The abortion debate draws on several points of view. Expectant mothers, expectant fathers, people of faith, members of the medical and legal communities, and the protesters and the supporters all chime in. They can all arguably testify as victims of abortion—women, men, and society at large—but we rarely have the opportunity to hear from the eye witnesses in the womb.
It’s not their fault. Abortion’s purpose is to dismantle and destroy their lives along with their testimonies. But what of children born alive as an unintended result of botched abortions? They exist, as one woman’s story reveals to us. Surely abortion survivors have something to say on the matter.
Melissa Ohden survived a saline abortion at St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in Sioux City, Iowa in 1977. The unsuccessful abortion and a compassionate nurse are what saved Ohden’s precious little life.
“Many people think abortion is a discrete act that has no lasting effect. They are so wrong!” wrote Ohden in her autobiographical book You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir. “Abortion can’t be compartmentalized and is never forgotten. And its effects ripple through generations.”
In her own words, Ohden brings a formidable testimony against abortion as she outlines the hurt and inner pain she dealt with as a teenager trying to cope with the knowledge she was so unwanted by her biological family, they attempted to end her life. She believes now that she developed post-traumatic stress reaction to the revelation of her beginnings as well as survivor’s guilt that she lived and so many others were destroyed by abortion. Her depression developed into anorexia, bulimia, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity.
Thankfully, Ohden’s dependence on the Almighty helped to heal her despair. Though she sought answers in a painfully long search for her biological parents, Ohden found answers in her faith. “For years I had been trying to go back to the beginning to discover my true identity,” she wrote. “[But] my true identity didn’t come from my birth parents, but from my Creator. I was a child of God and that mean I was never—not even for a second—unwanted.”
Right now the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 37) is making its way through Congress. If passed into law, the proposed legislation will protect the rights of children like Ohden born alive as an unintended result of unsuccessful abortions. According to the bill, “If an abortion results in the live birth of an infant, the infant is a legal person for all purposes under the laws of the United States and entitled to all the protections of such laws.”
Listen to Ohden’s story before you make your judgements about this legislation and the consequences of abortion. As she describes it, her only mission is “to personify the humanity of the aborted ‘fetus’” and “show that the fetus is actually a baby.”