Saline Abortion Survivor
Melissa is the survivor of a failed saline infusion abortion in 1977. Despite the initial concerns regarding Melissa’s future after surviving the attempt to end her life and being born alive at approximately seven months gestation, she has not only survived but thrived. With a Master’s Degree in Social Work, she has worked in the fields of substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence/sexual assault counseling, and child welfare.
Melissa was formerly a College Outreach Speaker with Feminists for Life and former Patron of Real Choices Australia. She is the Founder and Director of For Olivia’s Sake, an organization which seeks to raise awareness of the intergenerational impact of abortion on men, women, children, families, and communities. The birth of Olivia, her first child, in 2008,who never would have existed if Melissa’s birthmother’s abortion would have succeeded in ending her life, prompted Melissa to create this organization that would positively raise awareness of the ripple effect of abortion across generations.
In 2012, Melissa founded The Abortion Survivors Network, www.theabortionsurvivors.com, after recognizing the number of abortion survivors and how most felt alone in this role, and after recognizing the need for the public to be educated about the reality of failed abortions and abortion survivors. Since ASN’s inception, Melissa has been in contact with over 130 survivors and she is working on a healing ministry curriculum and a retreat for survivors.
Melissa has been featured on television and radio programs including: The 700 Club, EWTN’s Life on the Rock and Defending Life, Fox News, Facing Life Head On, Focus on the Family, and American Family Radio, the Mike Huckabee show, and the Teresa Tomeo show. Her life and ministry is featured in the award winning pro-life documentary, A Voice for Life.
After years of searching for her biological family and offering them forgiveness for the decision that was made to end her life, Melissa’s story, and her life, is so much more than one of survival. Melissa’s life story is about the beauty of God’s grace in our lives, about the power of love, about the hope for joy and healing in the midst of grief and loss, and about the transformational power of forgiveness and in answering God’s call for your life.
Fulfilling the purpose that she believes God set out for her when He saved her from the certain death of the abortion attempt, Melissa is truly a voice for the voiceless.
"Melissa was absolutely fabulous! Friendly, real, available, and her presentation was top-notch. We've always had very good speakers each year, but this year we heard many say that she was the best yet. We are seeing more volunteers come forward as a result of the banquet this year.We would highly recommend Melissa as a speaker."
-Phyllis Avritt, Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center
"We are so appreciative of Melissa's story and how it impacted those in Logan County. What a blessing she is! Her story touched many lives the night of the banquet and we have more interested to step up and help our center."
-April Staton, Hi Point Women's Center
"The way she communicated to a large crowd was like a one on one conversation at home. Melissa interwove the ministry of the Pregnancy Care Center into her message. She became a part of the team and lifted up the center before guests. It was an excellent, God-honoring message. I don't know how anyone could do better."
-Don Hughes, Pregnancy Care Center
"I gladly and enthusiastically recommend Melissa Ohden to other pregnancy centers across the nation. Melissa did a great job in offering a very polished delivery of her remarkable story and life. I especially appreciated our communication before the event which gave me the opportunity to share with her the vision and mission of our organization which is in a university setting. Throughout her presentation, she consistently referred to and affirmed our mission to offer women innovative solutions to unplanned pregnancies. The end result was a $20K bump in net proceeds."
-Brian Lowe, Hope Pregnancy Resource Center
"Melissa is one of my favorite pro-life speakers. She left the teens spellbound."
-Joleigh Little, Region Coordinator, Director Wisconsin Teens for Life