Melissa Ohden is a living, breathing reason why the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is so important. Ohden survived a saline infusion late-term abortion because she received immediate medical care to save her life. The bill would ensure all babies like her receive that same level of care.
The U.S. Senate held a hearing Tuesday on the bill, which would require all health care practitioners to provide medical treatment to a child born alive after a failed abortion attempt. The Senate Judiciary Committee also heard evidence about the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks when scientific evidence shows unborn babies can feel pain.
Ohden urged the Senate to pass both bills because of her life and the lives of 207 others who she personally knows are abortion survivors.
“As a child who was initially left to die after an abortion, I believe that timely, appropriate medical care is incredibly important to children like me,” Ohden said prior to the hearing.
After the hearing, she talked with CNS News about the vital importance of the two bills:
“What I would hope that comes out of this is not only that more children like me are protected and given proper medical care when we survive, but that women receive education,” Ohden told CNSNews.com following her testimony.
“Let’s talk about the truth, the truth behind how children feel pain, the truth about what abortion does, the truth of what abortion is,” Ohden told CNSNews.com regarding the message that she would like to send.
“The truth is that I survived an abortion and I think that’s what I want people to take away from today,” she said. “You know, this is the truth about abortion.”
CNSNews.com asked Ohden what her response would be to those who argue that the legislation restricts women’s choices.
“We’ve heard the same thing for decades now, and I think the difference between that message and the message of truth is that that message is rooted in fear,” Ohden replied.
“A lot of the same remarks that we’ve heard over and over again for over 40 years are based on this fear that they are trying to strike in people’s hearts, right, that women will no longer have choices that women are going to be performing their own abortions or having back alley abortions,” she said.
“That’s what got us here today and we’ve heard from those who are experts that they don’t find those fear-based statements to even be true when you look at the evidence,” said Ohden.
“What I would hope that comes out of this is not only that more children like me are protected and given proper medical care when we survive, but that women receive education,” she concluded. “We know that when women receive information about human development, they see an ultrasound, they receive the truth about that life inside of them, and I want every woman to have that opportunity. I want every woman to have true choice.”
Abortion activists also testified against the bills Tuesday during the hearing. Diana Greene Foster, a professor and researcher at the University of California San Francisco, told the committee that women and doctors should be the ones to decide whether babies born alive after failed abortion attempts should receive potentially life-saving medical care.
“I think that the law says that all – that the child has to be taken away and receive medical care if there are signs of life – which doesn’t allow for the physician or nurse, or more importantly the wishes of the family, to say that they don’t think that care is going to help in this case and that they want to be able to hold their child,” Foster said.
Kathi Aultman, a former abortion doctor who is now pro-life, pointed out the deadly outcome of Foster’s position.
“The worst complication for an abortionist is to have the baby born alive, and I do not feel that the abortionist has the best interests of that child at stake and the mother may not either,” Aultman told the Senate hearing.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, is sponsoring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (SB 1603). The bill would protect babies like Ohden who are born alive after failed abortion attempts by requiring the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. Penalties for abortion doctors and abortion clinic staff who violate the measure would include criminal prosecution for murder, fines and prison time.