How could my biological mother have ever fathomed that as she attempted to abort me in 1977 that she was not only ending the life of her child, but she was wiping out every future generation to come from that one life-her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, her great-great grandchildren?
She may not have been able to fathom it, the thousands of women who end the lives of their children everyday through abortion may not be able to fathom it, but as an abortion survivor now pregnant with my second child, I can fathom it.
In fact, I can’t get my mind off of it. This is the reality that I live with every day. I should not be here, all in the name of someone else’s choice, all in the name of a woman’s right. Yet I, as a baby girl, I didn’t have a right. Our 3 ½ year old daughter, Olivia, and our 2nd child, due to be born in May 2012, would never have existed, would never have had life, because of that one “choice” thirty-four years ago.
In August of 1977, while I was developing in what should have been the safest place in the world, my biological mother’s womb, I was subjected to the toxic salt solution of a saline infusion abortion over a five day period. After that poisonous solution was delivered into the amniotic fluid surrounding me, I was bathed in it, while my biological mother must have nervously, worriedly, awaited the sign from me within her womb that I had successfully been scalded to death by it, for the signs that my tiny life had been successfully snuffed out. On the fifth day of the abortion procedure, after she re-entered the hospital to complete the abortion by having her labor induced, so thereby, her lifeless child could be dispelled from her womb, I was delivered.
Most children have the beloved opportunity to know about the day that they were born and celebrate this blessed BIRTHday, year after year. I, on the other hand, have the distinction of knowing about the day that I was delivered, the day that I was “mistakenly” born alive instead of dead.
From all accounts, when I was delivered at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, I was believed to be dead. Understandably so—that was the plan. And from what I’ve been told, I was left for dead–placed along the bedside table in my biological mother’s hospital room, left to be discarded like waste. But by the grace of God, as a nurse was tending to my biological mother, she noticed that I was making small movements and weak grunting noises. And that’s when the first or many heroes emerged in my life—the doctors and nurses began to provide me with the medical care necessary to sustain my fragile life.
You would never know it by looking at me today, but at the time that I survived that failed abortion, I was barely clinging to life. I suffered from severe respiratory problems, jaundice, and seizures. As the result of hemorrhaging, (a consequence of what the toxic salt solution was doing to me), I required multiple blood transfusions. I was too weak to suck from a bottle, and so I was fed intravenously through my head. The prognosis for my life was guarded at best. The doctors didn’t believe that I would live for very long, and if I did live, I would suffer from any one or a number of disabilities. But I was alive! And God had other plans…
I could spend this entire article talking about what an amazing life I’ve been blessed with, the wonderful adoptive family I have, the “normal” life I lived until the age of 14, when I unwittingly found out that I was an abortion survivor. I could write about the struggles that I had with myself, with God, with our society that so nonchalantly embraces a culture of death. I could talk about how I searched for and found my biological parents, attempted to let them know that I had forgiven them, and obtained my medical records that clearly identify the abortion that took place. I could go on and on about how I put the pieces of my life together, healed from my pain, and found the strength to come forward publicly as an abortion survivor four years ago. I could discuss how I now travel around the world sharing my story, testifying for legislation, and fighting for the lives of children like me to be saved and lives like my biological parents’ to be turned away from abortion and the pain that it leaves in its’ wake. But that’s for another time. This is about my children, born and yet to be born, and all of the children like them who are impacted by abortion.
I always knew that none of this is about me. Truly, it’s not. I’m just the messenger. God saved my life and gave me a voice to speak up and speak out about the atrocity of abortion. He gave me these experiences, He blessed me with motherhood, so that I could share with the world how EVERYONE is impacted by abortion. For over 38 years now, we’ve been fed the faulty line that abortion is “just” about a woman and her right to choose, as she sees fit, what to do with her body. Every once in awhile, if we’re lucky, the mere concept, but not the entire being, of a child, is added into this equation—positing the rights of a woman versus the worth of a child as a unique, living being with the inherent right to life.
But our daughter, Olivia, and our rapidly developing child tucked safely away in my womb are living testament to the fact that abortion is about so much more than just a woman and a child. It’s about everyone. We are all impacted by abortion—those already born, and those yet to be conceived. It’s about men like my biological father, who aren’t given any opportunity to speak up for their children, nonetheless, any right to protect them. It’s about men like my husband, who would never have a wife or children because their wife was aborted years before. It’s about grandparents like mine, who grieve the loss of their grandchildren lost to abortion. It’s about aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins, friends, our communities and our world, who are forever touched, forever changed, by abortion. Abortion leaves no one untouched.
On my website, www.melissaohden.com, you will see a droplet of water and the ripple effect that it creates, along with a quote, that God laid upon my heart not long after Olivia was born: “One decision, one single moment, can have such a detrimental impact on so many people, living and dead, born and yet to be conceived.” Just as my biological mother couldn’t have fathomed the impact that her one decision to abort me would have for generations to come, I couldn’t have fathomed what this quote would mean to Ryan and I as we continued to add to our family. Nor could I have fathomed what all of this would mean to people around the world who have been impacted by abortion.
Olivia is the greatest blessing in our lives thus far. She is the brightest, kindest, funniest, most loving child I have ever known (just as all of our children are to us as parents). I can’t imagine our lives or this world without her. And our second child is just as much of a blessing, despite the fact that they are growing in my womb.
Pro-life speaking and advocacy isn’t just my work. It’s my life’s work. It’s how I choose to live out God’s plan for my life. Living this life and doing my life’s work every day, you would think that at some point, I’ve got it all figured out—but I don’t, nor do you. Someone always inevitably comes along and changes your life. You learn something that re-energizes your passion, which re-shapes your world. Our darling baby #2, as we are so aptly calling him or her for the time being, has done that for me. That statement God laid upon my heart 3 ½ years ago when Olivia was born has new meaning. Not only Olivia have never existed if that abortion would have succeeded in ending my life 34 years ago, but this child, whose growth I can already feel in this early stage of pregnancy, would never have existed.
This is the reality of abortion. Look for a second at the beaming face of Olivia, in this photo, where she is sporting her “I’m a big sister” t-shirt loud and proud. (And yes, I chose the wording on the shirt purposely. It’s not that she’s “going to be” a big sister, she is a big sister. Her sibling just happens to still be growing in my womb). One look at this photo should tell you that our daughter is thrilled that her brother or sister will soon be born. Could you imagine, just for a second, that her sibling didn’t exist? Could you imagine that this beautiful, happy big sister didn’t exist? Could you imagine that their mother didn’t exist?
I can. This is my life. This is our lives. And I will continue to fight for children like me, children like ours, every day so that the intergenerational impact of abortion is ended once and for all. Are you in??
LifeNews.com Note: As the survivor of a failed abortion attempt in the U.S. in 1977, Melissa now puts a face to abortion around the world, and gives a voice to the unborn children who lose their lives to abortion every day.