Seventeen abortion survivors shared their personal stories and prayed for one another as The Abortion Survivors Network held its first-ever retreat last weekend in Schulenburg, Texas.
According to the network's founder, Melissa Ohden, participants ranged from age 41 to 76. They are all survivors of failed abortions before and after the practice was legalized nationwide by the Supreme Court in 1973.
Survivors of saline abortions, surgical abortions (dilation & curettage), vacuum aspiration abortions, pre-term induction, and at-home abortion attempts gathered from July 23rd to 25th. Attendees wore a T-shirt bearing the words "You Belong" as a reminder that people cared for and supported them.
Karen, a 76-year-old survivor, told LiveAction it was a "safe place to share our stories for healing to take place" and that she was grateful for the "camaraderie, mutual love, and connection" that she felt.
"Sitting in a room full of people I just met, I have never felt more like I belonged. I am not alone in my struggles. There was a whole room that echoed, 'me too.' That was healing for me," said abortion survivor Denisha.
The retreat focused on the topics of forgiveness, identity, and coping with the trauma of surviving an abortion.
"Most of these women have never shared their story publicly or shown the world their face. Why? There's a million reasons why, but what matters is that they found a place where they belong," the network shared on Instagram.
Ohden, the founder of the Network, is also a pro-life speaker and writer.
She is an abortion survivor herself and shared her powerful testimony with CBN's Faith Nation.
"Forty-three years ago, my birth mother Ruth was forced to have a saline infusion abortion," Ohden said. "That type of procedure involved injecting a toxic salt solution into the amniotic fluid that should have protected me in the womb but was meant to poison and scald me to death."
Ohden explained that the procedure for this type of abortion lasted for five days, which is longer than usual.
"They couldn't successfully induce Ruth's labor and so on the fifth day when they finally did succeed, they believed that I would be born as a successful abortion, just delivered as a deceased child. And that's the day I was accidentally born alive," she explained.
And she recently testified against the Women's Health Protection Act during a congressional hearing. The bill would allow abortion all the way up until birth, use money from taxpayers, and remove restrictions on abortion even after a fetus is deemed viable.
To find out more about The Abortion Survivors Network, click here.
Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.