“More than a choice” – Melissa Ohden on the growth of Abortion Survivors Network

Reblogged from Leaven for the Loaf.

The first time I wrote about Melissa Ohden, back in 2016, I included a video of her testimony to Congress about surviving the attempted abortion that was meant to kill her. After informing members of Congress about the number of documented abortions occurring annually, she went on to say “I was meant to be one of them. I should have been just another statistic.”

Melissa’s advocacy for abortion survivors had started years before. In 2012, she founded the Abortion Survivors Network. The Network is thriving, having brought together hundreds of people who have survived attempts to abort them. They are “more than a choice,” as ASN’s tagline proclaims.

Melissa was kind enough to reply recently when I asked her for an update on her work. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team at The Abortion Survivors Network, five of whom are also abortion survivors. We are fast approaching being connected with 600 Abortion survivors. We’re offering more supports and programs to not only survivors but family members, including the women who experienced failed abortions.”

What’s ahead for ASN, and how you can help

What’s ahead for ASN? “We’re currently growing so rapidly that in the next five years, I foresee that we’ll be offering multiple retreats a year, including for families. We’re starting right now to research and implement the best practices of healing and community support for survivors who have also had abortions, themselves, and what care is most supportive to children and teenagers. Contributing what we learn to journals and the pro-life healing community is all part of what we’ll continue to do.”

In New Hampshire, efforts have thus far fallen short to pass “born-alive” legislation to protect children surviving attempted abortion. Other states have seen more success. What has worked, where born-alive laws are enacted? “We’ve continued to see that sharing the stories of survivors, coupled with data about the incidence of born alive survivors is impactful. Just because there are Abortion survivors doesn’t mean born alive legislation isn’t needed (policymakers and the abortion industry attempt to paint that picture).”

What can a person do to support ASN and the survivors it represents? “The average person can educate themselves about born alive survivors (our websites are great resources), learn our stories, and educate policymakers and people around them about this. Most people really have no idea this happens and the frequency to which it does.”

I can add one more thing: read and share Melissa’s book, You Carried Me: a Daughter’s Memoir (2018: Plough Publishing House). She tells her story with compassion and grace.

Post header image: pexels.com

New Hampshire lawmakers consider assisted suicide policy

question mark made from pills

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 on September 1 to recommend that legislation addressing assisted suicide be considered in a future legislative session. 

This is not the passage of any specific bill. It’s only a recommendation. This post is not a call to action, only a report. Here’s how we got here.

Read the rest of the post at Leaven for the Loaf.

Pro-Life in Secular World: “We Need Everyone to Be On Board”

Excerpt from my report from the 2018 Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

January 20, 2018, Washington, D.C.

The driver of the Route G2 Metrobus assured me that I was at the right stop. “The building’s straight ahead of you.” I stepped off the bus a little uncertainly, then spotted the protesters flanking the doors of the nearest building. This must be the place, I thought. Nothing like a pro-life event to foster free speech. Welcome to Georgetown University.

The protesters, about two dozen young women, were between chants as I got to the building’s front steps. One of them said to the others in a tentative voice, “OK, let’s do ‘pro-life, that’s a lie,’ OK?” She sounded afraid someone might say no. A moment later they all took up the chant: pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die. 

Their voices faded quickly as I moved into the building and was caught up in the friendly crush of a crowd, seven hundred strong, arriving for the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. This has been an annual event since 2000, organized by Georgetown students, yet I hadn’t heard of it until just a few weeks ago.

So why did I tack an extra day on to my March for Life trip in order to catch a bus to Georgetown? Because of the speakers, and the conference theme: (Ir)religiously Pro-Life: the Future of the Movement in a Secular World.

I left later with the same questions I’d had when I arrived: how and where is that working? Where’s the synthesis? I don’t doubt that it’s possible – but where to start?
For now, I’m encouraged to know that I’m not the only one pondering the questions.

Read the rest of the post in my email newsletter.