OPINION BY JESSICA SWIETONIOWSKI
New York has recently passed a controversial bill that allows abortion up to birth.
Virginia delegate Kathy Tran presented a similar bill which has no limits. With this proposed bill, a woman who is dilating and about to give birth can still request and receive an abortion in sake of the woman’s health.
Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton defines “health” not only as physical but also psychological, mental, emotional, familial and the woman’s age.
Already, women are affected but not by choice.
On Feb. 3 a pregnant woman was stabbed to death in N.Y., with the state’s new abortion law there will be no justice for her unborn baby, who was killed as well.
President Donald Trump gave his State of the Union speech on Feb. 5. The moment that received much attention and applause was when called upon Congress to end late-term abortion based on when science determines the unborn-baby can feel pain. Which is around 20-27 weeks.
“Guilt for surviving and being healthy, shame and embarrassment to be a survivor, in a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge us and sees what was done to us as someone else’s right.”
These recent bills and the call to action from Trump has started the conversation all over again.
But there is one voice we often forget when discussing abortion.
The voice of that child.
The Abortion Survivors Network is a group of just that.
These are the voices we forget. And for many, the voices we don’t even know exist
Melissa Ohden, who is the founder of this network and a survivor herself. She was 14 when she found out she was adopted only after a saline abortion failed to end her life. When Ohden heard about New York’s new bill she almost couldn’t believe it was real. She said she can’t believe that a bill like this was passed in what she thought to be a civilized society.
“Women’s empowerment should not be founded from a place where life is ended.”
Ohden says it is sad how numb people are to abortion and how it has become common in life. She wishes society could see how badly abortion damages a person. She also wishes society would be consistent in their views.
She explains that, as a society, we embrace science but when it comes to the beginning of life some people want to avoid the science or change it to shift their opinions.
Ohden said she felt “Guilt for surviving and being healthy, shame and embarrassment to be a survivor, in a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge us and sees what was done to us as someone else’s right.”
And she says these feelings are typical among survivors.
Carrie Holland is another survivor. Holland was born with a facial disfigurement and she found out when she was a survivor in her teens. She was told the truth after Holland sat her mother down to tell her about a recurring dream she had as a child– a dream of a baby in the womb fighting for its life.
Holland has lived with physical and emotional issues which led her to attempt suicide in her 30s.
She says she was made fun of on her whole life. People didn’t expect her to do much or have much of a life.
“Abortion has a lifetime of guilt and shame. It’s not over just because you finished the procedure… it leaves emotional, mental and physical scars,” she says.
When the new abortion bill was passed in N.Y. people celebrated in the streets.
“It’s very sad, heartbreaking…that people can think that way and feel so cold towards life. It’s hard to fathom that anyone could justify or celebrate killing a baby,” Holland says.
When it comes to the pro-choice movement Ohden explains that she believes people are well-intentioned. That they want to help women and not see them suffer. But says, “we cannot pit women against their children.”
“Women’s empowerment should not be founded from a place where life is ended. I would love to see the two sides find a way to work together on helping women, children and families,” Ohden said.
Ohden’s birth-mother was forced to get an abortion and believed Melissa died in the hospital that day over 30 years ago. They met face-to-face for the first time in 2016. Melissa said she wasn’t ready prepared to see the amount of pain in her birth-mother’s eyes.
She started the network because, like many others, she spent years feeling very alone.
The Abortion Survivors Network has helped people like Carrie Holland and from 2012-2018 the network has had contact with 260 survivors of abortion. Although the exact number of survivors in unknown, according to the Network’s website, there could be as many as 44,000 survivors in the U.S.
Ronald Reagan once said when it comes to abortion the only person we don’t consider is the one who is being aborted.
“I have noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.” – President Ronald Reagan