On the night of Aug. 29, 1977, Melissa Ohden’s mother was having an abortion at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.
Over one billion babies have been aborted since the 1970s, but Ohden is one of eight known babies to survive the experience.
Her biological mother had a saline infusion abortion. This procedure was common in the ’70s, but is no longer performed.
“The doctor takes out amniotic fluid from the womb and inserts a salt solution to burn the unborn baby from the outside to the inside,” Ohden said.
“My mother was then induced to have labor, and I was delivered.”
When Ohden was born, her two-pound body was supposed to be dead. After a few seconds, she began to make small, grunting sounds and demonstrated noticeable movement.
Even though the medical staff was not required to care for the barely alive baby, the staff transferred her to another hospital and checked her into neonatal care.
Carefully observed by nurses, the baby girl continued to grow stronger. On Oct. 17, 1977, Ohden was adopted. Doctors warned her new parents that she could have mental and physical disabilities from the attempted abortion.
The family welcomed her with open arms, and when she was 5 years old doctors assured the family that she was going to be healthy.
“I grew up in a loving home , ” Ohden said.
“My parents did not tell me I had been adopted until I was 14 years old. My older sister had become pregnant , and my parents told her about my abortion survival. That was the way the Lord intended me to find out.”
Ohden had support from her family but said she felt angry, confused, sad and scared after discovering her true past.
“I began to feel guilty for those emotions because it was a miracle that I was even alive,” she said.
University chaplain Dr. George Loutherback heard about Ohden’s amazing story and invited her to speak on campus.
On Nov. 11 she shared her testimony with students during chapel.
Sophomore nursing major Ashley Filippuzzi is vice president of Cru 4 Life, a
UMHB group dedicated to the pro-life movement.
“I am greatly appreciative of Melissa coming to speak with us,” she said. “I hope students are more aware now on the issue of abortion.”
Sophomore elementary education major Amanda Willey is also an advocate for pro-life.
“I hope that people heard her story and see how abortion affects so many lives, not just the woman having the abortion,” she said. “We have a responsibility to speak out about the abortion.”
Ohden said she has lived an “amazingly wonderful life” and thinks the Lord intended to spare her life so she could share her story with the world.
She continues to speak in the United States about the pro-life movement. She has her story at melissaohden.com and has recently created the
Web site foroliviassake.org as a tribute to her first child, Olivia, who was born in 2008.
“My sites were developed to share with others about the impact of abortion,” Ohden said. “By doing what I can, it’s a blessing if I can change one person’s belief at the end of the day about abortion, and spare the life of a child.”