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The Angel Sang…

giannajensen_1

Ted Har­vey needed a way to com­mu­ni­cate a pro-​​life mes­sage quickly. Prov­i­dence was on his side. He met some­one who could move hearts in a pow­er­ful way.

Ted Har­vey is a mem­ber of the Col­orado State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He was shocked when he heard the agenda for that upcom­ing Mon­day this past May. The House Major­ity Leader was propos­ing a res­o­lu­tion hon­or­ing the 90-​​year anniver­sary of Rocky Moun­tain Planned Parenthood.

Per­fect timing

Har­vey was well aware that despite its air of respectabil­ity, Planned Parenthood’s pol­icy is main­te­nance and sup­port of legal abor­tion. In fact, Planned Par­ent­hood is the largest sin­gle provider of abor­tions and abor­tion refer­rals in the United States.

“I was dis­gusted by the idea that we were sched­uled to pass a res­o­lu­tion hon­or­ing this 90-​​year legacy of geno­cide. I drove home that night won­der­ing what I could say that might pierce the dark­ness dur­ing the debate on this heinous res­o­lu­tion,” he said.
At a pro-​​life func­tion Har­vey attended that week­end, Gianna Jessen sang for those present in a beau­ti­ful voice. Later she told her story, which had been told to her when she was twelve years old by her adop­tive mother.

“When my bio­log­i­cal mother was 17 years old and 7-​​months preg­nant, she went to a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic to have an abor­tion. As God would have it, the abor­tion failed and I was brought into the world. I weighed two pounds and was born with cere­bral palsy.

“For­tu­nately for me, the abor­tion­ist in charge did not report for work until sev­eral hours later. In the mean­time, one alert nurse man­aged to whisk me away to a nearby hospital.

“The doc­tors thought I would never sur­vive. The doc­tors were wrong.” “Imag­ine the tim­ing!” mused Har­vey as he lis­tened to the hand­i­capped young woman. “A sur­vivor of a Planned Par­ent­hood abor­tion arrived in town just days before the Col­orado House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was to cel­e­brate Planned Parenthood’s ‘won­der­ful’ work.”

Although it was too late to sched­ule her to tes­tify before his fel­low leg­is­la­tors, he imme­di­ately asked her if she would sing the national anthem and allow him to tell her story at the final day’s ses­sion of the Col­orado House the fol­low­ing Mon­day. To his sur­prise, she agreed.

A pow­er­ful performance 

On the House floor that morn­ing, all was sweet­ness and light, at first.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Har­vey intro­duced Gianna as a cere­bral palsy spokesper­son who had con­sented to open the ses­sion with her ren­di­tion of The Star Span­gled Ban­ner. As the small 29-​​year old with blond wavy hair approached the micro­phone, she was greeted with a polite rip­ple of applause. Soon the cham­ber was mes­mer­ized by the power of the voice burst­ing forth from her frail body. Halfway through the anthem, she for­got the words and begun to hum. “Please for­give me,” she said. “I am so ner­vous.” When she imme­di­ately began singing again, this time in full voice, every House mem­ber and every cham­ber guest sang along, over 100 voices strong, giv­ing her encour­age­ment.
“I had chills run­ning all over my body,” said Har­vey. “I knew that I had just wit­nessed an act of God.” 

Once more, Gianna had touched hearts. Har­vey noted iron­i­cally that Alice Mad­den, spon­sor of the Planned Par­ent­hood res­o­lu­tion, was the first on her feet.

At the anthem’s con­clu­sion, the House speaker spoke, “Let us all give her a hand not only for her per­for­mance today, but also for her advo­cacy work.” This time the applause thun­dered through the hall—she had every­one in the palm of her hand.

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Intro­duc­ing a hero 

This wel­com­ing atmos­phere con­tin­ued as Har­vey launched into his intro­duc­tion. He explained that because of her low birth weight, the doc­tors believed that she would never creep or walk or even sit up inde­pen­dently. But due to the sup­port and prayers of her fos­ter mother, she began walk­ing with leg braces and a walker shortly before her fourth birthday. 

“She con­tin­ued in phys­i­cal ther­apy and after a total of four surg­eries, she was able to walk with­out assis­tance. Two years ago she entered a health club and said she wanted a pri­vate trainer. At the time her legs could not lift 30 pounds. Today she can leg press 200 pounds.

“She became so phys­i­cally fit that she began run­ning marathons to raise money and aware­ness for cere­bral palsy. She just returned last week from Eng­land where she ran in the Lon­don Marathon. It took her more than 8_​ hours to com­pete. They were tak­ing down the course by the time she made it to the fin­ish line. But she made it, nonethe­less. With bloody feet and aching joints, she fin­ished the race.

“Mem­bers, would you help me rec­og­nize a modern-​​day hero—Gianna Jessen?”

Applause exploded. Once more, Gianna had touched hearts. Har­vey noted iron­i­cally that Alice Mad­den, spon­sor of the Planned Par­ent­hood res­o­lu­tion, was the first on her feet. No one knew there was more, much more, to the story.

The Cham­ber Jolted

When the applause died down, Har­vey explained that Gianna’s cere­bral palsy was not some bio­log­i­cal free fall, but rather the choice of her mother who went to a Planned Par­ent­hood clinic to seek a late-​​term abortion.

“The abor­tion­ist per­formed a saline abor­tion on this 17-​​year-​​old. This pro­ce­dure requires the injec­tion of a high con­cen­tra­tion of saline into the mother’s womb, which the fetus is then bathed in and swal­lows which works inside and out to burn the fetus to death. Within 24 hours the results are nor­mally an induced, still­born abortion.

“As Gianna can tes­tify, the pro­ce­dure is not always 100 per­cent effec­tive. Gianna is an aborted late-​​term fetus who was born alive. The high con­cen­tra­tion of saline in the womb for 24 hours resulted in a lack of oxy­gen to her brain and is the cause of her cere­bral palsy. 

“Mem­bers, today we are going to rec­og­nize the 90th anniver­sary of Rocky Moun­tain Planned Parenthood…”

BANG! At this point, the speaker gaveled Har­vey into silence. 

“Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Har­vey.” the speaker fumed, “I will allow you to con­tinue your intro­duc­tion, but not for the pur­poses of debat­ing a mea­sure now pend­ing before the House.”

“Mr. Speaker, I under­stand. I just wanted to put a face to what we are cel­e­brat­ing today,” con­cluded Har­vey as he relin­quished the microphone. 

Crit­i­cism

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Harvey’s coura­geous act car­ried a price. Not only had he run afoul of the House speaker, but many House mem­bers avoided him the rest of the ses­sion. Har­vey was also under fire by local media. The next day The Den­ver Post head­lined, “Abor­tion Jab Earns Rebuke,” with a promi­nent quote from major­ity leader Alice Mad­den, “I think it was amaz­ingly rude to use a human being as an exam­ple of his per­sonal politics.”

But Har­vey has no regrets. “I have been in the Leg­is­la­ture for five tough years, but this made it all worth­while,” he said. 

Gianna was also glad Har­vey told her story. Toward the end of the Post report, she is quoted, “We need to dis­cuss the human­ity of it. I’m glad to be able to speak up for the chil­dren in the womb,” she said. “If abor­tion is about women’s rights, where were my rights?”

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Speak­ing the Truth

Ted Har­vey did not manip­u­late Gianna Jessen. He did sur­prise the oppo­si­tion with a spe­cial twist to Gianna’s story. 

Some­times the truth hurts deeply. Gianna Jessen is a wit­ness to the truth about abor­tion. She would like the truth to be known. She would like human lives to be saved. 

Defend­ing human life offends some peo­ple because they have let mis­taken ideas or per­sonal self­ish­ness blind them. In this case, the blind­ers were taken off so quickly that those who were pro­mot­ing abor­tion were left star­ing at the facts for one brief moment. 

For them, this was shock treat­ment. It was painful, but it made a pow­er­ful point at a moment when abor­tion was about to fur­ther pro­moted. Doing this took courage from Ted Har­vey and Gianna Jessen, but they are glad they did it. 

There are many ways that the pro-​​life move­ment is work­ing to win hearts, but our leg­is­la­tures con­tinue to be a bat­tle ground where courage is needed. We can pray that our politi­cians gain the courage to do this bat­tle for life. We can also join in our­selves by mak­ing our sup­port for life known to them and by being active in the pro-​​life move­ment our­selves. Every time we do some­thing to pro­mote life we are tak­ing steps in sav­ing lives, lives that are pre­cious both to us and to our Creator.

 Bible

Bible Blurbs

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I con­se­crated you.“
(Jere­miah 1:5)

“The inno­cent and the just you shall not put to death.“
(Exo­dus 23:7)

“From man in regard to his fel­low man I will demand an account­ing for human life.“
(Gen­e­sis 9:5)

“We must obey God rather than men.“
(Acts 5:29)

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Pope Quotes

“…‘All’ human life, as such, is wor­thy of and calls for always being defended and pro­moted. We know well that this truth runs the risk of being con­tra­dicted often by the wide­spread hedo­nism in the socalled wel­fare soci­eties.” (Bene­dict XVI, Feb­ru­ary 5, 2006)

“Man is not the mas­ter of life; rather, he is its cus­to­dian and stew­ard, and under God’s pri­macy, this pri­or­ity of admin­is­trat­ing and pre­serv­ing human life, cre­ated by God, comes auto­mat­i­cally into being.”
(Bene­dict XVI, Feb­ru­ary 5, 2006)

“To be actively pro­life is to con­tribute to the renewal of soci­ety through the pro­mo­tion of the com­mon good.”
(John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, 101)

catechism

CATECHISM Clips

(1915) “As far as pos­si­ble cit­i­zens should take an active part in pub­lic life.”

 (1929) “Social jus­tice can be obtained only in respect­ing the tran­scen­dent dig­nity of man.”

(2273) “The inalien­able right to life of every inno­cent human indi­vid­ual is a con­sti­tu­tive ele­ment of a civil soci­ety and its leg­is­la­tion: … When the state does not place its power at the ser­vice of the rights of each cit­i­zen, and in par­tic­u­lar of the more vul­ner­a­ble, the very foun­da­tions of a state based on law are under­mined.” <

SAINTS AND HEROES

Early Chris­t­ian Debater  
st_justin_martyr

SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR (100-​​165)

Saint Justin was a pagan philoso­pher who con­verted to Chris­tian­ity when he was 30 after read­ing the Scrip­tures and see­ing the hero­ism and faith of mar­tyrs. He spent the rest of his life using his philo­soph­i­cal skills to debate with pagans and explain the faith. He opened a school of pub­lic debate in Rome. He was mar­tyred for being a Chris­t­ian. His writ­ings are still stud­ied today. His feast day is June 1. He is patron saint of speak­ers, philoso­phers, and apologists.

Hand­i­capped Vision­ary 

BLESSED LYDWINA (1380-​​1433)

Lyd­wina (also called Lyd­wid) lived in Hol­land. When she was 16 she had an acci­dent while ice skat­ing which caused her to be per­ma­nently hand­i­capped and in tremen­dous pain. Her pain increased each year. She bore the pain as repa­ra­tion for the sins of oth­ers. In 1407 she began to expe­ri­ence ecstasies and visions in which she par­tic­i­pated in the Pas­sion of Christ, saw pur­ga­tory and heaven, and vis­ited with saints. The last nine­teen years of her life her only food was Com­mu­nion. When her extra­or­di­nary suf­fer­ing attracted wide­spread atten­tion a Church com­mis­sion was appoint to inves­ti­gate. The com­mis­sion declared that her expe­ri­ences were valid. She was can­on­ized in 1890. Her feast day is April 14.

Vocab­u­lary

Advo­cacy - speak­ing or writ­ing in sup­port of some­thing; being in favor of
Geno­cide - the sys­tem­atic killing of, or a pro­gram of action intended to destroy, a whole group of peo­ple
Heinous - out­ra­geously evil or wicked; abom­inable
Mes­mer­ized - to spell­bind, to cap­ture the atten­tion com­pletely
Prov­i­dence - the care or benev­o­lent guid­ance of God
Wit­ness - a per­son who saw, or can give a fi rst­hand account of, something

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One response to “The Angel Sang…”

  1. Alex Kubik

    Check out this more recent video of Gianna!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPF1FhCMPuQ




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