Abortion Attempt Survivor Speaks Out Against the Intergenerational Impact of Abortion

Melissa Ohden

Melissa Ohden's 19 month old daughter, Olivia, was not supposed to have a chance at life because of abortion. Not because Melissa ever considered aborting her, but because Melissa, herself, was aborted at approximately 24 weeks of gestation and survived.

Abortion attempt survivors, in and of themselves, are rare in our society. Having an abortion attempt survivor become a mother, herself, and speak out against the intergenerational impact of abortion, is certainly even more of a rarity. But by all appearances, Melissa is up for the challenge that faces her in her ministry. "It's my calling," states Melissa. "This is who I am; I wouldn't change a thing."

Although adoption was an intrinsic part of her family and life, Melissa didn't learn that she was the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion attempt until she was in the 8th grade. Finding out the painful reality of how she entered the world truly changed her life and the lives of all of those around her forever, and understandably, it hasn't always been easy.

"Ashamed, guilty, and embarrassed," is how Melissa describes the predominant feelings she had for many years after finding out about surviving the abortion attempt. Even though Melissa felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for being saved from certain death, for many years shame and embarrassment at being "so unwanted," and guilt for growing up to be perfectly happy, healthy and successful rendered her silent.

After a long journey of healing, and a decades-long, but successful search for her birth records and biological family, however, Melissa came forward publicly in 2007 to share her story with the world and provide a voice to the millions of voiceless, aborted children just like her. Since that time, Melissa's life has come full circle, as she gave birth to her first child, Olivia, at the very same hospital where her own life was supposed to end.

In spite of all the blessings that Melissa has received in her life, her search for the truth has not been painless, and many of her experiences have been emotionally and spiritually challenging. Sadly, even though Melissa had discovered that she was living in the same city as her biological father in 2007, he passed away in 2008, prior to ever meeting her. With his passing, however, many gifts have come. Although her father had never told anyone about Melissa, after discovering a letter that she had sent him months prior to his passing, her biological father's family contacted her after his death.

"There's still so much grief," Melissa says about her father's passing. Since initially being contacted by the paternal side of her family, Melissa has now met her grandfather and great-aunt, whom she sees on a regular basis. She has also spoken to her grandmother by phone and her father's wife by email. The pain of losing her father and discovering that he carried the secret of Melissa with him all of his life, and ultimately to his death, is still too much for many in his family to handle, yet Melissa hopes that she will someday meet other family members, including a younger half-sister, that is unknowingly living in the same city as her currently.

Although Melissa has never had the opportunity to meet her biological mother, she has communicated with her maternal grandparents by letter, and she hopes to someday have contact with her mother, also. She is grateful that she has been given the opportunity to reach out to both of her biological parents and their families to let them know that she has forgiven them for the decision that was made to end her life, and has lived a full, blessed life.

"One decision, one single moment, can have such a detrimental impact on so many people, living and dead, born and yet to be conceived," is the driving point of Melissa's message. Melissa's life and her ministry speaks to the true reality of abortion and the impact it has on not just women and children, but men, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins, friends, and communities. Yet it is also about so much more.

Melissa shares her inspiring story of survival and the awesome power of faith, hope, love and forgiveness in by speaking at Christian and pro-life events across the U.S. and Canada, through radio and TV interviews, and through her website-- www.melissaohden.com. Previously a speaker with Feminists for Life's College Outreach program, Melissa is now a member of the Ambassador Speaker's Bureau-- www.ambassadorspeakers.com.

Earlier this year, Melissa spoke at the fundraiser and Day of Prayer for the International Week of Prayer and Fasting in Washington, D.C. She also spoke at fundraising events for Right to Life groups and pregnancy resource centers and also at colleges and various religious events. Melissa has been a guest on Gus Lloyd's Seize the Day, and will be a guest on Daily Life News, a National Pro-Life Radio program, with Day Gardner on December 16th, 2009. Melissa's ministry will be featured on Phil Waldrep's Living with Joy radio show in January 2010.

Contact: Melissa Ohden
Publish Date: December 14, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.