International Women's Day
Yesterday was International Women’s Day and National Review Online ran a symposium on “Women the World Should Know.” The entries were really wonderful — showing a diversity of women committed to bettering the world. There are gripping stories: Nour Hoyday was Steven Vincent’s translator in Iraq and was shot and left for dead when he was kidnapped and killed by Shiite militia; she is now working to carry on Vincent’s work.
Others inspire to action: Lisa Thompson tells the story of Josephine Butler who fought legalized prostitution in the late 1800’s. We think many of the issues we fight today are new. But they are not.
And there is the story from Ann Corkery of a woman who was also my friend, Joan Prince. Joanie was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with one of her four children, and Ann tells this story:
. . .when the doctor told her euphemistically that he needed to “interrupt” the pregnancy, she jokingly asked him when she could resume it. As her precious body nourished her unborn baby, it also allowed the cancer to flourish. . .
Seeing those four children — so beautiful, dignified and well-behaved — paying tribute to Joan at her funeral was a heartbreaking sight I’ll never forget. I worked with Joan when she was young, vibrant and joyously in love with the man who became the father of her children. It’s still hard to believe she’s gone.
My entry pays tribute to a young woman readers of this blog will recognize: Gianna Jessen:
Gianna Jessen was born April 6, 1977, two months premature . . . after surviving a saline abortion.
As a result of oxygen deprivation from swallowing the saline in utero, Gianna has cerebral palsy. Gianna was a teenager when she found out the reason for her disability. Her response? “Well, at least I have cerebral palsy for an interesting reason.”
Gianna has set out with incredible determination to turn that reason into something far more than merely interesting. She is a walking indictment of an ideology that has sanctified choice over humanity. In 2000, she testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on the Born-Alive Victims Act, courageously asking the august assembly: “Where is the soul of America?! Members of this committee: where is your heart?”
When Gianna was a baby, the doctors told her foster mother that she would never walk. Last year, she ran Nashville’s Country Music Marathon.
She finished last. In 7 hours and 35 minutes.
This April, she’ll run the London marathon.
That’s the kind of story of strength, determination, and inspiration that would land any other young woman on the cover of magazines like, say, Ms. But don’t look for feminists to spread the word.
So let’s do help tell her story: Gianna Jessen is a woman the world needs to know.