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Gianna Jessen



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Jessen was born April 6, 1977 in Los Angeles, California. She was born during the 30th week of pregnancy; her medical records indicate she was born during a failed saline abortion attempt. Jessen’s birth certificate is signed by the doctor who was performing the abortion. Jessen weighed 2 lbs at birth, and she was born with cerebral palsy, a non-progressive, non-contagious motor condition that affects various areas of body movement. Jessen spent three months in the hospital before being placed in foster care. She was adopted at the age of four.

Jessen’s career as an activist began in 1991, when she was 14. At that time, her adoptive mother, Dianna DePaul, told Jessen she was born to a 17 year old girl, during a failed abortion attempt. Jessen has since campaigned against abortion, saying “It’s more comfortable for people to think of abortion as a political decision, or a right. But I am not a right. I am a human being”. Jessen said she’s forgiven her birth mother. Jessen has also campaigned against exceptions to late-term abortion laws, on the grounds of fetal disability, citing her own disability. Jessen is a stage name that was adopted when she began her activism.

In 1995, four years after Jessen was placed in the national spotlight, author Jessica Shaver published a biography on Jessen, entitled “Gianna, Aborted…and Lived to Tell About It.”


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