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Melissa Ohden

February 22, 2019 (Human Life International) — The pro-abortion movement desperately wants everybody to stop talking about two things: late-term abortions and abortion survivors.

If you listened to the pro-abortion talking points, you'd think that the first (late-term abortions) only ever take place for the rarest, gravest, and most life-threatening reasons, and that the second (abortion survivors) are purely mythical creatures, like unicorns. When the life of the mother is in danger, doctors should do all there is in their power to save both, mother and baby. They should never directly attempt or have the intention of killing the unborn child.

Unfortunately for pro-aborts, their own extremism has resulted in the whole country talking about both.

When Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently appeared to support letting babies who survive abortions die, abortion activists scoffed at the backlash as overblown. And when, in response, Republican Congressmen re-introduced the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act to ensure that babies who survive abortions are in fact cared for, Democrats dismissed the bill as unnecessary and have repeatedly blocked it.

After all, infanticide is already technically illegal and simply doesn't happen. And babies don't survive abortions. It's all politically-driven fear-mongering. Right?

Well, try telling that to Melissa Ohden, Josiah Presley, and Claire Culwell, all three of whom survived abortions. This week, they all appeared on Fox News to share the brutal truth about abortion.

In 1977, at seven-months gestation, Ohden's mother underwent a five-day-long saline abortion. Instead of succumbing to the saline, Ohden was born alive. Despite initial concerns that she wouldn't survive, Ohden did survive, and was later adopted by a loving family. She went on to earn a master's degree, become a top pro-life activist, and is very fortunate to suffer no health problems from the abortion.

Claire Culwell, a friend of mine whom I first met during an HLI mission to New Zealand, was not so lucky. Her 13-year-old birth-mother was forced to abort when she was five months pregnant. Claire was one of a pair of twins. Her twin sibling, tragically, did not survive the abortion. But when Claire's mother later realized that she was still pregnant, the abortionist refused to do a second abortion, since by that point it would have been a late-term abortion. Claire, however, has suffered life-long health complications from the abortion. On the other hand, she says that these are a small price to pay for the gift of life, and of a loving adoptive family — gifts that were stolen from her twin.

“God created our family, and I owe my parents so much credit for the way I was able to respond to my birth mother when she told me [about the abortion] because they raised me on love and grace and forgiveness,” Claire said on Fox News.

Finally, Presley's mother underwent an abortion in South Korea when she was two months pregnant. Three months later, however, she realized that the abortion had failed, and she was still pregnant. Presley, however, was born missing an arm, likely a consequence of the “curettage abortion” that he survived. As Presley explained on Fox, “A curettage abortion is a type of abortion where the doctor goes into the mother's womb and basically rips the baby apart and brings them out in pieces, and that's actually why we think that I'm probably missing an arm today.” What barbarity!

Presley was subsequently adopted by a Baptist pastor in Oklahoma. And that is how love trumps death.

Abortion Survivors Left To Die

Ohden, Culwell, and Presley all prove that babies do sometimes survive abortions. They, however, were fortunate in receiving care when they were born, ensuring that they didn't escape the abortionist's forceps only to be left to die after birth.

Plenty of other babies are not so lucky.

In 1999, Jill Stanek worked at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. That's when she learned that her fellow nurses were regularly taking babies who survived late-term abortions and leaving them to die slow, agonizing deaths in the hospital's “soiled utility room.”

In a video interview describing what she saw, Stanek explains that the hospital practiced what they called “induced labor abortion.” In other words, they would simply induce early-term labor in pregnant women who wanted to abort. When the babies were born — too young to survive without medical attention — “health-care” workers (if they deserve the title) would just let them die.

“My experience was that they [the babies] survive as short as a few minutes, to once, almost as long as an eight-hour shift,” explains Stanek. “To be clear these were living babies who were left out to die. And they were issued both birth and death certificates according to Illinois state law.”

Stanek describes cradling one of these dying babies in her arms for 45 minutes. Other doctors and nurses, however, simply turned their backs on the babies until they died. It is hard — very, very hard — to grasp the callousness of heart that can allow someone to do that to a crying, living newborn baby.

Christ Hospital is in Illinois, where President Barack Obama once served as a state senator. When Illinois was considering a bill to ban the kind of barbaric practices that Stanek witnessed in her hospital — a state-version of the federal Born Alive Abortion Survivor Act — she testified in support of the bill. Despite Stanek's heart-rending testimony, Obama would go on to repeatedly vote against the bill.

As we are learning, despite overwhelming public opposition to late-term abortion and infanticide, inhuman abortion extremism seems endemic among Democratic politicians.

The Truth Behind Late-Term Abortions

Which brings us to late-term abortions in general.

Last week former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards tweeted the following: “The vast majority of abortions — about 90% — occur very early in pregnancy. When they do occur later, it is almost always because a woman's health or life are at risk, or because her pregnancy is no longer viable.”

Richard's tweet is a typical example of the pro-abortion response to the outrage that has greeted the push in several states to make getting late-term abortions far, far easier — i.e. “late-term abortions almost never happen, and when they do, it's for the most serious and tragic reasons, often because the baby is so malformed that he won't survive birth in the first place.”

The problem is, the abortion movement's own data doesn't support this.

The Guttmacher Institute is a pro-abortion research organization. Its founder, Alan F. Guttmacher, was a former president of Planned Parenthood, and his organization itself was founded as a branch of the abortion organization. When the Guttmacher Institute looked into the reasons why women get late-term abortions, the answers they found didn't match the pro-abortion narrative.

To begin with, contrary to one of the most pervasive pro-abortion talking points, “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

Instead, reports the Guttmacher Institute, some 80% of women getting abortions after 21 weeks meet four different profiles. They are: “raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous [had never given birth].”

Now, there is nothing trivial about whatsoever about any of these circumstances (well, except for having “trouble deciding”). However, it is worth noting that none of them confirm the talking point that women who get late-term abortions are doing so either because they are suffering life-threatening complications, or because the baby would not survive birth. Even the Guttmacher Institute had to admit that some women are doing it — well, just because.

While it is true that the overwhelming majority of abortions take place prior to 21 weeks in the U.S., it should be noted that the overall number of abortions is so high, that the estimated 1.3% of post-21-week-abortions translates into about 8,000 late-term abortions in 2015.

I think it's crucially important that everyone reading this column stop right now and imagine what an unborn baby at 21 weeks looks like, to understand why a mere 1.3% is not “mere” at all. At 21 weeks a baby might only weigh less than a pound, but absolutely every visible feature of a fully-developed baby is in place. The baby has arms, legs, fingers, and toes; the baby moves about, may suck his thumb, and kicks. Babies at this age now routinely survive being born, albeit with intensive medical attention.

But every year, abortionists around the country inject these babies' hearts with lethal injections and tear them apart limb from limb, or scald them with saline solutions, or induce premature labor and let them die. Their bruised and broken bodies are collected and then dumped in dumpsters or sold and sent off to labs that buy their bodies for macabre scientific research.

Now imagine that there was any other circumstance where, with the full blessing of the law, doctors did the same things to 8,000 human beings in the United States. Imagine the outcry, the outrage, the media coverage showing the graphic evidence of the crime, the speeches in Congress, the petitions and the rallies.

Every abortion is a crime and a tragedy. Every abortion is a gruesome violation of human rights. But the facts about infanticide and late-term abortion are so transparently, self-evidently gruesome, that they have the effect of waking people's consciences to the intrinsic horror of abortion, and the unconscionable extremism of the pro-abortion activists and politicians that perpetrate legal abortion in this country.

Pro-aborts want us to stop talking about infanticide and late-term abortion. I can't think of a better reason to start talking about them. Talk loudly and talk often. For the truth will set us free.

Published with permission from Human Life International.