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 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 and sexual assault counseling, and child welfare.
Melissa was formerly a College Outreach Speaker with Feminists for Life and is the former Patron of Real Choices Australia. She has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and the Australian Parliament. Melissa is on the Board of Directors for the Vitae Foundation, a national organization which uses media to advance a culture of life.
In 2012, Melissa founded The Abortion Survivors Network (ASN). Since ASN’s inception, Melissa has been in contact with over 250 survivors.
Melissa has been featured on television and radio programs including: The 700 Club, EWTN, Fox News, Focus on the Family, American Family Radio, the Mike Huckabee show, The Guardian, and the BBC. She is the author of You Carried Me, A Daughter's Memoir, which was released in January of 2017.
Melissa and her husband, Ryan, live in Kansas City, Missouri, with their two daughters, Ava and Olivia.
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. It’s evidence of the intergenerational impact of abortion on all of our lives. More importantly, it’s a testament to the beauty of God’s grace in our lives, the power of love, and 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.
"This was hands down one of our best speakers. Not only did we raise funds, but God worked in people's hearts that night. The donors are still talking about it!"
"Melissa gets better and better at each event and adds more to her life story every time we get to hear her speak! She was a huge hit!"
"Melissa was thoroughly delightful. She showed up on time, was accessible to us when we needed her and she was so relatable to our audience. They were riveted by her story and it translated into a significant increase in the average gift per person...She spoke from a healed and restored heart that could only be evident through the knowledge of and presence of a strength much bigger than herself. A loving God who revealed Himself to her and walked with her as she grew."
"Melissa is a treasure and her testimony is absolutely breath-taking and gives all the glory to God with no hint of bitterness. I appreciate her professionalism and her love for the work we do. It absolutely shows through her words."
"Melissa not only communicated her story effectively, she communicated the work of Care Net Pregnancy Center of Albuquerque effectively. I was overwhelmingly appreciative!"
"Melissa was an outstanding keynote speaker for our Annual Fellowship Dinner. We had exclamatory comments about her speech from all of our guests about her incredible journey as an abortion survivor – she is a walking miracle! I was so delighted to get to know her – her heart and love for God in the midst of a very challenging start in life encourages and inspires! I am so thankful for her calling to share her story and to have started the Abortion Survivors Network! What a testimony of faith and love!"
"This unique story of abortion survival that portrayed forgiveness and redemption struck a powerfully responsive chord with our donors. Our dinner guests said Melissa was the best speaker we have had as her story was so unique and personal. Melissa is articulate, honest, and humble and captivates an audience with her miraculous story of survival. God clearly was at work in saving her little life and she is a miraculous testimony of His work."
"Melissa is precious, passionate, powerful, an excellent communicator, and very effective as a speaker for the Pro-Life movement."
“Melissa is a passionate and engaging speaker and was just what we needed to convey our Clinic's message of hope to our donors. She is able to use her personal story as a powerful pro-life message. Further, our donors commented on her openness and willingness to personally connect with them both before and after the event. One thing is for certain, next year's speaker has some HUGE shoes to fill!”
"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."
What a joy it was to have Melissa Ohden as our guest speaker. Everyone loved her – we received not even one negative comment. Melissa’s testimony is so moving and very educational too. Many of our banquet attendees commented that they were not aware that there were people who had survived an abortion attempt on their lives. Her “ask” was spot on! I would highly recommend Melissa to anyone looking for a powerful banquet speaker.