‘I did exist’: abortion survivor Penny Hopper comes forward following DeSantis anecdote

Protesters holding signs Save the unborn, Pro Life. People with placards against abortion rights at protest rally demonstration. Concept image.

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A resounding verdict has been cast on the authenticity of the extraordinary narrative shared by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during the recent Republican presidential debate.

The woman at the epicenter of the riveting abortion survival story has again stepped into the spotlight, unequivocally reaffirming the truth of her tale and effectively quelling any doubts that have lingered.

“I did exist,” Miriam “Penny” Hopper declared with unwavering conviction during an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital this week.

Her response serves as a definitive confirmation that her life-defying journey is not a fabrication, standing firm against the waves of skepticism that briefly clouded her story. The expansive debate platform, which commanded an audience of 12.8 million viewers, thrust Hopper’s narrative into the national consciousness.

In the midst of the debate, DeSantis, responding to a query by moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum regarding abortion, introduced Penny’s story as an illustrative example.

“I know a lady in Florida named Penny,” DeSantis recounted. “She survived multiple abortion attempts. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortunately, her grandmother saved her and brought her to a different hospital.”

However, DeSantis’s account was met with swift and fervent skepticism, as critics across social media platforms raised doubts about the plausibility of the narrative and questioned the credibility of the governor’s statement. Detractors utilized various mediums to challenge the narrative shared on a prominent stage.

Steve Schmidt, co-founder of The Lincoln Project and a former GOP consultant, took to social media to voice skepticism, urging for a more thorough examination of the story.

“The story of Penny found in the pan by DeSantis is ludicrous, and obviously untrue. It should be looked into by the media.” In a similar vein, liberal journalist Jill Filipovic expressed incredulity, labeling the story “bizarre and impossible.”

In a resolute response to the skepticism that had emerged, Hopper firmly asserted in that Fox interview, “My answer to that would be the fact that I did exist,” underlining her existence at an astonishingly early stage of her mother’s pregnancy. In a poignant rejoinder, Hopper pointed to the countless abortion survivors worldwide, each possessing their own improbable narratives.

Hopper’s own story initially garnered attention through a pro-life advertisement by Faces of Choice, premiering at the 2020 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Her connection to the organization was facilitated by Melissa Ohden, founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivors Network, a support group for individuals who, like Hopper, emerged from attempted abortions.

According to that same advertisement, Hopper, a Florida resident, recounted her own harrowing survival journey following a failed abortion attempt in 1955. Her mother’s complications in the 23rd week of pregnancy led to a late-night doctor’s visit. Hindered by the medical tools of that era, the physician struggled to detect a fetal heartbeat, resulting in a recommendation to terminate the pregnancy. Defying the odds, Hopper was born prematurely at 3:25 a.m. on November 29, 1955, weighing a mere 1 pound and 11 ounces.

Placed in a bedpan on the clinic’s back porch, Hopper’s story took a compelling turn with the intervention of her grandmother and aunt, culminating in the involvement of law enforcement. A nurse orchestrated her transfer to a hospital in Lakeland, Florida.

It was further reported in the Associated Press that Hopper has carried the profound weight of being labeled a “miracle.” Her remarkable survival and the intricacies of her birth narrative continue to ignite discussions about the boundaries of human determination and the indomitable force of life itself.

For her part, Hopper has expressed both humility and excitement over the fact that DeSantis chose to share her story on a national platform. “You know that you’ve known your story all your life, but you’re not the only one out there to tell a story – that’s got stories to tell. I was very humbled by it,” she conveyed during the Fox News Digital interview.

The media’s swift dismissal and skepticism surrounding accounts like Penny Hopper’s reflect a broader paradox in contemporary discourse. While media platforms often champion the value of diverse voices and stories, their readiness to reject narratives that challenge mainstream assumptions underscores a certain hypocrisy.

In an era emphasizing inclusivity and respect for individual experiences, such dismissals undermine the very principles media claim to uphold. By preemptively labeling certain stories as “improbable” or “bizarre,” media outlets risk marginalizing perspectives that don’t align with prevailing viewpoints, effectively stifling genuine dialogue and denying the complexity of human experiences.

This incongruity between media rhetoric and practice brings into question the role of journalism in truly embracing diverse narratives, regardless of how unconventional they may initially seem.

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