By Melissa Ohden
Editor’s note. In 1977 Melissa survived a saline infusion abortion. She has written many times for NRL News Today and NRL News.
“Love them all” was the theme of the 2018 NRLC Convention in Kansas City, Kansas, which, coincidentally, is my home. I was thrilled to see so many friends and colleagues from my community at this year’s three-day event.
When we think of “loving them all,” I’m sure most of us have similar thought. We love the women driven to abortion AND their unborn children. We love the men who often play a role in an abortion decision being made. We love the families who are, tragically, affected by abortion for generations, unless there is healing that occurs. We love those with life-changing and life-threatening health issues or disabilities, whether they’re in the womb, at the end of a life long-lived, or somewhere in between.
On Thursday, “The Human Face of Abortion” General Session, moderated by the Honorable Lynda Bell offered a panel consisting of three abortion survivors: Dan Compton, Sarah Zagorski, and myself. As I participated, another realization struck me. We weren’t just speaking that day about our experiences to put our individual face to the issue of abortion.
Nor were we only exemplifying the critical importance of loving the women and men, children and families impacted by abortion. All of us gathered at the Convention also acknowledged that we must love even the abortionists and clinic workers who are a part of the abortion industry.
We know they have built walls of justification and rationalization that enables them to do the awful work that they do. We love them enough to put a face to what they’ve done to us and break down those walls. We love them enough to want more for them than to traffic in the blood of unborn babies and their mothers’ misery. We love them enough to pray for them.
Maybe I’m alone in thinking about this during our panel, but many thanks to Dan Compton, a fellow Kansas Citian, for sharing his story. For reasons we will never know, abortionist George Tiller spared his life by refusing to complete an abortion on his biological mother. As Dan shared how Tiller housed his birthmother the last few months of her pregnancy and ultimately delivered Dan at birth, I couldn’t help but think that there was more to Dr. Tiller than the 50,000 abortions he had once boasted about performing.
Dan is not the first child that I’ve heard about Dr. Tiller sparing. Was there an ulterior motive that wasn’t loving in nature on his part when he took such actions? I don’t know, nor will we ever. God knows his heart and whether he repented.
What I do know is that for whatever was his motivation, Tiller showed mercy to Dan in a way that my birthmother’s abortionist didn’t to me. Only God and those who fought for me once I was delivered alive were merciful to me.
Dan’s story of being rescued, of being redeemed and restored through his adoption and later sobriety after a decade of struggle with drugs, is a powerful one. My greatest takeaway, though, was the reminder that when we “love them all,” that includes those in the abortion industry, difficult as that is.
I can’t help but wonder, if Tiller was still alive today, would he have been converted to a pro-life position? The life of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL, reminds us that conversion and repentance is, indeed, possible.
I feel a kindred connection to Dan in this respect. Although my birthmother’s abortionist had long been deceased, I would have been grateful for the opportunity to reach out to him, to let him know that in spite of all that I’ve experienced, I was not hateful towards him. I would have loved the opportunity to hear his perspective about if and how my survival affected him.
Thanks again, Dan, and Sarah, for sharing your stories, and to Kansans for Life and NRLC for an outstanding Convention. From the conversations that I had with others, attendees were informed, inspired and energized, just as I was.