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Wm PAUL YOUNG
Kansas City, MO
Saline Abortion Survivor, Pro-Life and Adoption Speaker
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 inter-generational impact of abortion on men, women, children, families, and communities. In 2008 the birth of her first child, Olivia (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 numerous 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 transforming 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.
What Others are Saying about Melissa...
"Melissa Ohden is amazing! We had many comments from those who have attended the Banquet for years that she was the best speaker yet! She was so personable and real. So many connected with her in a powerful and, we believe, healing way. There were many tears as it was easy to feel Melissa’s emotions as she was telling her beautiful story of Life! She has been our 2nd highest fundraiser in 13 years despite the fact that this year we had the lowest attendance in 13 years! We only wish more could have made the event to be touched and changed forever by Melissa’s story!"
-Shannon Russ, A Woman's Friend
"Melissa (Ohden)’s presentation was the best we have ever seen (and we have even heard her before!) Her story really made an impact on the audience and made our event a huge success. We couldn’t ask for a better speaker! She is such a pleasure to have at events and we look forward to having her speak again soon."
-Amanda Gilioli, Wisconsin Right to Life
"Awesome. The best pro-life speaker I have heard in my 13 years of pro-life work. I would recommend her to any center."
-Darlene Davis, Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City
"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 want you to know that you saved a life. You were a voice for my little girl when she didn't have one. You are my role model. I cannot thank you enough. YOUR story is the reason my baby is alive."
-Student who heard Melissa speak at her high school
"Melissa was excellent! Her passion and boldness touched hearts to not only give, but to step out on faith to begin new programs."
-Amy Christus, Women’s Help 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 Ohden held our dinner attendees spellbound, as she skillfully related her story of her near death abortion survival – a true “life” story – and the devastating effects on her family. No one hearing her testimony could be anything but changed, encouraged, and motivated to support the pro-life efforts of the hosting organization. Let me say also that several guests came to me after the dinner and asked: “how are you going to top this one next year?”
She was professional, highly articulate and passionate in her address that night, and hit a home run for us! We discovered a number of regular donors doubling their usual gifts that night. You can’s lose by booking Melissa for your event.”
-Steve Bowman, Georgia Right to Life
"I have worked with other aborted-born alive speakers. Melissa is exceptional, well integrated and winsome!"
-Her Choice Birmingham Women's Center, AL
“Melissa [Ohden] was AMAZING! Everyone has commented on how wonderful she was and what a great job she did and how much they enjoyed the event. Thank you Melissa!”
-Hope Connections Pregnancy Resource Center, TX
"Melissa is one of my favorite pro-life speakers. She left the teens spellbound."
-Joleigh Little, Director Wisconsin Teens for Life
"Melissa Ohden was incredible. We had such a good experience with her. She is so approachable and down-to-earth. She was also very flexible. Her story was incredible and the lucky staff members who got to spend time with her before the event felt very blessed to get to know such a beautiful person. She taught us so much and the kids really responded to her."
-Fr. Steve Ryan, Salesian Youth Ministry
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