Whenever attorney Rebecca Kiessling hears people condemn abortion except in the case of rape or incest, she feels a deep personal pain.
She was conceived during a rape. Her birth mother attempted to get an abortion, but they were illegal at the time and she ultimately decided against it. Her frightened mother gave up her baby for adoption instead.
Kiessling was adopted by a Jewish couple in Michigan who raised her in their faith and encouraged her to become a lawyer. Until her late teens, she had no idea of the circumstances of her birth or the identity of her birth mother.
Last week, Kiessling spoke to about 350 people in Concord’s Sacred Heart Church after most had just completed the annual March for Life from the New Hampshire State House to the church.
“The biggest message I have is all life has value,” Kiessling said.
Kiessling, 32, of Rochester Hills, Mich., is a semi-retired Christian lawyer, having closed her law office to take care of her family and speak around the country.
She still does some pro-bono legal work for women and pro-life groups.
She and her husband, Bob, adopted their son Caleb, who often travels with her. His birth mother was 16 and conceived him at a rave party.
The Kiesslings also adopted a daughter, Cassie, who lived for only 33 days and died of DiGeorge syndrome, which is a rare group of abnormalities including recurring infections and heart defects.
“It’s so sad that people could look at Cassie and say she wasn’t as good,” Kiessling said. Kiessling said society too often judges people by whether they are a burden or benefit without acknowledging the true value of each human life.
“It was an honor to take care of her . . . It was the most important thing I’ve ever done,” Kiessling said.
Kiessling believes God has a special place in his heart for disabled children. “Each one of our lives makes a difference and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Kiessling said.