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Melissa Ohden: See Life Clearly

Abortion is a moral issue, not a political one. Melissa Ohden survived an abortion forced upon her mother 41 years ago. Now, Melissa is a wife, a mother of two children, and is the founder and director of The Abortion Survivor’s Network. She shares her disappointment with U.S. Senators who blocked the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act from advancing through the Senate. Melissa is bewildered at how she, as a living human being who was nearly aborted, can stand in front of legislators who refuse to acknowledge that babies shouldn’t be left to die after a botched abortion. Melissa is sure that politicians could not have imagined a scenario like hers, where she would reunite with her mother as an adult and develop a deep friendship.

Episode Transcript

John Fuller: This is John Fuller with Focus on the Family. And Jim Daly is traveling, but we're gonna catch up with him by phone at the start of today's program to talk about some really important issues on the Pro-Life front. You probably know that Senator Ben Sasse had a bill to protect babies who survive an abortion. That bill blocked in the U.S. Senate this week.

Well right now, what we'd like to do is introduce you to someone who did survive an abortion. It was forced upon her mom. And this woman is here only by the grace of God. Melissa Ohden is the founder and director of the Abortion Survivors Network. And they educate the general population and provide emotional, mental, and spiritual support to abortion survivors.

Jim Daly: Melissa, welcome to Focus on the Family

Melissa Ohden: Thank you so much, Jim.

Jim: You know, I think given the Senate's vote, recently, to not protect a child that was in your situation - a child that has survived an abortion attempt, and you're laying there on the table, breathing, gasping, and now those in the Senate that didn't support the protection that required a doctor to give and the medical practitioners to give life-saving treatment to that baby. Let's move away from defeatist language and call it the baby, because it's born and it's outside the womb at this point. How did that make you feel?

Melissa: You know, I was there, actually, when the Senate voted. And so as much as I was disappointed in that, Jim, I honestly wasn't surprised by that. You know, I think we've seen in the last few weeks in particular, that life is apparently a really partisan issue in our country - not that we didn't know that. But it's becoming even more so. So yes, it was discouraging. Yes, I'm disappointed in those Democrats that voted against protecting lives like mine. Um, and I intend to shine a light on them...

Jim: Yeah.

Melissa: ...Through the next election. Um, but I also think it's important that we really send our encouragement to our Republicans and those 3 Democrats that crossed the aisle and joined us, because um, they're so committed to life, Jim. And they left me with so much hope.

Jim: Yeah. Well the point you're making - often I get the question, you know, "Why is that political?" I mean, we're talking about life and death. It's really not a political issue. It's a moral issue that has found itself in the political arena because they make the laws. But how can a civilization that sees itself as rather progressive and enlightened, how do we take innocent life - a baby that's born outside the womb, forget the debate of abortion, this is a baby who's gasping for air like I described - and they're willing to allow that child to die? That's a whole 'nother discussion now, correct?

Melissa: Yeah, to me, it is. You know, we've heard the same arguments, unfortunately, from those who vote against this type of bill, who say, "You know, this is completely unnecessary. This doesn't happen." And I'm literally standing outside of (???) with my medical records in my hand, saying, "Look at me. Here I am." And honestly, Jim, I think we're at a point right now where some of them really don't care.

Jim: Yeah. Well, and that's so unfortunate. I mean so unfortunate, because this is life and death for a child. And you know, Melissa, another part of your story that's so warm - heartwarming, is what happened with the relationship between you and your birth mom. These are the things that they can't anticipate. They just think, you know, "Let's take care of the problem." And then, "We're doing people a service." But what's happened with your relationship with your birth mom that again, politicians can never anticipate?

Melissa: Absolutely. I'm so glad you brought that up because no matter how many times human beings try to thwart God's will in my life, right? First, by trying to end my life, then, you know, leaving me to die, trying to deny me medical care. Ultimately, in the end, God's plan prevailed. I got to live. I'm perfectly healthy. And yes, I'm now united with my biological mother. She's been in my life now for 6 years. We live in the same city. Um, she's my one - one of my greatest supports in life. And so you're so right when - when they're denying lives like mine medical care, they're thwarting God's plan - not just for that child but whoever surrounds that child. Right?

Jim: Oh, it's so true. And I think, you know, I was born - since we're divulging our ages...


...I was born 1961. But you know what was interesting, and that was in California, my mom was 42 when she had me and my dad told me stories how she was considering an abortion then. Because even before Roe v. Wade, if you were over 40 years old, many states allowed you consider an abortion because of the high risk of the child having difficulties physically. Um, and she thought about it. And so even before Roe v. Wade, these things were occuring. And I - to some degree then - I was also a survivor. My dad talked my mom out of doing that. And I feel that same kind of intensity because the reason is, "Well, we couldn't afford it." We were a poor family. But my goodness, when you look at that, the Lord took care of those things. And I know it puts more stress on families, but like the relationship with your birth mom, people should not determine what your future will be. You and God will determine that, right?

Melissa: Amen.

Jim: I mean, it's so true. Well listen, I don't know that we've invited you yet, but I hope you can join us May 4th in New York. I'm gonna do it right here on radio. We're gonna do something in New York.

Melissa: I - oh. You put me on the spot, Jim.

Jim: Yeah, "put me on the spot." But May 4th - this is really funny, we're calling it, "Alive from New York." And the whole goal - we'll have music and speakers and I hope you can consider coming and being one of those speakers - but we really - the keynote is going to be 4D, third trimester ultrasounds right on the big jumbo-trons in Times Square. And I simply want to show the world what the baby in the womb in that third trimester looks like. And I think the picture will speak a thousand words. We don't even have to say much. What do you think about that?


Melissa: My 10-year-old is ready to go.


Jim: I love it. And that's what we want: moms with their kids, and husbands and dads, too. Come on out and join us May 4th in Times Square. Let's celebrate life and show the world what the Lord is doing in the womb through this wonderful ultrasound technology. Melissa, thanks for being with us. And thanks for that update. And I thank you for that fire in your belly.

Melissa: Thanks. God bless.

John: Well I trust the conversation Jim had with Melissa has motivated you to make your voice heard. The easiest way is to sign the Declaration for Life here on the Pro-Life page. Watch the videos, do something today to make a stand for life.

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Melissa Ohden

View Bio

Melissa Ohden is the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network, which seeks to educate the public about failed abortions while providing emotional, mental and spiritual support to the abortion survivors. Melissa herself is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion attempt which nearly ended her life at seven months gestation. She is a highly-regarded pro-life speaker, has been interviewed on radio and TV programs, and has testified before the U.S. Congress. She is the author of a book titled You Carried Me: A Daughter's Memoir, which was released in January, 2017. She and her husband, Ryan, have a daughter named Olivia. Learn more about Melissa by visiting her website,