Tales of Real-Life Survivors … of Abortion

Author Alejandro Bermúdez on His Book

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LIMA, Peru, MAR. 5, 2001 (Zenit.org).- “I Survived Abortion,” a book about four women who were not supposed to be born, is not “against” anyone, its author says. It´s just meant as an argument in favor of life.
Alejandro Bermúdez, director of the Catholic news agency ACI-Prensa, did the research for “Yo sobreviví a un aborto” (Planeta+Testimonio), which is on sale in Spain and Latin America. The book does not yet have an English-language publisher.

In the following interview, Bermúdez recounts how this journalistic enterprise began.

–Q: How did this idea, to write a book with the testimonies of four people who survived abortion, originate?

–Bermúdez: The title, “I Survived Abortion,” could be understood in three different ways, as I realized after the book was published. The first, of course, is that I, the author, survived abortion, which isn´t the case, as is clear from the dedication [of the book] to my parents, happy procreators and educators of six children.

The other refers to women who, having had an abortion, survived the devastating physical and moral consequences; but this isn´t the case either.

This is the story of individuals who survived an attempted abortion by their respective mothers and who, for scientifically unknown [reasons], or rather miraculously, remained alive.

–Q: They are four women and the four are North American. Couldn´t you find other testimonies?

–Bermúdez: The original idea, which was proposed to me by my editor Alex Rosal, was to write a report on a single person, Gianna Jessen, a young girl who survived abortion and who went to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, where she made an enormous impression.

Finally Alex and I decided that it would be better to gather several testimonies in one book, and that´s how our journalistic quest began. There were more people on the original list, including a boy and a Latin girl who lost an arm in the abortive process; but finally I decided on the four women who appear in the book.

In fact, given the success of the book, we are already thinking of producing a second, where we give more cases.

–Q: How did you begin to get these testimonies?

–Bermúdez: Each one was a different venture, and I recount it in the book. The first one, Gianna Jessen, was very easy to contact but, in the end, it was her mother, Diana de Paul, who played a determinant role in putting us in touch with her.

Sarah Smith was quite easy, because she herself is the star, so to speak, of a North American pro-life organization, Pro-Life America, presided over by Mr. James Finn. Finn was very important in reproducing Sarah´s testimony.

Then, the testimonies of Audrey Frank and Bridget Hooker resulted from ACI-Prensa´s editor Ursula Murua´s journalistic acuity and the invaluable help of Priests for Life, in the United States.

To get in touch with each of them was quite a feat, but perhaps the most interesting was Audrey Frank who, up until the time of this book, had only consented to give her testimony anonymously. With this book, she decided for the first time to tell her story without hiding behind a pseudonym.

–Q: Which testimony impressed you most?

–Bermúdez: What a question! It is very difficult to choose. Each one has aspects that are “favorites” of mine. In Gianna´s [case], I am especially impressed by her incredible survival. She is the most spectacular of all. Her skin was totally burnt by the saline solution given to her mother! It is difficult to imagine that a woman, as beautiful as she is today, could have had totally scarlet skin from the burns.

I am impressed by the cost of Sarah´s survival and the courage with which she bears it: She has to have hip operations every two years. Just recently, she had another operation.

I am impressed by the incredible description of what happened to Audrey´s mother, which many years later psychiatrists would diagnose as post-abortion syndrome.

Bridget´s life is, without a doubt, the most unusual: inveterate traveler, multilingual, CIA spy apprentice, the possibility of being a religious novice, today the tireless mother of a family. What a story!

–Q: What do these women have to say to an expectant mother with problems of poverty, personal crisis, or any other difficulties?

–Bermúdez: Each one would have something different to say. In fact, in one way or another, this question has been asked each one of them throughout the book.

In fact, the book is no more than an argument in favor of life, of the sacredness of the life of the unborn. It is not a book “against” anybody, not even against the pro-abortion extremists.

The testimony of these women is limited to pointing out, with data from their own life and irrefutable eloquence, that life is the highest good and that death caused by abortion, murder, or euthanasia is, consequently, a grave evil. Therefore, it is never an option, not for ideological or doctrinal reasons, but simply because of common sense.

Gianna Jessen said it clearly once, before the U.S. Congress: Nobody can tell me that I was a mass of cells when the abortionist introduced the saline solution in my mother´s womb to put an end to my life. I was already a human being!

Hence, the first message is that the choice of abortion is never a solution.

–Q: This refers to the unborn. However, what is said to mothers?

–Bermúdez: Perhaps it is the most moving part of the book. All, absolutely all of the women who share their testimony have an attitude of genuine love for their mothers. In Gianna Jessen´s case, she has not personally known her biological mother; but in all the other cases, the relation with the mothers is surprisingly understanding and tender.

Perhaps the most exceptional case is Sarah´s, because she is dedicated to preaching in favor of life with her mother. In one of Sarah´s television appearances, her mother said: “Look at this beautiful girl. Could anyone say I was right in wanting to abort her?” And the program was interrupted by Sarah´s sudden and loving embrace of her mother.

Therefore, the message for mothers is one of profound love and understanding and, precisely because of this, the book is designed to help them avoid the evil of abortion and, with great tenderness, remake their lives.

“Yo sobreviví a un aborto” can be purchased on Internet.

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