Melissa Ohden, the survivor a failed saline abortion at six months, admitted to CNA in an interview that she “was actually pro-choice” until she learned at age 15 that her mother had attempted to have her aborted.
“Back then, even though I knew that I could never have an abortion, I believed that other women should have the chance to make that choice for themselves,” said Ohden, “that is, until I found out about the abortion attempt.”
“Almost the instant that I found out, I knew in my heart that I was going to have to fight for the rights of both women, like my mother, and children for the rest of my life.”
In light of recent debates in Congress, Ohden told CNA how it intrigues her that “we often talk about the rights for healthcare, education, etc., but many people often don't seem to grasp, like I do as a survivor, that without the basic right to life, none of these other rights would matter or come into play.”
“I often remind people in my speeches that we were all one choice, one decision away from being aborted like all of the millions of children like me have been,” Ohden remarked.
Speaking on the role of Planned Parenthood in her life, Ohden told CNA that “I would first admit that I was fooled as a young adult, despite my own personal experience as a survivor, into thinking that Planned Parenthood was not about abortion, but about providing needed reproductive healthcare to women.”
“It wasn't until my mid-20's and had done my own research that I learned the true nature of Planned Parenthood.”
When asked what her response would be to those who view the organization as pro-woman, Ohden said, “How is Planned Parenthood pro-woman to me, as the survivor of a failed abortion?”
“How can ending the life of your own child be pro-woman? How can perpetuating the pain and suffering in women like my own biological mother be pro-woman?”
Ohden explained to CNA that the true pro-woman resources in our society are the ones that address the causes that lead women to have abortion, such as “lack of emotional support, lack of financial support, lack of knowledge about social service resources that can support them and their family, lack of knowledge about the options of adoption, my list could go on and on.”
“Planned Parenthood likes to say that they provide information and support such as this, but time and time again we are shown that this is not true.”
“Abortion is not a solution to the problems that women face,” stated Ohden. “It simply masks the problem and even perpetuates it.”
Reflecting on her mother's experience, Ohden said, “People have actually said to me 'don't you think your mother has had more trauma because you survived?' On the contrary, I would hope that knowing that her child lived, whereas millions of other women are not so lucky as her, has helped her in overcoming some of the pain that she has had to have experienced as a result of the choosing to abort me.”
“I have heard more than enough people who are pro-choice state that not having the right to choose disempowers women,” said Ohden. “I would challenge that. I would argue that ending the life of your child, your very own flesh and blood, is disempowering.”
“Supporting and encouraging women in finding their inner strength, in tapping into their faith, of doing the 'difficult thing' and working through and addressing whatever obstacles lie in their way of choosing life for their child – now that is true empowerment.”
“If we don't respect the most vulnerable of our population,” observed Ohden, “then it is no surprise that we see all of the crimes against humanity that we do each and every day.”
Ohden recently gave birth to a daughter named Olivia, and now tours the country speaking about the impact of abortion. Find out more at www.melissaohden.com.