Abortion Survivor Tells Her Story in New Book


By John Murdock Published on January 26, 2017

You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir is an extraordinary tale of survival and transformation. At 14, Melissa (Cross) Ohden discovered that when she first left the womb people were disappointed to see her alive. Her cries were evidence that the late term saline abortion — where a doctor poisons the amniotic fluid in order to chemically burn the child inside and out — had failed.

Melissa first dealt with this shocking past by turning to “the unholy trinity” of bulimia, alcohol and sex. Today, though, her strength comes from faith in the true Trinity and she is a wife and mother who has made hers a public face for the preborn.

In the book, Ohden chronicles the search for her roots, a journey which brought her eye to eye with the people of her past, people who like her were wounded by the reality of abortion.

Search and Discovery

What her adoptive parents had long kept hidden came to light when Melissa’s older sister faced a crisis pregnancy of her own. In an effort to save their grandchild, they told their troubled daughter about her sister’s circumstances. That decision to embrace the truth helped to save the life of Ohden’s preborn nephew and set Ohden on a path that would help to save many more.

The decision to go public with her story was not an easy one, though. Surprisingly, the catalyst was a trip to an abortion clinic — as a customer.

Nevertheless, it first prompted a deep struggle as the teen went from believing that her biological family had made a loving decision to realizing, instead, that she carried the genes of those who wished her dead. Yet, when Ohden found her birthmother years later, she found another victim — a teenager pressed into an abortion that she never wanted and long unaware that her baby had survived.

This almost unbelievable drama is told with raw honesty and detailed documentation. The story twists but ultimately turns in the direction of grace and reconciliation. Now, Ohden heads up the Abortion Survivors Network through which she has connected with over 200 people who can tell a similar tale. These survivors stand as signposts to the always present humanity of the preborn.

Going Public

The decision to go public with her story was not an easy one, though. Surprisingly, the catalyst was a trip to an abortion clinic — as a customer.

“You should be here, not there.” Melissa Ohden heard those words from a pro-life sidewalk counselor at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Ignorant of the other services provided at this heavily fortified compound, she had come as a married woman to refill her birth control prescription, not to get an abortion. But she had just surprised even herself by telling the man with the rosary in his hand that she was an abortion survivor, and then Ohden’s heart told her that, yes, she should be with them.

That was her last visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic. Since then, she has shared her story with thousands and on January 27th, she will appear before tens of thousands more on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at the March for Life.

Ohden’s is a song that should be heard by more than just the pro-life choir. Indeed, in many ways, she could have blended easily into the crowd at the recent Women’s March on Washington. Ohden put a Masters in Social Work into practice at a state agency assisting victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence and knew the struggles of a working mom. In the pages of her book, Ohden also notes her early admiration for Hillary Clinton and quotes approvingly from the likes of liberal favorites Joseph Campbell, Alice Walker and Arianna Huffington. The first time she shared her story publicly it was under the auspices of Feminists for Life.

Today, however, the left increasingly defends the boundaries of feminism with the litmus test of abortion rights. Ohden may not get past those gatekeepers. (Her Capitol Hill testimony against Planned Parenthood probably guarantees it.) She recently lamented that the media regularly “silences stories like mine.”

The NPR interviews may never come, but her story is a powerful one, powerfully told. It reads like a detective novel but its truth will elicit tears of sadness and joy. You Carried Me deserves to be carried wide and far.


John Murdock is a law professor at the Handong International Law School, a Christian institution teaching U.S. law in South Korea. He was in the womb the day Roe v. Wade was first announced.

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