Survivor of botched abortion tells Congress: Planned Parenthood makes sure “failures” like me don’t happen

By Julie Roys

To Planned Parenthood, Melissa Ohden’s existence would be considered a failure. Born after soaking five days in a toxic saline solution, Ohden miraculously survived her mother’s abortion. But, as Ohden testified Wednesday before a Congressional hearing investigating Planned Parenthood, “(I)f my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that ‘failures’ like me don’t happen.” Below are transcript and video of Melissa’s gripping testimony. I thank God that not only Melissa exists, but more than 200 other survivors, which she references. Yet, I am horrified that more than a million unborn babies are killed every year in this country — legally. Do they not have rights too?

Melissa Ohden’s Testimony to the House Judiciary Committee

Thank you so much for your time today, Representatives, as we expose the horrors of Planned Parenthood.


This is the number of abortions that Planned Parenthood’s 2014 fiscal report lists as being completed that year. Based on these numbers, 897 children will lose their lives to an abortion completed by Planned Parenthood each and every day.

Why do I find this horrific? Because I have a lot in common with these children. I was meant to be one of them. I should have been just another statistic. But by the grace of God, I am more than a statistic. I come here today as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a Master’s level prepared social worker, and yes, as an abortion survivor.

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birth-recordFrom “botched abortion” to “the dreaded complication of abortion” (a child who lives), I’ve been called just about everything you can imagine. But as you can see here in my medical records from 1977 (show record), I am the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion (the exact wording in my records reads–“a saline infusion for an abortion was done but was unsuccessful.” Other parts of my records identify “saline infusion” as a complication of my biological mother’s pregnancy. You could certainly say that saline infusion abortion complicated things).

It has taken years to unravel the secrets surrounding my survival, to have contact with my biological family and medical professionals that cared for me, and although there are still unanswered questions, what I do know is that my life was intended to be ended by an abortion, and even after I survived, my life was in jeopardy.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me today, but in August of 1977, I survived a failed saline infusion abortion. A saline infusion abortion involves injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid surrounding the preborn child. The intent of that salt solution is to scald the child to death, from the outside in.

For days, I soaked in that toxic salt solution, and on the fifth day of the procedure, my biological mother, a 19-year-old college student, delivered me, after her labor was induced . I should have been delivered dead, as a successful abortion.

In 2013, I learned through contact with my biological mother’s family that not only was this abortion forced upon her against her will, but also that it was my maternal grandmother, a nurse, who delivered me in this final step of the abortion procedure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa.

Unfortunately, I also learned that when my grandmother realized that the abortion had not succeeded in ending my life, she demanded that I be left to die.

I may never know how, exactly, two nurses who were on staff that day (one of whom has had part of her story passed down to my adoptive family) found out about me, but what I do know is that their willingness to fight for medical care to be provided to me saved my life.


I know where children like me were left to die at St. Luke’s Hospital—a utility closet. In 2014, I met a nurse who assisted in a saline infusion abortion there in 1976, and delivered a living baby boy. After he was delivered alive, she followed her superior’s orders and placed him in the utility closet in a bucket of formaldehyde to be picked up later as medical waste after he died there, alone.

A bucket of formaldehyde in a utility closet was meant to be my fate after I wasn’t scalded to death through the abortion. Yet here I am today.

I weighed a little less than 3 pounds (2 pounds, 14 ounces), I suffered from jaundice, severe respiratory problems and seizures (show picture). One of the first notations in my medical records states that I looked like I was about 31 weeks gestational age when I survived.

Despite the miracle of my survival, the doctor’s prognosis for my life was initially very poor. My adoptive parents were told that I would suffer from multiple disabilities throughout my life. However, here I am today, perfectly healthy.

Yet it isn’t just how abortion ends the life of children like me that isn’t talked about in today’s world. It’s also not discussed what happens to children like me who live.

RELATED: Gianna Jessen Asks Congress “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?”

We are your friend, your co-worker, your neighbor, and you would likely never guess just by looking at us that we survived what we did. In my work as the Founder of The Abortion Survivor’s Network, I have had contact with 203 other abortion survivors. Letters from some of these survivors have been submitted to this committee.

I’m here today to share my story to not only highlight the horror of abortion taking place at Planned Parenthood, but to give a voice to other survivors like me, and most importantly, to give a name, a face, and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of children who will have their lives ended by Planned Parenthood this year alone.

As you consider the horrors of what happens at Planned Parenthood each day, I would urge you to remember my story, and Gianna’s, too. We may not have survived abortions at Planned Parenthood, but the expectation for our lives to be ended by abortion are the very same as those who do lose their lives there.

And I have long believed that if my birthmother’s abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today. Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that “failures” like me don’t happen.

As a fellow American, as a fellow human being, I deserved the same right to life, the same equal protection under the law as each and every one of you. Yet we live in a time where not only do such protections not exist, but my own tax dollars and yours go to fund an organization that has perfected the very thing that was meant to end my life.

This must end.

To connect with Melissa Ohden, visit

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51 thoughts on “Survivor of botched abortion tells Congress: Planned Parenthood makes sure “failures” like me don’t happen”

    1. Rose, the definition of efficient:
      1.performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable:
      Planned Parenthood does not fit this definition.

      1. Yes, they do. They are an efficient, killing machine. And of course they don’t coerce. They convince. And if the child is born alive? They kill it and sell it’s parts. How any sane human being can consider that ok, is beyond me.

        1. So I see you’re one of the unintelligent people that believe they sell baby parts. You do know this has been proven to be a LIE.

          And her story has nothing to do with Planned Parenthood. Abortions are not performed that way. Planned Parenthood DOES NOT CONVINCE OR COERCE anyone into an abortion. Have you been there? I doubt it, because if you have you wouldn’t be lying!

          The would never kill a baby born alive. That would be a late term abortion and they are RARELY PERFORM. Most abortions take place in the firs trimester AND NO FETUS/ZYGOTE would survive outside of the womb at that stage.

          Seriously, stop worrying about those that don’t make it into this world and worry about the unwanted babies and children that are already here.

          Of course, you ‘pro-lifers’ don’t actually do that. You don’t care once that baby is born. You all are just ‘pro-birth’.

          1. And how many murders have you committed by aborting innocent babies? Oh, and the children you mentioned that are already here, should we just kill them too…you’re sick lady. You can protect Planned Parenthood all you want, but everyone knows they are killing innocent babies in a horrific way!

          2. JA,
            Just keep the facts straight what you said about pro-lifers not caring about the babies when they’re born is not true. Have you been to any of the crisis pregnancy centers?
            They offer support, clothing, baby furniture toys, food, diapers parent education and emotional support or whatever kind of support the mom needs if she wants to keep her baby. Both mother and child are loved .
            and many other loving prolife families adopt these babies that are not wanted by their birth mothers

          3. You’re sick to think what you think. If it’s only about those born alive then why investigate murder, they’re dead we are alive. It doesn’t matter at what age it happens it death. But when they’re born to be killed it raises the question why. You can’t make anyone believe it’s tissue so they say no feelings, but it cries out in pain so you say take its life before it breathes. Well any parent who stabs their child in the back of the head and removes it brain or dismembered their baby would be convicted of a heinous crime. Yet doctors and nurses are allowed to behave this way for the rights of the mother, for Society so they don’t foot the bill of a poor unwanted child. You say worry about those who are alive we are, those babies in the womb are just that ALIVE they have to be killed to take away that scenario. Love is knowing the value of something, not taking it away. Foolishness abounds in the willingly ignorant. Bad things happen at abortion clinics, parts do get sold vaccines are made using them this is fact despite cover ups. No love at all, if I seen this happening to anyone I would go into attack mode, I couldn’t watch this take place in or out of the womb or at any age in life. It would never be okay

          4. Prove to me they don’t sell body parts and I’ll believe you. I’ve seen evidence that proves otherwise.

          5. Yes they do coerce women into abortions, and yes i was there, but I resisted, they were very insistent and said abortion was the only solution. I finally agreed to think about it so I could leave. Margaret Sanger clinic Manhattan

    2. Rose, you are a sick individual! Not human! Efficient in what? Burning baby human beings alive, dousing them in formaldihyde, ripping their limbs off their defenseless bodies, all while squirmming to pull away from it all?!! You wouldnt be here if your mother had an abortion. You think about that! Why is it animals have more rights & protection than babies do? You will have to answer to the Creator one day! God have mercy on your soul!

  1. 1. How does this have anything to do with Planned Parenthood? The method discussed is not one they use, and neither is the part in which the heartless maniacs would leave survivors in a utility closet soaking in fermaldehyde. Her experience was not in any way related to Planned Parenthood.

    2. None of this would have happened if Planned Parenthood were involved, as it does not participate in forcing abortions on unwilling would-be mothers. If her mother didn’t want an abortion, Planned Parenthood would never have attempted to impose one on her simply because her family members wanted it. Therefore, once again, this testimony has NOTHING to do with Planned Parenthood.

    3. This anecdote, while sad, in no way relates to the topic at hand–Planned Parenthood’s practices, the process and legitimacy of delivering the organs of aborted fetuses to be used for medical research, or anything else. It is an emotional story, but has literally zero bearing on the topic of Planned Parenthood and its practices.

    1. I’ll leave aside the claim that PP doesn’t participate in coercing abortions, though I don’t believe that for a second, because I want to address the types of abortions mentioned. What part of this testimony is not connected to PP? They may not use the saline abortion, but I’ll ask this. Which would you prefer to be done to yourself? Would you rather be burned inside and out in a saline solution or have your body ripped to pieces while you’re still alive?

      This has everything to do with what PP does.

    2. I believe the point she is making is that 1) abortions should never be done period, but ESPECIALLY not these “late term” abortions. 7 and 1/2 months?? Come on. That’s horrific. And 2) she is stating that Planned Parenthood is an efficient killing machine. They absolutely have children born alive. And they KILL THEM. Did you not listen? Have you not been reading?

    3. Now this is a pathetic ‘defense’ of planned parenthood. You have inadvertently affirmed that PPF is a more damning abortion enterprise since it functions as a higher rated killing machine.
      That they use other methods to do the killing is indeed what is irrelevant.
      That they kill babies is.
      So yes it has everything to do with it.
      How to stop that killing machine is what the hearing is about.

    4. So maybe planned parenthood no longer uses saline abotion but do u know for a fact that they didnt in the 70s, you forget these women are adults now, and what happened to them was during a very different time when laws were not yet in place for abortions. JS

    1. Have you done your research and see that the videos are heavily edited. Edited to make it look like something is happening that isn’t really? That the morons who made these videos are not being ordered to turn ALL THE VIDEOS over.

      They claim they didn’t lie, but are not want to plead the 5th? So called pro-lifers have lied and manipulated data to make it look like Planned Parenthood is doing something they haven’t.

      You should remove those videos since they’re nothing, but lies.

      1. JA Hopefully, someday YOU will fall into a vat of acid, so that you can then enjoy the same experience as those you HAPPILY condemn to death….by any means. In the alternative, perhaps a tree shreader will consume you, as that is the PLANNED PARENTHOOD equivalent method. You have no soul, and your life is a curse on all of mankind.

  2. This must stop the killing of babes they have the right to life.on one should be able to kill as a last minute birth control everyone knows how not to get pregnant so how about if u really dont .want a baby Dont get pregnastnt growup stop acting like u are run by your need to have unprotected sex u dont have the right to kill someone just because they aren’t big enough to stop u if u don’t know how to use a condom read the box.its sad really because the safest place for a baby should be in its mom tummy but now its actually the most dangerous.Everyone needs to growup my mom told me when i was 10yrs how not toget pregnant i had my frist baby at 25 so cut the crap saying it was an accidental pregnantice an in the case of rape give the baby up for adoption the baby did nothing wrong so dont punish it if u take part in this terrible thing an dont repent then the Lord Jesus will deal with u.

  3. Melissa, thank you for sharing your testimony. We need more testimonies like this. What will it take for the world to finally see. Abortion is murder, plain and simple. May God richly bless you for having the courage to stand up to evil.

      1. Jane, its a good thing your mother chose life for you, otherwise you would be another statistic too.
        what is WRONG with you heartless people.
        I’m blessed to have the gift of my children.
        where are the choices for these tiny innocent voiceless victems?
        Abortion is NOT about ones personal “choice” it’s about murder….the murder of innocent precious babies period.
        It’s a very selfish, heartless act…smh!!!

    1. So, if you have a 2 year old child that is hard to take care of, do you have the right to “choose” to to kill it? It’s a different body, with a different life, it has the right to choose to live!

    2. You support the right to “CHOSE” what – kill an innocent child? Killing people is a right? I thought our constitution gave us the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. But only if you’re big enough to kill little people?

    3. Would you allow me to choose if I think you should live? Don’t give me age crap, I mean really you find life worthless enough to think others have that right, so what makes yours so much more worth it. I don’t know you or why your mother had you not do I care if you don’t have Dime you have a right to live it out. The point so do the unborn. You have no right to say you’re pro choice, if no one has a right when to end yours

    4. Jane, your mother chose to have you. She could have just as easily aborted you! Think about that! While you soak in a saline bath.

    5. You have the right to choose to have protected sex, you can choose to abstain and not have any sex, you can choose to take birth control (which is free at any health center) you can choose to take emergency contraceptive, (Such as Plan B/the day after pill. Which is not the abortion pill.) you can choose to give your child up for adoption, you can even choose to give birth in a fast food bathroom and give your baby to any fire department, police station or hospital with no questions asked. (Safe Haven Law) And God forbid, you could even choose to take responsibility for all of your precious CHOICES and step up to be a loving parent to your child. The law protects all of those choices of yours. But no, I do not support the choice to commit murder. Because of selfishness, greed, or even the sad realization that our society isn’t protecting the education and rights of young girls. Perhaps if we did that, then women wouldn’t grow up thinking they can make dumb choices and be lauded for the horrific outcome.

  4. Without the fundamental beleif that a baby is a baby (we all start the same way), there will never be peace among us. The graces given a mother (should she chose to accept them) are tremendous! There is no greater honor than the title “mother”. I tell my own children that sometimes moms (and dads) don’t understand the great gift they are given when a child enters their life. I morn the loss of a baby who was aborted almost 20 years ago by a friend. A saline abortion at a PP. I was the only voice that child had. Who knows what light that little one would have brought to this world! The choice is made when a man & a women choose to become one. In the case of rape it is never the baby or the mother’s fault. Why make the baby pay for the evil? If a child as a birth defect the mother and father are given even greater unseen graces! Let us not fight sisters, but understand the beauty of the gifts we are given. And to my sisters who do not understand let us lift you up. God bless these strong survivors who are fighting this. I am the same age as them and I’m so glad they are here!

  5. All I’m sitting here thinking while reading this is that you “pro-choice” folks should’ve been the ones aborted. To take the life of an innocent child is murder no matter how you want to spin it. It is taking another human life. Coming from a woman who gave birth to not one but two children 1st and 16, second at 18 both by the same father. We were kids, we knew the possible outcome but we did what we did. We took responsibility for the lives we created from day 1! It wasn’t those children who chose to be conceived, we made that choice and instead of taking another innocent child’s life we stepped up and did what was right. We never once considered abortion, adoption was on the table for a total of 1 minute before we realized we would never be able to live that down. In conclusion, I pray that planned parenthood and all associated with it get what’s coming to them. God doesn’t turn a blind eye to murder! This country is not the greatest country in the world! Why? Because there are a ton of idiots walking around who don’t want to be held accountable for their wrong doing and want to justify it! There is NO justification on this earth for murder! Period!

  6. By the way, Congress has determined that PP has done exactly as accused. Harvesting organs for profit and have recommended charging them with the felonies they have committed. All because of some sting videos that edited out bathroom breaks for the privacy of the operative.

  7. I believe our media is to be blamed for teen sex.
    That is the issue we should be fighting next.
    Parents need to know where there kids are and who they are with.
    There are so many empty arms of couples that have to jump through to many hoops to adopt a child.
    If this country would get on there knees and turn from their evil ways and follow God’s guidelines in The Bible, we would not be so messed up as a country.
    Instead we turn from God and go our own selfish and foolish way.
    I am pro-life!

  8. I have never ever known in my whole 59 years how abortion even exists in the modern free world. But one story like this amongst many others should have congress ending abortion on the spot. How come young mother’s go to jail when they birth an unwanted child and put it in the garbage. There is no difference whatsoever from that and the abortions performed daily. Planned parenthood should never be and lots of people should go to jail. Shame on America for giving that right to women and medical people who perform them. It’s barbaric.

  9. Sure hope all you pro-lifer, God-fearing people, are willing to help pay the taxes or are able to take the child in after their born. Because we ALL know that adoption happens to every child who is birthed right? Their lives are so super perfect after their birthed, right pro-lifers? Each one of you should go out, find a child, and take them home and feed them right now. Go, get off of your asses, stop preaching Gods will and go DO it if this is what you believe. That or shut up. Your choice.

    1. Actually I did. And cared for children (33 to be exact) until their forever families could. And I know a lot of Pro.lifers God fearing people who do to.

  10. Melissa does not say why her grandmother didn’t want her to be born, or what persuaded her mother to permit it. It is horrific to imagine the kind of abortion Melissa describes. Had abortion not been considered immoral for so long, the technology may have been better, the procedure much earlier. Had it been legal, then perhaps the procedure could have been done earlier, with less hardship, as they are performed in Iowa today.

  11. Clearly, Elle, you know nothing about the States foster care program. You don’t just go out and ‘find’ a child. You must be approved, take classes, and become licensed to be foster parents. And then pray the parents don’t “all of a sudden” begin to show interest in their child. Then they still have a right to him/her and the states # 1 goal is reunification. It’s a lot harder than you think. If we could JUST go find a child, believe me, we would.

  12. If a botched lethal injection happens to an inmate on death row everyone screams about how awful that is and we must end lethal injections and even the death penalty period. The chances of a botched lethal injection of an inmate on death row are less than a botched abortion but people rarely hear about those. WE MUST END ABORTIONS, PERIOD. The claim that it is a women’s right to decide her own healthcare is obsurd. An abortion is rarely because of a women’s health. People say, what about in an instence of rape. If women would report the crime then there wouldn’t be a chance of pregnancy from a rape. Also there are things like the day after pill that would prevent pregnancy in such cases. It just sickens me to think that people think it’s ok to burn a fetus to death or pull it out of the womb limb by limb.
    Thank God these 205 babies survived their abortions. Thank God there were people who were there to help them survive. Babies are the most precious miracle we are given on this earth. They are not to be discarded.
    God help us.

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