Abortion survivor Melissa Ohden tells her story

In a letter to Rep. Trent Franks, Melissa Ohden tells her story:

“In August 1977, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, was forced to undergo a saline infusion abortion. My medical records from St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, indicate that she was believed to be approximately 20 weeks pregnant with me at that time. They state that “a saline infusion for an abortion was done, but was unsuccessful.” Those same records then proceed to later identify a complication of her pregnancy as “saline infusion.”

A saline infusion abortion involves injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn child in the womb. The intent of that toxic salt solution is to slowly scald the child to death, from the outside in… This abortion procedure typically lasted about three days – 72 hours. The child soaked in that toxic salt solution until their life was effectively ended and then premature labor was induced with the intent of that deceased child being delivered.

In my own case, I didn’t soak in that toxic salt solution for just three days. My medical records indicate that I soaked in it for five. For five days, I soaked in that toxic salt solution while multiple attempts were made to induce my biological mother’s labor with me to expel my dead body. Finally, on the fifth day of the abortion procedure, her labor was successfully induced. I should have been delivered dead that day as a “successful” abortion, a deceased child. But by the grace of God, I was born alive.

I can’t even begin to imagine the horrible pain and suffering that I experienced during those five days of the abortion procedure and in the days and weeks that followed. Abortion doesn’t spare a child from suffering, it causes suffering.

I weighed a little less than three pounds (two pounds, 14 ounces). When I was delivered at St. Luke’s hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, in that final step of the abortion procedure, which indicated to the medical professionals that my birth mother was much further along in her pregnancy than she had realized and the abortionist failed to admit to. In fact, one of the first notations on my medical records states that I looked like I was about 31 weeks gestational age when I survived. Sadly, whether I was 31 weeks or 20 weeks, what happened to me was permitted by federal law.

The fight for my life was far from over after I was delivered in this failed abortion.

In 2013, I learned through contact with my biological mother’s family (who I am incredibly thankful to have in my life, along with members of my biological father’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.

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 found out about me (one of whom has had their story passed down to my adoptive parents) or where they found 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 the utility closet was meant to be my fate after I wasn’t first scalded to death through the abortion.

Yet I am alive today because I was ultimately given the medical care that I so desperately needed and deserved.

I am thankful that the abortion meant to end my life actually occurred at a hospital, as the medical treatment that I needed for my severe respiratory and liver problems and seizures – the oxygen, blood transfusions and everything thereafter was located right there.

If my birth mother’s abortion would’ve occurred in an abortion clinic, I truly believe that I would not be alive today. The medical care would have been long in coming to me, if at all.

To say that I am grateful to be alive would be an understatement. No, we may never know if I made it all the way to that utility closet and the bucket of formaldehyde or I was simply laid aside, but the truth about the location of where I was left will never change the truth of the intent of why I was left. I was meant to be killed in the abortion and then when that didn’t succeed, I was left to die.

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 know that our great nation falls terribly short when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable of its citizens.

We live in a day and time where the science of human development, the power of ultrasound, and the sheer number of survivors like me (I know of 209 others just like me through my work as the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network although I am sure the actual number is much higher) clearly shows the truth about life. There should no longer be a question of when life begins. There should no longer be the question of which lives, if any, should be protected.”

Melissa Ohden, letter to Chairman Trent Franks and the House of Representatives Constitution Subcommittee Members

Quoted in “The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act” Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives 114th Congress, Second Session, September 23, 2016. p 58-59

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Baby who survived abortion suffered developmental delay, intracranial bleeding, hydrocephalus, and disfigurement

The book Lime Five recounts the following malpractice case:

“On July 16, 1985, “Lynette” underwent an abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Michigan. Prior to the abortion, no ultrasound was performed to determine the gestational age of the fetus. Dr. X ruptured the amniotic sac, then referred Lynette to a hospital where, five days later, she gave birth to a two pound, three and a half ounce premature infant boy. Because of the botched abortion attempt, the baby suffered developmental delay, intracranial bleeding, hydrocephalus, and disfigurement.”

Washtenaw County (MI) Circuit Court Case No. 85–30344 NM

Mark Crutcher Lime 5: Exploited by Choice (Denton, Texas: Life Dynamics, Inc., 1996) 75

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Most single women who abort never marry aborted baby’s father

A study of women in a post-abortion support group at the Medical College of Ohio found that only 7 of the 66 women who had abortions while single eventually married the father.

Kathleen and Franco, Marijo B Tamburrino and Nancy B Campbell “Psychological Profile of Dysphoric Women Postabortion” Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association 44 (113), 1989, 113 – 150

Cited in Thomas W Strahan “Abortion and the Feminization of Poverty” Rachael MacNair and Stephen Zunes, eds. Consistently Opposing Killing (Bloomington, Indiana: Author’s Choice Press, 2008, 2011)

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Melissa Ohden, abortion survivor, tells her story

Melissa Ohden, in a letter to Chairman Trent Franks and the House of Representatives Constitution Subcommittee Members:

“In August 1977, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, was forced to undergo a saline infusion abortion. My medical records from St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, indicate that she was believed to be approximately 20 weeks pregnant with me at that time. They state that “a saline infusion for an abortion was done, but was unsuccessful.” Those same records then proceed to later identify a complication of her pregnancy as “saline infusion.”

A saline infusion abortion involves injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn child in the womb. The intent of that toxic salt solution is to slowly scald the child to death, from the outside in… This abortion procedure typically lasted about three days – 72 hours. The child soaked in that toxic salt solution until their life was effectively ended and then premature labor was induced with the intent of that deceased child being delivered.

In my own case, I didn’t soak in that toxic salt solution for just three days. My medical records indicate that I soaked in it for five. For five days, I soaked in that toxic salt solution while multiple attempts were made to induce my biological mother’s labor with me to expel my dead body. Finally, on the fifth day of the abortion procedure, her labor was successfully induced. I should have been delivered dead that day as a “successful” abortion, a deceased child. But by the grace of God, I was born alive.

I can’t even begin to imagine the horrible pain and suffering that I experienced during those five days of the abortion procedure and in the days and weeks that followed. Abortion doesn’t spare a child from suffering, it causes suffering.

I weighed a little less than three pounds (two pounds, 14 ounces). When I was delivered at St. Luke’s hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, in that final step of the abortion procedure, which indicated to the medical professionals that my birth mother was much further along in her pregnancy than she had realized and the abortionist failed to admit to. In fact, one of the first notations on my medical records states that I looked like I was about 31 weeks gestational age when I survived. Sadly, whether I was 31 weeks or 20 weeks, what happened to me was permitted by federal law.

The fight for my life was far from over after I was delivered in this failed abortion.

In 2013, I learned through contact with my biological mother’s family (who I am incredibly thankful to have in my life, along with members of my biological father’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.

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 found out about me (one of whom has had their story passed down to my adoptive parents) or where they found 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 the utility closet was meant to be my fate after I wasn’t first scalded to death through the abortion.

Yet I am alive today because I was ultimately given the medical care that I so desperately needed and deserved.

I am thankful that the abortion meant to end my life actually occurred at a hospital, as the medical treatment that I needed for my severe respiratory and liver problems and seizures – the oxygen, blood transfusions and everything thereafter was located right there.

If my birth mother’s abortion would’ve occurred in an abortion clinic, I truly believe that I would not be alive today. The medical care would have been long in coming to me, if at all.

To say that I am grateful to be alive would be an understatement. No, we may never know if I made it all the way to that utility closet and the bucket of formaldehyde or I was simply laid aside, but the truth about the location of where I was left will never change the truth of the intent of why I was left. I was meant to be killed in the abortion and then when that didn’t succeed, I was left to die.

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 know that our great nation falls terribly short when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable of its citizens.

We live in a day and time where the science of human development, the power of ultrasound, and the sheer number of survivors like me (I know of 209 others just like me through my work as the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network although I am sure the actual number is much higher) clearly shows the truth about life. There should no longer be a question of when life begins. There should no longer be the question of which lives, if any, should be protected.”

“The Ultimate Civil Right: Examining the Hyde Amendment and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act” Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives 114th Congress, Second Session, September 23, 2016, 58-59

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Adolescents feel “guilt, shame, and fear of disapproval” after abortion

From a 2004 study that did a group interview with post-abortive adolescents:

“The loss of a potential child by abortion gives rise to the universal experience of mourning, in which adolescents are developmentally more vulnerable…. Because strong cultural and religious taboos exist, aspects of traumatic grief are sometimes ignored….

The adolescents described feelings of guilt, shame, secrecy, or confusion that clarified how the social stigma of abortion was reinforced in the high school setting. American adolescents are more likely to disapprove of abortion because they tend to respond in absolute terms to moral issues. Stone and Waszak’s study (Stone, R., & Waszak, C. (1992). Adolescent knowledge and attitudes about abortion. Family Planning Perspectives, 24, 52-57) demonstrated that adolescents’ first association to abortion was “killing the baby” ….

The group members in our study indicated they felt guilty when they were seen entering the abortion clinic, a feeling exacerbated by protesters who were sometimes encountered outside the clinic. Classroom discussions that condemned abortion also made the adolescents feel uncomfortable and guilty….

The socially based negative emotions of guilt, shame, and fear of disapproval were still noted in these group participants, even 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed women’s right to choose, offering some societal acceptance of this choice. These feelings of guilt and shame, along with the shock and trauma of the pregnancy, can prevent adolescents from incorporating the experience of abortion into a learning experience because the defense of denial is used. This denial may cause a repetition of the shameful experience….

Some group members shared that they talked to the fetus and said, “I’m sorry,” to the fetus.”

Daly, Joan Ziegler, ACSW; Ziegler, Robert, MD; Goldstein, Donna J, RN, CPNP “Adolescent Postabortion Groups” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services; Thorofare Vol. 42, Iss. 10, (Oct 2004): 48-54.

Read more studies about the emotional impact of abortion

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Study shows many women seeking sex-selection abortions are abused

A survey was done of  South Asian immigrant women recruited from a clinic that provides sex determination tests. This clinic was located in the US but catered to Asian women who wanted to find out the sex of their babies to have an abortion if the child was a girl.

It found that one third of the women cited past physical abuse and neglect related specifically to their failing to produce a male child.

Sunita Puri et al., “There Is Such a Thing As Too Many Daughters, but Not Too Many Sons: A Qualitative Study of Son Preference for Fetal Sex Selection among Indian Immigrants in the United States” Social Science and Medicine 72, 1169 – 1170 (2011)

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Reasons for Abortions 1988

A questionnaire asked women the reasons they aborted. Women could choose more than one. The breakdown was:

 *****

I’m concerned about how a baby would change my life 76%

I can’t afford a baby right now 68%

I have problems with my relationship 51%

I want to avoid single parenthood 51%

I don’t want others to know I was having premarital sex 31%

I’m not ready for the responsibility 31%

I’m not mature enough to have a baby 30%

I have all the children I want 26%

My husband or boyfriend wants me to abort 23%

The baby has a possible health problem 13%

My health is not good enough to have a baby 7%

My parents want me to abort 7%

I am a victim of rape or incest 1%

****

This is from an Alan Guttmacher Institute survey of 1,900 women in 38 states who were waiting for abortions. These women filled out a form asking them why they were obtaining abortions. This survey is described in Aida Torres and Jacqueline Darroch Forrest. “Why Do Women Have Abortions?” Alan Guttmacher Institute Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988, pages 169 to 176.

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Only 1.31% of abortions in 1981-1990 done for rape, health reasons

Only a small minority of abortions were done in the 1980s from the so-called “hard cases” of rape, incest, and health problems.

THE ‘HARD CASES’

To save the mother’s life or health 0.13%

For rape and incest     0.07%

For fetal birth defects     0.24%

For girls under 15 years old 1.0%

Total ‘hard cases’             1.31%

Non-Medically Indicated Abortions   98.56%

United States Bureau of Commerce, Department of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990, 110th edition. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 101, “Legal Abortions, By Selected Characteristics: 1973 to 1985.” Also: Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) annual reports.

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Misconceptions on abortion abound in 1990

According to the New York Times:

An August 1990 Wirthlin Group survey of 2,000 voters nationwide showed that 47% believe that there are less than 500,000 abortions per year, as opposed to the actual number of 1.6 million. Respondents also said that an average of 46 percent of all abortions are performed to save the life of the mother and for rape and incest an overestimation of 25,000 percent!

Peter Steinfels. “New Voice, Same Words on Abortion.” The New York Times November 20, 1990, page A10.

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If treated, 25% of babies born at 22 weeks survive

From an article in National Right to Life news:

“The results of a massive study of nearly 5,000 extremely premature babies published last Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the survival rate of babies born at 22 and 23 weeks increased substantially if hospitals actively treat the babies.

NEJM study shows nearly a quarter of babies born at 22 weeks survive if actively treated; 33% for babies born at 23 weeks….

Two of the study leaders– Dr. Edward Bell of the University of Iowa and University of Iowa medical student Matthew Rysavy–talked to various publications to explain what their findings represented.

Dr. Bell told the New York Times’ Pam Belluck that at Iowa, treatment is offered to most 22-week-olds, and he considers 22 weeks a new marker of viability.

“That’s what we think, but this is a pretty controversial area,” Dr. Bell said. “I guess we would say that these babies deserve a chance.”

Dave Andrusko “NEJM study shows nearly a quarter of babies born at 22 weeks survive if aggressively treated; 33% for babies born at 23 weeks” National Right to Life May 7, 2015

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