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A Voice For The Voiceless!

Recently the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade ruling of 1973 concerning abortion.
For pro-lifers, this was received with great joy, and for others, it was extremely disappointing.

It is important to say upfront that this decision does not outlaw abortion. It simply means that no longer does the US constitution maintain a legal right to abortion and now becomes the same as it is in Australia, with State governments able to make laws concerning pregnancy termination.

The controversial Supreme Court decision has heated up the topic of the morality of abortion in Australia and around the world. I am reminded of a meeting in Melbourne where I heard the testimony of Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion. Melissa told us, “Thirty-three years ago, my biological mother, a 19-year-old university student, got pregnant out of wedlock”.

As a result, in her fifth month of pregnancy, her mother underwent a saline infusion abortion, and after five days, Melissa was “delivered” and though supposed to be dead, was born alive. Unfortunately, she suffered severe respiratory distress, and doctors believed she would be disabled and probably die soon, but that was not to be the case. Melissa said, “I am one of the babies who has lived to tell their story of a failed abortion”.

Foster parents adopted Melissa, and they loved her, nurtured and guided her. During her teen years, Melissa discovered for the first time that she had survived an attempt on her life. Naturally, she was horrified, and she then gave ten years of her life seeking to obtain medical records and deal with the whole traumatic event. Melissa says, “The biggest question was, ‘Why? Why could you make that decision to end my life? Could I have been so unwanted and so unloved…?’

Eventually, she reached out and made contact with her biological parents and told them she was alive and well and forgave them. Melissa describes the emotional day she met her biological mother in her book, called, “You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir”. She says in her book, “We hugged for a long time—so much love and pain, hope and forgiveness were communicated in that embrace.”
A journalist asked Melissa, “What does forgiveness mean for you?” and she replied, “God’s grace truly transformed me. We live in a world where forgiveness is so very hard for people. For me, it’s much easier because I know what Jesus Christ did for me. I know I’ll never forget that — and that His forgiveness wasn’t just for me”.

So, it’s not been an easy process, but I have to forgive over and over again. After Melissa’s marriage and subsequent pregnancy, she described how she delivered her daughter Olivia in the very same hospital where the abortion attempt was made on Melissa herself years earlier. What joy she has now in having the gift of life, being married and being a mother, things many other women take for granted, but not Melissa after her close brush with death.

Melissa believes, “There is no greater gift that a woman can give than life to a child. And if she believes that she can’t provide for that child forever, the next best thing that she can do for that child then is to give them the joy of being with another family for adoption”. Adoption is another option!

Only in the last few years has she begun telling her story publicly. She wants to be a “voice for the voiceless”. The Bible says: “For You (Our Heavenly Father) created my inmost being, You knit me together in my mother’s womb”. Psalm 139:13.

Each one of us is created unique and special, and Melissa’s story reminds us of the preciousness of life. What human being—what government has the right to legislate to take this gift of life from us?

Melissa’s husband and their daughter Olivia are grateful Melissa survived an abortion attempt and was given the gift of life, and so are thousands of other people who have met her and heard her speak.
Journalist Greg Sheridan writes, “Love the mother, love the child is not a bad slogan for the pro-life movement”. ­How precious is the gift of life!

  • Written by Bruce Stewart for New Life Aus, 15 July 2022