Back when Becky Bell's parents tried to keep other people's daughters from dying because they couldn't bear to tell their parents they were pregnant, Gianna's adoptive mother Diana DePaul started taking her teenage daughter on talk shows to give a face to aborted children. No one seemed to be speaking for the babies and their rights in 1991, and 14-year-old Gianna spoke powerfully for herself. She took her daughter on Maury Povich, the 700 Club, and began accepting speaking assignments for $500 an appearance before Gianna was even 15. None of these early stories mentioned Planned Parenthood, or the clinic or doctor that performed the procedure.
Gianna spoke before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996, and didn't mention Planned Parenthood, either, though she seemed to claim to know details regarding her birth that would either have come from her biological mother or nurses. No names are mentioned.
A book came out in 1995, claiming that her birth mother's name was "Tina" and she had went to Planned Parenthood for help obtaining an abortion, but the full text of Shaver's book isn't available in electronic format. (Update: text of book analyzed at link.) Varied accounts exist online of a horrific experience and "Tina's" sorrowful regret, anger at being deceived by people who pressured her into an abortion, and desire never to hurt her child by forcing them to meet.
Jessen herself has made several statements about contact with her biological mother. Stories have ranged from the earlier story about Diana hiring a PI when their story met scrutiny in 1992, that Diana met with "Tina" in 1994-1995 in person, to a woman claiming to be her biological mother "spewing hate" at her, as relayed in 2007 to James Dobson:
If that was her mother, the account seems to sit poorly next to the regretful, pro-life "Tina" allegedly interviewed in Shaver's 1995 biography.
In 2008, "Jessen" (acknowledged to be a stage name) got media attention as a result of the election campaign and Obama's alleged opposition to legislation to protect the lives of babies born alive during abortion procedures. Scrutiny compelled Jessen to release her birth certificate, which was obviously the one re-issued by California after her adoption (as it lists her parents as "Diana" and "Peter"). This document listed the doctor as Edward C. Allred, the former owner of Family Planning Associates in California. However, there's no evidence he ever worked for Planned Parenthood.
Dr. Allred started his abortion practice in 1969, and in 1977 was receiving referrals from many physicians, hospitals, and yes, Planned Parenthood. As the rest of the article says (available on the LA Times archive), saline abortions could not be performed outside of a hospital. He performed all his saline abortions at Avalon Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles in 1977, which is cited by numerous pro-life organizations as the location of the April 6, 1977 attempted saline abortion.
There's no way that a saline abortion could have been provided by Planned Parenthood, as Jessen heavily implies in her recent testimony. I'm sure Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles can confirm they performed no saline abortions at their clinics in 1977, and that Dr. Edward Allred was not a PPLA employee. He sued them once for "stealing" his business when insurance started covering abortion, so I don't think they're his biggest fans.
So, if Planned Parenthood was involved at all, the most they did was tell "Tina" about Dr. Allred. The only "evidence" of Planned Parenthood's involvement is a dramatic tale of a regretful, pro-life teen being pressured and deceived by counselors - in a book, without any sourcing for the lurid story, and in contradiction to Jessen's own alleged experience with a hate-spewing monster who wasn't sorry at all.
So where is the proof? What relevance does her tragedy even have on deciding whether or not to keep using Planned Parenthood as a provider for federally subsidized birth control?
In reality, her story is a testament to why Planned Parenthood is needed. If her mother did actually go to Planned Parenthood in April of 1977, that wasn't the mistake that led to Gianna Jessen's medical torture by saline.
The mistake was going about nine months too late.
8:15 AM PT: Thanks to OpenLibrary I was able to access Jessica Shaver's 1995 biography of Gianna, which seems to be the only "source" for Planned Parenthood's involvement.
The first chapter is an abortion scene straight out of pro-life nightmares, with a doctor who never spoke a word to "Tina", nurses who refused to even let the 30 teenaged girls waiting to deliver dead babies listen to the radio or for "Tina" to wear the yellow robe she brought, and the stunned realization that the fetus she had felt move inside her actually had a head - "How can tissue have a head?" is alleged to be her thought, on page 8.
Trouble is, the details don't add up. For instance, "Tina" allegedly remembered that day so clearly that she even remembered the song that played briefly before the irritated nurse demanded the radio be shut off - "'You light up my life...' sang a clear, comforting voice." (Page 7).
The movie that song was from didn't come out until August 31, 1977 - neither the version on the original soundtrack nor the cover by Debby Boone would have been on the radio on April 5, 1977.
The book also seems to use an unsourced third person narrator for many sections, gendered as female but referred to throughout as "the reporter" - if this is supposed to be Jessica Shaver, it is certainly an unusual language construction. "The reporter" is alleged to have interviewed Gianna at age 13 (Page 77), then later interviewed "Tina".
Also according to the biography, this wasn't Gianna's first time speaking to reporters or the public - that occurred shortly after her 13th birthday in 1990 (Page 69).
In all of the book, the only connection to Planned Parenthood is made by "Tina" in her interview with "the reporter" (and also allegedly from "Tina" to DePaul in their supposed meeting), where the evil counselors from Planned Parenthood are alleged to have told her all sorts of falsehoods and engaged in coercive persuasion to get a frightened 17-year-old girl to abort a child she claimed she knew she was "blessed" with "from the moment [she] conceived her" (Page 236).
It's interesting to me that, if "Tina" really wanted Planned Parenthood shut down like she allegedly told Diana on page 245, that she has never spoken with a legitimate reporter who could authenticate her identity without revealing it. I really hope, for Gianna's sake, that no hateful monster of a woman approached her and spewed venom at her in 2006 (and if she did experience something so awful, that the woman was just a random crazy person and not really her mother). But it's interesting that she hasn't spoken of the sympathetic "Tina" described by Shaver since, and has seemingly accepted that the cruel woman really was her mother.
If they truly believed Shaver had been in contact with Gianna's biological mother, it seems strange that she should latch on to this version instead. If they knew the story in Shaver's book was fictional, it fits, though.
Mon Sep 14, 2015 at 6:38 PM PT: Please check out Part Two of this series, which addresses how the myth that Gianna's mother's abortion took place at Planned Parenthood started, and how Gianna herself has contributed to the deception.
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