Abortion Survivor: ‘I Am More than a Choice’ or a ‘Reproductive Right’


“I am more than a choice,” said Melissa Odhen, a survivor of a botched abortion, during her speech at the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, DC, on Friday.

Transcript below:

Forty-seven years ago the Supreme Court handed down the decision meant to be my death sentence. Unfortunately, in 1977, my biological mother had a saline infusion abortion forced upon her. Over a five-day period, I soaked in a toxic salt solution, being poisoned and scalded to death, but 42 years ago God said, ‘No, not this child,’ and I was accidentally born alive, weighing a little less than three pounds and facing a guarded future, but time after time, people said, ”Yes, yes Lord we will not allow her to be left to die. Yes, we will love her.”

Years later, my birth mother and many members of my birth parents’ families also would say, “Yes, yes we love her, too. Yes, we will be reconciled,” and we have been. I am so blessed to have survived an abortion, to be loved into life by my adoptive parents, to be a a wife and a mother to two amazing daughters, one of whom is here today. Olivia, you are so loved. 

And now, to be reunited with my birth mother, Ruth, and many members of her family who know that they are forgiven and that I love them, and contrary to what our culture that has been so deeply impacted by abortion says, abortion didn’t empower my birth mother, It certainly didn’t empower me. It didn’t empower my own daughters, who never would have lived if that abortion had succeeded in ending my life. Life is what has empowered each and every one of us. Life is what has allowed healing. Life is what brought forth love and forgiveness and life is what allowed the pain of our family to be transformed into purpose. Life is what empowers us all.

On behalf of my entire family, on behalf of 300 survivors we work with through the Abortion Survivors Network, I thank you. Thank you for everything you do to restore a culture of life where women are supported, families are encouraged, children are protected, future generations will flourish. I can see the end of Roe versus Wade, can’t you?

But to get there, though, I think the world needs to face what abortion has done, who abortion has affected. I am more than a choice. I am more than someone else’s reproductive right. I am a human being, and so are the other survivors of abortion. Would you like to meet some of them? I know you would.

It’s time for our world to come face-to-face with the choice of abortion.

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.


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