: ABORTED AND LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT, Tyndale House, 1999 Google: Text of Gianna’s Testimony to the Subcommittee