An Abortion Survivor Tells Her Story
By Leah Sedelle Chapman Published October 26, 2010
This was pro-life speaker Melissa Ohden’s response to being referred to as a miracle child. Melissa survived a saline abortion.
When her mother was 19 she found herself pregnant. Her parents forced her to get an abortion and actually drove her to the clinic. Ohden’s mother received a saline abortion, where a solution was ejected into her uterus and meant to be released into the child’s lungs to cause them to burn up so that the child, unable to breathe, would die. This form of abortion typically takes three days, until finally the mother goes into forced labor to give birth to the now dead child. It took Ohden’s mother five days until her labor started. All believed that Ohden was born dead as planned; they even set her on a side table to focus their attention on her mother. Minutes after she was born, the nurses heard Ohden making grunting noises. She was later informed that this was her attempt at breathing. The nurses immediately tended to Ohden, saving her life. Saline abortions are no longer in practice because too many babies survived through them. After only 31 weeks in the womb, surviving a saline abortion, being born with jaundice, suffering from seizures and needing multiple blood transfusions, Ohden was adopted into a loving family, complete with an older sister the couple had also adopted. Today she suffers no damage from the attempted abortion.
So how do you tell your daughter that not only was she unwanted, but that her mother tried to kill her and throw her away, and even after that failed gave her away? In Ohden’s case, her adoptive older sister found herself in the same situation that Ohden’s mother had once been in: teenaged, pregnant and looking toward abortion as the answer. The difference in this case is that instead of her parents driving her to the clinic, they told her the story of Ohden’s birth. She told Ohden, who then confronted her parents about it.
“Some people say that my story saved my nephew’s life, but in my perspective he saved mine. I don’t know how my parents could have told me my story any other way.” Even though she had a supportive family, church and school, Ohden was still very upset about this new revelation. “I was embarrassed, and I didn’t want to talk about it.” When Ohden moved off to college she realized just how common abortion was. She soon moved back home and later transferred to another school. This is when she starting speaking out against abortion by telling her story.
People don’t want to face the guilt that accompanies abortion, but it can’t be avoided. “I can count on one hand how many people have told me that abortion was the best decision they ever made. You can’t even fathom the amount of people that tell me that they regret their abortion and wish that I was their child.” People have actually approached Ohden trying to prove that she was their daughter. “We would have conversations for a week maybe two or three, them trying to tell me that I was the same age as what their child would be. They try to replace me with the child they lost.” Ohden encounters many different kinds of people, with many different kinds of ideas about abortion. But Ohden, as a living testament to how much abortion hurts and to the fact that the baby being aborted is truly a living breathing child, gives people a vivid vision of what abortion is and what it can do to someone.
When Ohden felt comfortable she went in search of her biological parents and grandparents. She tried to find her mother but had no results. She contacted her father but received no response. She also contacted her mother’s parents, who did respond. However, they couldn’t pass on Ohden’s message of forgiveness to her mother because she had stopped speaking to them years earlier. At the time Ohden didn’t know why her mother had stopped talking to her parents, but she later learned that her mother blamed her parents for forcing the abortion on her, which resulted in the guilt that followed her through life.
Today Ohden continues to speak across the country against abortion. Her first public speech about her story since high school was on Capitol Hill. She has spoken with Feminists for Life, and recently returned from making a documentary in Australia where the laws involving abortions are some of the most liberal in the world, right next to the U.S.. She is tremendously grateful for the life she has been given and the story that she has to share. It seems odd that someone would be grateful for a story like that, but in Ohden’s words, “I can’t live my life without knowing this. A lot of survivors don’t share their story for whatever reason.” Ohden knew, when she first learned her story, that she would be asked to share it, but she also knew that it would be hard and at first she didn’t want to. But once she learned the impact that her story would have, she knew that there was no way she could avoid it.
If you would like to hear more from Melissa Ohden you can watch her on the 700 Club in November and in the soon to be released exclusive youtube videos from Australia, coming out in the next week.