Octoberbaby movie: the gift of gratitude

Gianna Jessen

In today’s devotional (March 25) from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, it addresses the issue of gratitude, which reminded me of a movie I saw yesterday, Octoberbaby. Sarah writes, “A grateful attitude becomes a grid through which we perceive life. Gratitude enables you to see the light of My Presence shining on all your circumstances. Cultivate a thankful heart, for this glorifies Me and fills you with joy.”

What does gratitude have to do with Octoberbaby, which deals with the issue of abortion? The movie is based on the true-life story of Gianna Jessen, who was born alive after her biological mother had a saline abortion at the age of 17, resulting in Gianna’s cerebral palsy. The cerebral palsy was caused by the lack of oxygen in the womb during the procedure.

The nurse at the abortion clinic was shocked that she was alive and called an ambulance to take her from the abortion clinic to the hospital. Her medical records state, “born during saline abortion.”  She weighed only two pounds at birth and had to stay in the hospital for three months. Ironically, the abortionist had to sign her birth certificate.

Today beautiful Gianna is a vocal pro-life advocate and has spoken to the American Congress and the British House of Commons. She wasn’t expected to be able to hold up her head, sit up, or walk, but now walks with a limp. She completed a marathon in 2005, and a London marathon in 2006. She sings, accompanied by her friend Michael Logen, and has written and recorded songs, including one in Octoberbaby called “Ocean Floor.”

I briefly met Gianna once at a pro-life conference, where she spoke. She’s a devout Christian, full of God’s Spirit, love, joy, and peace. She’s a gifted speaker. The holy presence of God surrounds her when you meet her, and she has a radiant smile.

She exudes gratitude – for simply being alive. Her life truly glorifies God.

After surviving all she has, I don’t think it’s likely that Gianna is going to be moved too much by some of the bad reviews about the movie.

The critics have called the movie Octoberbaby “indecent propaganda,” “extreme agenda,” “drippy,” “weak,” and “unlikely to be seen by the uncoverted.” One critic said, “the film communicates in the language of guilt and fear.”

Of course, the movie has an agenda. Every movie does! The movie did move a little slow, but I wouldn’t call it drippy or weak. My daughter and I laughed at the bearded character B-Mac driving a blue V.W. bus, who reminded us so much of Hugo in the LOST t.v. series. There is guilt and fear before, during, and after an abortion.

As for the uncoverted, I wonder if they’ve known the pain and regret of an abortion.

I felt that this movie’s strength lay in Hannah’s hurt questioning of why she was so unwanted by her biological mother and in the character of the nurse, Mary (played by Jasmine Guy), who shared with Hannah what happened the night of her live birth. “I didn’t see non-viable tissue,” Mary said. “I saw the face of a child.”

These were powerful scenes. But the one which surprised and impacted me the most was the one AFTER the movie, when actress Shari Rigby shared in a brief video clip how this acting role was God-ordained and so closely portrayed her real life over 20 years ago.

Whether you are pro-life or pro-abortion, or a post-abortive mother, I recommend this movie Octoberbaby. And I urge you to stick around awhile AFTER the movie to listen to Shari share her heart.

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