Book reviews

Melissa Ohden’s You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir (Plough Publishing, 2017)

Startling and life-affirming account from an abortion survivor.

Melissa Ohden’s eminently readable, 179 page biography shatters feminist stereotypes and replaces them with a strong, life-affirming account of her life as the survivor of a brutal saline abortion.

Of course, surviving an abortion goes against the basic anti-life feminist principle that an unborn child meant to be killed in a saline abortion should not survive.  However, the attempted abortion of her life is not the emphasis of the book.  Chapter after chapter reinforces the much more positive messages that Ohden loves her birth parents, her adoptive parents, her own family, her pro-life activism, and her faith.

The love which Ohden expresses for her adoptive parents, Ron and Linda Cross, is simply joyous.  For me, they are the first heroes of this biography.  The Crosses raised Ohden in a loving home even though they were poor—in stark contrast to her maternal grandmother (her birth mother’s mother) who wanted her dead.

Can you imagine?  What grandmother wants her grandchild killed?  Grandmothers are supposed to be all-loving types who bake wonderful things for their grandchildren at holiday times.  The stereotype did not apply to Ohden.  Apparently, her maternal grandmother wanted to safeguard her social status more than her granddaughter’s life.

Unfortunately, one feminist stereotype is reinforced in Ohden’s biography, to my great disgust since it testifies to an entrenched, stifling political correctivity in academia.  Ohden discovered anti-life feminist opposition to her life story among her peers in college.  One of her respected professors manifested his ideological blindness to Ohden’s life story by suggesting that her adoptive parents lied about her being an abortion survivor.  Such anti-life bias is typical of academia, where some faculty have their heads so far in the clouds of their hard-core anti-life ideologies that they can understand neither pro-life talk nor pro-life persons—even when someone who survived an attempt to burn her to death in the womb by a saline abortion stands in front of him.

But this might be too much political commentary.  Fortunately, Ohden exemplifies the pro-life philosophy not only in her actions on behalf of Feminists for Life, but also in her love for her family: certainly for Ron and Linda Cross; for her husband Ryan, with whom she has a wonderful family; and—surprise anti-lifers!—for her birth parents, a father who died before she could contact him to share her love for him and for the mother who suffered a forced abortion at the insistence of the above grandmother.

Reading this biography fills one with sheer joy that Melissa Ohden is alive, well, and a loving wife, mother, and pro-life activist.  The hate that some people have for the unborn is neutralized by Ohden’s lucid biography.  I dare you to read it and not rejoice for her and her family.  The pro-life movement should be proud to have such a loving woman on the side of the angels.

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