By Melissa Ohden
Editor’s note. Melissa survived a saline abortion in 1977. She has spoken around the world and at many National Right to Life Conventions about her experience. She founder and CEO of The Abortion Survivors Network.
“Babies survive abortions, I’m one of them.”
“Babies survive abortions, my friend is one of them.”
“Babies survive abortions, my wife is one of them.”
A historic March, one that our movement has worked towards, prayed for, and dreamed about, with Roe vs. Wade no longer prevailing over our country. It was simultaneously truly historic for abortion survivors as well.
In the 49 years of the March, there had never been a group of abortion survivors marching together. Over the years, there had been a couple of us attending; Claire Culwell and I were honored to both speak at the 2020 March. But this year….this was something life-changing for survivors. There’s been a shift in the culture.
This historic year, I believe the movement has so much to celebrate in the midst of our new battle. The lives and now public presence of abortion survivors is one of them.
My excitement over survivors from The Abortion Survivors Network attending and the whirlwind of effort put into the planning honestly kept me from realizing just how meaningful this March would be. I could finally rise on the day commemorate the awful 1973 decision without the weight of Roe hanging around my neck, threatening to swallow any semblance of joy.
I can’t think of a better year for survivors who have been healed, empowered, and equipped to find and use their voice to gather together than to celebrate the reversal of Roe. We begin, in earnest, to further educate the public about the humanity of every preborn child. The need for protection for born-alive infants like us who’d survived an abortion has never never more stark.
The world has always been watching the pro-life movement. In so doing they would learn what it means to be pro-woman, pro-child, and pro-family. But year after year, as they attended the March or saw the media footage of it, the groups highlighting the various aspects of abortion’s impact–such as Silent No More and And Then There Were None, the stories of abortion survivors, many victimized by abortion attempts who lived to tell their stories–have been conspicuously absent in the media’s accounts.
I can’t put into words the joy this survivor community brings me daily. And by the responses of people at the March, you love our survivor community as much as I do. And as we shift our attention to the states with marches and legislation, I’m excited to share that you will see abortion survivors in your states as we launch ambassadors later this year.
There was never a right to end our lives—there never will be—federally or at the state level. Ending the life of another human being is inexcusable and terrible.
As the nation grapples with the shifting landscape of abortion, people need to be educated about so much. The lives and experiences of abortion survivors–of women who have experienced failed abortions and are parenting their child, and adoptive parents raising a survivor—makes it possible for the nation to see a reality that has been unseen for decades.
I believe that activating abortion survivors and families impacted by failed abortions who want to be involved in the pro-life movement is one of the key ways we make abortion unthinkable. It’s one thing to deny the existence and voice of one survivor, one woman who experienced a failed abortion…..but a whole movement of them?
Look for survivors speaking at marches in Arizona, California, and countless more states this year as the battle for life rages on. If you’re looking for a way to spread the pro-life message, one way is to follow The Abortion Survivors Network on social media, share photos from the March, and data we’ve released about the incidence of failed abortions and more.
If you’re working on legislation that could benefit from a survivor’s voice or you’re planning your own march or educational event, we’re here at partner with you in this post-Roe America. And if you’re an abortion survivor who hasn’t yet connected with us, know you aren’t alone, and you don’t have to share your story publicly.
But if you do, we’re here to help amplify your voice and activate you.
The email address is at The Abortion Survivors Network.