Interview: My Mom's Abortion Failed, so I'm Alive to Talk about it

Melissa Ohden and her husband Ryan and daughter, Olivia

Abortion kills a living child.  But this simple fact is often too easy to ignore since the victims of abortion - even when they survive - rarely ever speak about it.  But one victim who did survive an abortion and who is set to address the Canadian March for Life Youth Conference this May 14 in Ottawa recently shared her thoughts about the issue with (LSN).

"It is the very problem of abortion, itself, which is typically shrouded in secrecy and ends the life of the very person who could share the truth with the world, that makes statistically examining abortion so difficult," Melissa Ohden told LSN. 

Ohden’s biological mother had an early induction abortion in 1977. However, Melissa was later born alive – a not uncommon occurrence in this type of abortion - and showed too many signs of life to go unnoticed by nurses attending the abortion.
According to a 2007 UK study on abortions due to diagnosed disability, babies continue to struggle for life after being forced from the womb in 1 out of 30 cases. The study said the children, sometimes gasping for breath and crying weakly, survive for an average of 80 minutes - with some clinging to life for as long as six hours.  Most of the children were aborted between 20 and 24 weeks' gestation.

"The sheer number of survivors really is overwhelming," Ohden told LSN.

During her travels speaking on the subject, Ohden said she continues "to learn of more and more children like me" who have survived an attempt on their life in the womb.

"Unfortunately, they have faced their own fair share of struggles with shame and embarrassment, limitations from disabilities, that have silenced them from sharing their stories with the world - just as I was silenced by my own shame, guilt, and embarrassment for so long," she noted.

While she says the response to her story has generally been "very positive," Ohden points out that "there are certainly still many people who 'can't believe' that children survive abortion attempts, and try to discredit us or deny our reality."

In 2002, then-U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. The President noted that the legislation was intended to ensure "that every infant born alive - including an infant who survives an abortion procedure - is considered a person under federal law." No similar law exists in Canada.

“What a sad statement about how our world currently operates," Ohden commented.

"If we were talking about anything else other than abortion, and the research told us that children were being harmed at high rates by something, you know that legislators and medical associations would step in to protect these children.

"Where are they now?" she asked.

"In my opinion, people deny the existence of aborted children, like those in the article who lived, because the reality of abortion is truly too much for them to bear, and because, if they let themselves admit that we live, then they will have to admit that abortion is wrong.  So, they avoid that 'slippery slope' by ignoring the facts about abortion and holding onto their safely held assumptions."

Ohden will address the Youth Rose Dinner after the Canadian National March for Life on May 13, and will also be available the following day at the March for Life Youth Conference for more intimate discussions with youth in workshops.

For more information on the March for Life and related events click here.

Contact: Kathleen Gilbert and John-Henry Westen
Publish Date: February 26, 2010
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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.