By Melissa Ohden
Editor’s note. Melissa, the survivor of a “failed” saline abortion in 1977, speaks all over the world including at the last two National Right to Life Conventions. Melissa will be speaking again later this month at the NRLC Convention in Louisville. (See www.nrlconvention.com for details.) She writes regularly for National Right to Life News Today.
When you hear the term “abortion survivor,” what comes to your mind? Be honest. Many in our world, including some people in our own pro-life community, hadn’t even heard of abortion survivors until recently.
For those who have heard about babies who’ve survived the abortionist’s onslaught, I suspect there a certain expectation of who an abortion survivor is and what our lives are like—a stereotype, if you will.
For example, from my experience, most people believe there could only be only one or two abortion survivors at most—and that we all must have significant disabilities. Trust me, I’ve heard most of them or read them written about me and other survivors.
Which is why one of the most common observations made about me is that I “look perfectly normal.” The questioner obviously assumes I (or other abortion survivors) have suffered long-term consequences as a result of the abortion that I survived. Thus it is only fair to say that there is a lot of misunderstanding and/or lack of knowledge about people like me.
Later this month I will be speaking at the NRLC Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. One of my presentations will be about abortion survivors. I will be discussing in-depth both the qualitative and quantitative data that I’ve collected through The Abortion Survivors Network.
It is my hope that attendees will not only find the information useful in their pro-life work, but that it also helps to challenge and change the existing beliefs about survivors.
As the convention fast approaches, I would encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on your knowledge of and your current beliefs about abortion survivors. Consider the following questions in preparation for our time together:
- When you hear the term “abortion survivor,” what comes to mind? Do you think most survivors have complications as a result of the abortion they survived?
- Do you think there were more abortion survivors (that we are aware of) before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, or after?
- Do you think more survivors are adoptees or do you think they were raised by their birth families involved in the abortion?
- What do you think the greatest needs for abortion survivors might be? How can we as a pro-life community all work together to support survivors?
- Do you think there could be abortion survivors who are also post-abortive, themselves?
- What do you most want to find out about survivors?
I look forward to answering these questions for you in Louisville soon! Again you can find details at nrlconvention.com.