This week the “Victoria Derbyshire Programme” on the famed BBC network did a feature on Kansas City abortion survivor Melissa Ohden.
Ohden’s story is riveting enough to deserve international attention. At 14, Ohden learned a “shocking secret” about her past: a nurse at an Iowa hospital had found her crying in a pile of medical waste after a botched abortion.
“I grew up knowing I’d been born prematurely, that I had been adopted,” Ohden, now 41, told BBC. “What I didn’t know was that there was this great secret behind all of this. That I should have been delivered dead, and instead I was born alive.”
Ohden weighed three pounds at birth but survived and was adopted by a loving family. The revelation of her birth at 14, however, sent her into an emotional tailspin that led eventually to eating disorders and alcohol abuse. “I didn’t want to be me,” said Ohden.
To reverse the downward momentum, Ohden set out to find her birth mother, a quest that took more than a decade. On finding her, Ohden received one more shock to the system. Her birth mother received a double shock.
“She was not told I survived. It was kept a secret from her,” Ohden told BBC. “I was placed for adoption without her ever knowing.” The mother had gone 30 years unaware she had a living child.
“it was absolutely surreal,” said Ohden of their meeting as she struggled to put it in words. “It was one of those defining moments of your life.”
As Ohden learned, her mother’s mother coerced her into having the abortion. In that the grandmother worked at the hospital, she arranged it through back channels and has since admitted telling her colleagues to “leave the baby in the room to die.”
Now a pro-life activist and author, Ohden lives in Kansas. By chance her birth mother as well as one of her half sisters lives here as well. They see each other as often as they can. “My biological family is a huge part of my life,” said Ohden.
If the BBC found Ohden’s story compelling, the Kansas City Star has not. A search for her name in the back files of the Star turns up nothing. For all of the extraordinary uplift the story provides, it also reveals the gossamer thin distinction between abortion and infanticide, and the “Maggie Award”-winners at the Star cannot have that.