Melissa Ohden presented the following testimony in support of SB 405/HB 510: The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which the North Carolina Senate Committee on Health voted to approve. Melissa survived a “failed” saline infusion abortion in 1977. Gianna Jessen, another abortion survivor, also testified.
Thank you so much for your time today, Representatives, as we expose the horrors of Planned Parenthood.
This is the number of abortions that Planned Parenthood’s 2014 fiscal report lists as being completed that year. Based on these numbers, 897 children will lose their lives to an abortion completed by Planned Parenthood each and every day.
Why do I find this horrific? Because I have a lot in common with these children. I was meant to be one of them. I should have been just another statistic. But by the grace of God, I am more than a statistic. I come here today as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a Master’s level prepared social worker, and yes, as an abortion survivor.
From “botched abortion” to “the dreaded complication of abortion” (a child who lives), I’ve been called just about everything you can imagine. But as you can see here in my medical records from 1977 (show record), I am the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion (the exact wording in my records reads–“a saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful.” Other parts of my records identify “saline infusion” as a complication of my biological mother’s pregnancy. You could certainly say that saline infusion abortion complicated things).
It has taken years to unravel the secrets surrounding my survival, to have contact with my biological family and medical professionals that cared for me, and although there are still unanswered questions, what I do know is that my life was intended to be ended by an abortion, and even after I survived, my life was in jeopardy.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at me today, but in August of 1977, I survived a failed saline infusion abortion. A saline infusion abortion involves injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn child. The intent of that salt solution is to scald the child to death, from the outside in.
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For days, I soaked in that toxic salt solution, and on the fifth day of the procedure, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, delivered me, after her labor was induced. I should have been delivered dead, as a successful abortion.
In 2013, I learned through contact with my biological mother’s family that not only was this abortion forced upon her against her will, but also that it was my maternal grandmother, a nurse, who delivered me in this final step of the abortion procedure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.
Unfortunately, I also learned that when my grandmother realized that the abortion had not succeeded in ending my life, she demanded that I be left to die.
I may never know how, exactly, two nurses who were on staff that day (one of whom has had part of her story passed down to my adoptive family) found out about me, but what I do know is that their willingness to fight for medical care to be provided to me saved my life.
I know where children like me were left to die at St. Luke’s Hospital—a utility closet. In 2014, I met a nurse who assisted in a saline infusion abortion there in 1976, and delivered a living baby boy. After he was delivered alive, she followed her superior’s orders and placed him in the utility closet in a bucket of formaldehyde to be picked up later as medical waste after he died there, alone.
A bucket of formaldehyde in a utility closet was meant to be my fate after I wasn’t scalded to death through the abortion. Yet here I am today.
I weighed a little less than 3 pounds (2 pounds, 14 ounces), I suffered from jaundice, severe respiratory problems and seizures. One of the first notations in my medical records states that I looked like I was about 31 weeks gestational age when I survived.
Despite the miracle of my survival, the doctor’s prognosis for my life was initially very poor. My adoptive parents were told that I would suffer from multiple disabilities throughout my life. However, here I am today, perfectly healthy.
Yet it isn’t just how abortion ends the life of children like me that isn’t talked about in today’s world. It’s also not discussed what happens to children like me who live.
We are your friend, your co-worker, your neighbor, and you would likely never guess just by looking at us that we survived what we did. In my work as the Founder of The Abortion Survivor’s Network, I have had contact with 203 other abortion survivors. Letters from some of these survivors have been submitted to this committee.
I’m here today to share my story to not only highlight the horror of abortion taking place at Planned Parenthood, but to give a voice to other survivors like me, and most importantly, to give a name, a face, and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of children who will have their lives ended by Planned Parenthood this year alone.
As you consider the horrors of what happens at Planned Parenthood each day, I would urge you to remember my story, and Gianna’s, too. We may not have survived abortions at Planned Parenthood, but the expectation for our lives to be ended by abortion are the very same as those who do lose their lives there.
And I have long believed that if my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that “failures” like me don’t happen.
As a fellow American, as a fellow human being, I deserved the same right to life, the same equal protection under the law as each and every one of you. Yet we live in a time where not only do such protections not exist, but my own tax dollars and yours go to fund an organization that has perfected the very thing that was meant to end my life.
This must end.