Voice for the Voiceless in Birmingham
A common abortion procedure in the 1970s involved injecting a salt solution into the uterus to poison and chemically scald the unborn child. This was the procedure meant to end Melissa Ohden’s life in 1977. She spent five days “soaking” in the toxicity of her mother’s womb, yet she survived and was adopted. Raised on a farm in Iowa, she grew up knowing she was adopted but didn’t know she was an abortion survivor until her sister disclosed the story during an argument as teenagers with six shocking words: at least my parents wanted me. “It was devastating,” Ohden says. “My parents kept the secret because they were afraid of how much it would change my life. Great goodness comes from that, but initially it was hard to embrace my purpose because I was in so much pain.”
At age 19, Ohden began searching for her biological parents and infant medical records. In 2010, Ohden quit her job as a social worker to begin speaking full time about the importance of pro-life ministry and pregnancy centers. In 2012 she founded The Abortion Survivors Network (ASN) to educate the public about failed abortions and provide emotional and spiritual support to abortion survivors.
Ohden eventually learned that her birth mother was forced into her abortion by family and never knew Ohden had survived. The pain and estrangement that brought the family is one of the biggest reasons she supports agencies that help women navigate unplanned pregnancies and offer post-abortive counseling. Since founding ASN, she has spoken before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and recently published a book chronicling her journey from anger and shame to faith and forgiveness. “My [adoptive] parents always say that first time they laid eyes on me, they fell in love with me,” she says. “That’s part of why I do what I do in our world because I want every child to have that same opportunity.” Hear Ohden share her testimony April 27 at the Sav-A-Life Annual Banquet for Life at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham/Wynfrey Hotel. Learn more at www.savalife.org.
– Camille Platt