In 2006, former Colorado State Senator Ted Harvey shared a story of courage that is worth revisiting today. Harvey recalls hearing about a “heinous” resolution one Friday afternoon when he was a State Representative, about to leave the chambers for the weekend. The Speaker of the House, a Democrat, announced that an upcoming resolution was slated to honor Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains on its 90th anniversary. This is the same Planned Parenthood affiliate that, earlier this year, was awarded for meeting “abortion quotas.”
Needless to say, the committed Pro-Life legislator was horrified. He couldn’t understand why the Colorado House of Representatives was party to honoring an organization that had wreaked only harm and destruction on Coloradans. The legislator who proposed the hearing was House Majority Leader Alice Madden. Harvey knew he had to do something; he could not remain silently complicit with the event.
That weekend, Harvey attended a Pro-Life event where he heard abortion survivor Gianna Jessen speak. Gianna has cerebral palsy because her teenage mother tried to end her Life through a saline abortion at Planned Parenthood when she was more than 7 months pregnant. In these abortions, saline is injected into the mother’s womb (where her baby is supposed to be protected from all harm). Bombarded by the solution, babies are bathed in, and then ingest saline withinin the amniotic fluid they swallow as they practice for breastfeeding after birth.
Consequently, these babies die by burning to death inside and out before their lifeless bodies are delivered. But amazingly, somehow Gianna survived. The abortion did not kill her, though she was not unscathed by the trauma. Today, she struggles with daily activities because of her condition. But she is alive, and that is the miracle around which she centers her Life. Her gratitude for Life is palpable.
When Harvey met Gianna and witnessed her beautiful singing performances that night, he knew he needed to discuss his dilemma with her. He invited her to extend her stay in Colorado in order to accompany him to the hearing honoring Planned Parenthood. “I’m in, let’s ruin this celebration,” Gianna replied, and they arranged to have her accompanying musician come along so that Gianna might share her gift of music with the House of Representatives.
When Monday morning came, Gianna and Harvey headed to the chambers. Harvey asked the Speaker of the House to allow Gianna, an advocate for cerebral palsy, to sing the national anthem as the day’s activities began. The Speaker immediately announced to all present that Gianna would be singing for them. Her performance ‘brought the House down,’ so to speak, and Gianna was instantly loved by all present. Ironically, the Planned Parenthood resolution sponsor, Alice Madden, was among those who personally congratulated Gianna for her stellar rendition of the anthem.
But many legislators and guests soon changed their tune when Harvey began explaining why Gianna had cerebral palsy. Gianna has cerebral palsy because of the organization they had gathered to honor: Planned Parenthood.
“The cause of Gianna’s cerebral palsy is not because of some biological freak of nature, but rather the choice of her mother,” he told the crowd. Harvey explained the saline abortion that didn’t work. When he connected the final dot for listeners, saying, “today, we are going to recognize the 90th anniversary of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood…,” BANG!, Harvey recalls, “the gavel came down.” The warm fuzzy feelings listeners had about the singer with cerebral palsy and her Pro-Life legislator friend dissipated. The abortion supporters in the room were jolted with a pang of conscience that they otherwise avoid at all costs.
But the truth had been told, and the ears and hearts of those who had heard that truth would never forget. The next day the Speaker of the House told reporters that Harvey had been “amazingly rude” to use “a human being as an example of his personal politics.” But Harvey embraced the rebuke, pointing out the inherent truth: “Gianna Jessen is a human being. She was when she was in her mother’s womb, and she was when she sang the national anthem on the floor of the Colorado House of Representatives.”
We send a big Thank You to all of the Pro-Life legislators who stand in the service of LIFE even when that is not the popular opinion. See Gianna Jessen speak here.