photo National Right to Life Committee
In 1977, Melissa Ohden’s birth mother underwent an abortion in a hospital in Iowa. Melissa’s mother, a 19 year old college student, was seven months pregnant. Although the medical staff thought Melissa was dead, she had survived the abortion attempt. The technique used for the abortion was saline infusion also known as ‘salting out’. This method is used after 16 weeks of pregnancy. A needle is inserted through the abdominal wall, through the uterine wall and into the amniotic sac. Some amniotic fluid is removed and replaced with a solution of concentrated salt. The unborn child breathes in the salt solution and is poisoned by it. The solution also causes burning and deterioration of the unborn child’s skin. It takes about an hour for the child to die. The mother usually goes into labour about 33 to 35 hours after the administration of the salt solution and delivers a dead baby. But Melissa survived the abortion and was adopted by a loving family. Today she is an advocate for life. You can read more of her story at www.melissaohden.com.
The use of saline infusion as an abortion method has declined in Canada. According to Statistics Canada data, saline infusion accounted for 5.8% of abortions out of 49,033 in 1975. In 1980, the number was 2.7% out of 65,243 abortions. In 1987, it had fallen to 1.4% out of 61,635 abortions. In 1989, there were 553 saline infusion abortions out of 70,705 hospital abortions. The method of abortion was not reported for 5,291 abortions that year. The actual total number of abortions in 1989 when one includes abortions performed in clinics in Quebec and those performed on Canadian women in the U.S. was 79,315.
In 2004, saline infusions were done in 0.1% of cases according to 42,880 detailed records out of 100,039 abortions. While the use of this particular method has declined, the number of abortions increased to at least 100,000 a year in Canada.
Any method of abortion has the same end, the death of the unborn child. Thankfully Melissa Ohden survived and despite initial concerns about her health following the abortion, she is well and is now a voice for life.