Abortion survivor's birth mom opens up: 'We weren't allowed to shame the family'

melissa ohden
Melissa Ohden (L) speaks with her birth mother, Ruth Lindahl (R). |

Melissa Ohden survived a failed saline infusion abortion but her birth mom didn’t know it.

While Ohden’s testimony has been shared widely — she founded The Abortion Survivors Network and testified before Congress — little has been known about her birth mom, Ruth Lindahl.

Lindahl is now opening up to the public about the circumstances that led to the abortion attempt in 1977, how she was unaware of Ohden’s survival, and what she’d tell others who are considering an abortion.

She said she couldn’t share her testimony until recently because she felt “very ashamed of what I didn’t do — I didn’t stand up to my parents.”

“I truly believe, Melissa, is that everything in life happens for a reason and we may never, ever know exactly the reason this happened to either one of us but if the reason was so that you didn’t have to live … with my parents as your grandparents and suffer the same abuse that I had to, then I’m so glad that you got to where you were with your adoptive parents and that they loved you and took you home,” Lindahl said.

She was 19 when she got pregnant with Ohden and was forced by her mother to undergo an abortion.

“We were not allowed to shame the family,” Lindahl recalled, later noting that her family went to church regularly.

It wasn’t until 30 years later that Lindahl found out about Ohden’s survival.

Watch Ohden interview her birth mother.

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