Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson was born Jesse Louis Burns on Oct. 8, 1941, to 16-year-old and unmarried Helen Burns. Helen had herself been born to teenage and unmarried Matilda Burns.

Helen became pregnant with Jesse by next-door neighbor Noah Robinson, a prosperous married man in his 30s with other children. According to laws on the books in all states, Robinson committed statutory rape against Burns. Jesse was the product of that rape.

Noah rejected Helen. Neighbors shunned her. Her church expelled her. She lived in one of the poorest sections of town. She sacrificed her dream of a singing career. Jesse later said Helen’s own doctor even recommended she abort.

Today, Helen would be an abortion industry poster mother. Contending against her pregnancy were rape, scandal, age, poverty, her “health” and a dashed future.

Today, Jesse would be an abortion industry poster child, albeit chopped. Contending against his quality of life were paternal rejection, peer rejection, poor role-modeling and poverty.

It is most remarkable that Jackson is pro-abortion given the circumstances of his birth. He would have to counsel to abort himself.

The upcoming referendum in South Dakota to ban all abortions except to the save the life of the mother would easily pass – by 52-63 percent depending on the poll – if it specifically included a rape/incest exception.

(The ban does guarantee the morning-after pill would remain available to rape/incest victims, which works up to three days after unprotected sex.)

It is too bad Jesse won’t support the ban, particularly since South Dakota contains the poorest counties in the country, and there is a high rape rate among minority Native Americans.

Sympathy for rape/incest victims is in large part what drives the American public to stomach abortion. Abortion sellers know this and have successfully used rape/incest victims as a wedge to fight any stopgaps against abortion whatsoever, even while admitting only 1 percent of all abortions are for rape/incest.

Jesse could offer living hope rather than killing despair. Whether we agree with Jesse’s politics or not, we can agree he surmounted the obstacles of his birth, as did his mother. I’m sure they’re both glad he’s here, as was the man who later married Helen and adopted Jesse, Charles Jackson.

But Jesse actually does have hope and advice to offer South Dakotans considering their abortion ban, from an essay he wrote when he was still pro-life in 1977:

  • “Biologically speaking, thousands of male sperms are ejaculated into the female reproductive tract during sexual intercourse, but only once in a while do the egg and sperm bring about fertilization. Some call that connection accidental, but I choose to call it providential.”

  • “Some argue, suppose the woman does not want to have the baby. They say the very fact that she does not want the baby means that the psychological damage to the child is reason enough to abort the baby. I disagree. The solution to that problem is not to kill the innocent baby, but to deal with her values and her attitude toward life. …”

  • “Some women argue that the man does not have the baby and will not be responsible for the baby after it is born, therefore it is all right to kill the baby. Again, the logic is off. The premise is that the man is irresponsible. If that is the problem, then deal with making him responsible … not with the weak, innocent and unprotected baby. …”

  • “Some people may, unconsciously, operate their lives as if pleasure is life’s highest good, and pain and suffering man’s greatest enemy. … My position is not to negate pleasure nor elevate suffering, but merely to argue against their being elevated to an ultimate end of life.”

  • “Psychiatrists, social workers and doctors often argue for abortion on the basis that the child will grow up mentally and emotionally scared. But who of us is complete? If incompleteness were the criteria for taking life, we would all be dead.”

  • “What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? … It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system and our mindset with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.”

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