I am wrapping up a whirlwind 3-week tour of Australia with my husband and daughter, which was organized by Life Network Australia, in combination with pro-life organizations and individuals across Australia, including the Australian Family Association, Save the Unborn, Right to Life Australia, and Real Choices Australia, among many others. For anyone who has not had the chance to visit Australia, it is every bit as beautiful as we are told it is (although kangaroos are certainly much more difficult to come across than I had been told-just ask my sweet daughter who had been talking about going to visit them for months).
Our tour of Australia has certainly been a great success. Not only has our message about the true reality of abortion and how it affects EVERYONE’S lives across generations, been positively received, but we’ve had the opportunity to bring hope and healing to thousands of people through events in New South Wales, South Australia, the ACT, Queensland, and Victoria. Events that I spoke at ranged from local church events in small communities to events with the Australian Family Association in Melbourne, New South Wales’ Right to Life convention in Sydney, Parliament in South Australia, and everywhere in between. For more information about the places that I spoke at, please visit my website: http://www.melissaohden.com or Life Network Australia’s website: http://www.lifenetwork.org.au. Media coverage of my tour can also be found on these sites.
Although our message has already reached out to thousands here in Australia, we will continue to share our message from afar after we are gone. My daughter, Olivia, and I will be featured in pro-life television ads through Emily’s Voice http://www.notbornyet.com, and I will be featured in an upcoming YouTube video.
Although I have so many beautiful memories from our time here, and have received significant positive feedback about my personal testimony of surviving a failed saline infusion abortion attempt in 1977, of how I struggled for so many years with the truth of my survival and how society often views children like me as unwanted, unloved, unworthy of life, somehow un-human, or simply a choice, of how I ultimately healed from my past and proceeded to reach out to my biological parents to offer them forgiveness and love, and how I now use my life to highlight the pain and suffering that abortion causes for the world, there was one particular piece of feedback that I continued to hear over and over again that caught even me by surprise.
“A billion children like me around the world have lost their lives to abortion,” “Sadly, children like me are aborted and born alive each and every day but left for dead,” “the 90,000 children like me who are aborted in Australia each year deserve the same opportunities in life like I was given,” no matter what the exact context in which I said it, the phrase ‘children like me’ left an indelible mark on the individuals who heard my message.
One staff member of the Australian Christian Lobby was so moved by the phrase that she heard from me when I spoke in Canberra, ACT, that she shared the impact that it had with her on a fellow staff member who then came to hear me speak in Melbourne, Victoria.
Each and every time I finished speaking, there was at least one person who spoke with me after the event, echoing these same sentiments. “You kept saying ‘children like me’ and you are so right. All of the children that have been aborted were children who had the right to life just like you.” “Everyone needs to see you and realize that you are the face of all of the children who we have aborted,” the statements came out each and every night.
It’s interesting…..I never intended to come out with that exact statement and use it over and over again when I speak, it happened on a very subconscious level. Now that I’ve reviewed speeches that I give, I realize that I’ve been using it time and time again without ever noticing it. Maybe that’s because to me it’s always been clear that as a child who was aborted but born alive that I am very much one of the billion children around the world who has been aborted. The difference between those other children and me is simply that I was gratefully born alive and provided with the medical care that sustained my life and has allowed me to go on and give them a voice. Maybe it’s because as a child who was aborted but born alive I realize that I was just mere seconds away from being merely a statistic, or maybe it’s because I sadly understand that my fate rested in the hands of who the medical staff were that working at the time that I was born alive.
Whatever the reason, I am everything that I say that I am, and the unborn children who have lost their lives to abortion are everything that I say that they are. They are children just like me who should be respected as human beings and recognized for their inherent worth no matter what the circumstances that have surrounded their arrival into this world.
And me? I am a child who was aborted but born alive who has overcome the statistics, overcome the poor prognosis for my life after my survival and prevailed. At the heart of who I am, I will always be an aborted child. And after many years of healing, I can now say that with pride.