Survivors’ Stories May Often Be Kept Private, But They Will No Longer Be Silenced

By Melissa Ohden

Editor’s note. As our NRL News Today readers know, Melissa survived a 1977 saline infusion abortion. She has spoken around the world, testified in Congress, and met President Trump. The following appears on her blog and is reposted with permission.

President Donald J. Trump on a Pro-Life conference call and meeting Pro Life advocates Feb. 14, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House.

The more the U.S. culture experiences the phenomenon of increasingly aggressive abortion legislation being introduced, the more politicians like Governor Northam of Virginia discuss the circumstances of leaving the medical care of abortion survivors as “a conversation” to be had between a doctor and a mother, the more abortion survivor stories like mine are finally being heard in the media that has, by and large, never shared them, the more survivors stories are coming forward.

Although I certainly wish we weren’t facing these circumstances, like Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and others, the reality of our lives finally being discussed openly gives me incredible hope.

Hope not just for the fate our country, but hope for survivors and their families who have felt utterly alone in their experience for so long.

From 2012 to January of 2019, through my work in founding and directing The Abortion Survivors Network, I was connected with 265 survivors of abortion. As events unfolded in New York and Virginia, and the other states that followed, the number of survivors we’ve connected with has continued to climb.

By mid-February when I met with President Trump in the Oval Office, the number had climbed to 269. And now, just a couple of weeks later, the number has climbed to 279.

The experiences are varied, as all of ours are. But the survivors we’ve connected with recently include twin survivors and survivors of illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade, among so many others.

I am humbled that survivors continue to find The Abortion Survivors Network and have their lives positively impacted. By being reassured that they are far from alone in their experience, they find support from our group, and they continue in their own personal journeys of healing and strength.

Most survivors will never share their story publicly. But whether they remain private or are shared publicly, the fact remains that they exist.

They’re not alone.

They’re supported.

I don’t know where things will go next in our country, but what I do know is that survivors will continue to need us. To need me.

I was not silenced by the saline infusion abortion that attempted to end my life. I will not be silenced by the shame and embarrassment I felt too long for being a survivor in a world that has seen abortion as a woman’s choice, a woman’s right. I will not be silenced by whatever happens politically in our country.

Survivors of abortion, whether you ever share your story publicly, I want you to know that you don’t have to be silenced, either. You don’t have to speak up or speak out like me, but simply speaking to someone—anyone— who you feel safe in talking to, is all you need to move past that place of silent suffering.

And if you ever want to talk…..know you’re not alone.