A woman who survived her mother’s abortion attempt urged senators Tuesday to pass a bill protecting babies who live through abortions.
She also said she’s not the only abortion survivor in the U.S.
“I know of 281 others just like me,” said Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivors Network. The actual number, though, is likely “much higher,” she said.
Ohden appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortion at the point an unborn baby can feel pain. Supporters of the bill say that’s at 20 weeks. The bill also would protect babies who survive abortion. Democrats on the committee oppose it.
In 1977, Ohden’s mother underwent a saline infusion abortion at age 19 at a hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, when she likely was around 31 weeks pregnant, Ohden said. Ohden’s grandmother forced Ohden’s mom to get the abortion.
“As the toxic salt solution of the saline infusion abortion was injected into the amniotic fluid surrounding me in the womb, attempting to scald and poison me to death, I wonder how long it took for the pain to set in,” Ohden said. “If you read about it online or in medical journals, you will find children like me called the ‘red skinned,’ or ‘candy-apple babies,’ because that toxic solution would turn the skin bright red, as it peeled it away and moved internally into the organs.
“I wonder,” Ohden added, “how much I thrashed about as it attacked my body. I’ve met many women who had saline infusion abortions and who’ve told me how they actually felt their child thrashing about in their womb after the delivery of the toxic salt solution as it started to poison them.”
Ohden was expelled from the womb on the fifth day of the procedure.
“My arrival into this world was not so much a birth, but an accident, a ‘live birth’ after a saline infusion abortion. My medical records actually state, ‘a saline infusion for an abortion was done, but was unsuccessful,’” she said.
The doctor initially thought she was dead. Yet she grew stronger every day and eventually was adopted. She discovered the truth about her birth at age 14.
Since then, she has met the nurses who cared for her. One nurse, she has been told, rushed her to the NICU, shouting, “she just kept gasping for breath, and so I couldn’t just leave her there to die!”
“Children just like me are being subjected to similarly horrific, painful abortion procedures that lead to their death,” Ohden said. “Abortion doesn't spare a child from suffering, it causes suffering. … There should be no question that every child should be spared from the excruciating pain of an abortion procedure like I was subjected to.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog. MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.