Abortion survivor captivates pilgrims in Topeka

Melissa Ohden kept everyone spellbound.
She shouldn’t have been there. She shouldn’t have been speaking to the 1,300 – mostly youth and teens – attending the rally. And they hung on to her every word.
“I was not supposed to be born alive,” she said, explaining how her grandmother was the driving force behind her mother acquiescing to abort her baby, the grandmother’s first grandchild.
“I am so thankful that whatever decision my grandmother was making about my life that day, there were nurses on staff who defied her very orders.”
Years later Ohden was contacted by a nurse who explained she had been following the abortion survivor on social media. “I always wondered if you were the baby that I remembered from all those years ago. I bought your book and I know it’s you.”
The nurse said she was in the neonatal intensive care unit the day of the attempted abortion. “I’ll never forget, the door of the NICU came flying open that day and a tall, blonde nurse rushed you in,” the nurse said, adding that the blonde nurse carrying baby Melissa explained – using an expletive – that the abortionist had “messed up.”
The neonatal intensive care unit staff nursed baby Melissa, who had been chemically scalded by a saline solution in an attempt to poison her in her mother’s womb, miraculously back to health. Medical personnel estimated that the 2 lb. 14 oz. Ohden was born at 31 weeks of gestation, about nine weeks short of a full-term pregnancy.
Now in her fourth decade of life, she told the nearly full auditorium about how her adoptive mother and father watched her fight for her life in an incubator. “My parents often tell the story about how the very first time they laid eyes on me, they fell in love with me,” she said. “And I want that for every child in our world. Every child deserves the opportunity for someone to fall in love with them.”
When she was 14 years old a circumstance involving her sister prompted her to ask her mother about her adoptive situation.
“My mother spoke words that no parent should ever have to say. She said, ‘Missy, your biological mother had an abortion during her pregnancy with you. And you survived it.’”
That prompted Ohden’s long search for her medical records. She explained that she was working on a master’s degree in social work, coincidentally, in the city where she was born, Sioux City, Iowa, where she met her husband – the same city she later discovered her biological father lived, although he died before she had an opportunity to contact him. They later moved to Kansas City, Missouri.
After discussing her search and discoveries about her biological family, including two half-sisters, Ohden said she uncovered something shocking: her mother was told that her daughter had died, not that she had lived and was adopted.
“It’s hard for me to put into words what it was like to meet my biological mother,” she said, “except everything I could have ever wanted, and then some.”
Ohden said her mother understood how blessed she was that her daughter was alive and that her daughter was sharing her story in an attempt to change the world.
“My biological mother is truly one of my greatest supporters in this world,” she said, adding that – not so coincidentally – her biological mother also lives in Kansas City.
“Nobody but God could have directed the steps of my life,” she said.

Bishop Kemme’s homily
Bishop Carl A. Kemme and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann were the principal celebrants at a Mass after Ohden’s talk in the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
Bishop Kemme gave the homily where he talked about his parents’ 60th wedding anniversary and the homily he delivered at a Mass celebrated for them.
“At that Mass… I reflected with them at their ‘yes’ to God and to each other. It’s a simple word, yes, but it makes all the difference in our lives,” Bishop Kemme said, adding that that simple word expresses a willingness to cooperate with God’s plan and for the church.
“You see, whenever we say yes to God, something big happens. New life comes about,” he said. “In no way could my parents have ever imagined all that their yes could have entailed.”
To say yes to God is to enter into a new reality, Bishop Kemme said. “And when that is done, with God’s blessing, life spills out and heaven and earth are forever changed. “God is the author of life, both human and divine. God is the creator of all and we are the created. And God has a plan for life – for yours and for mine.”
The Catholic pro-life rally in the Performing Arts Center began with music by Wichita Adore Ministries.
The event ended with a march to the Capitol where Gov. Sam Brownback was honored for his pro-life efforts and where pro-life legislators were introduced. Kansans for Life also held public rallies at the Capitol.

About Melissa Ohden
Ohden, who lives in Kansas City, Missouri, is the founder of The Abortion Survivors Network. She was the speaker before a Mass in the Topeka Performing Arts Center and at a pro-life rally Monday, Jan. 22, on the south steps of the Capitol in Topeka. More about her and her organization may be found at TheAbortionSurvivors.com.