The conservative women’s group Susan B. Anthony List has debuted this not-intentionally-funny anti-Obama advertisement, which will air in Missouri, about the president’s support of reproductive rights. Did you know Barack Obama strangles newly-born babies with this own hands?!
The star of the video is a woman named Melissa Ohden, who claims to be an “abortion survivor” — aborted at seven months and found crying by a nurse who saved her life. “Many children, more than you might think, actually survive failed abortions and are born alive. I know because I’m one of them,” she says, while going on to discredit Obama’s record on abortion.
I suppose the Susan B. Anthony List thinks this video is a slam-dunk, right? I mean, who can be against killing premature babies who are viable outside the womb?! How inconvenient for them then that according to 2006 data from Guttmacher almost 88 percent of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks!
I understand that this video is trying to “rouse the base,” as the pundits say. But it’s utterly misleading. Only 1.5 percent of abortions actually happen after 21 or more weeks (which is roughly five monts). To hear Melissa Ohden describe it, abortions are killing off storkfuls of cute little fully-formed seven- or eight- or nine-month-old babies. And yes, storkfuls is a word I just made up.
Also? Let’s talk about the “abortion” she survived. Ohden’s website has posted what she claims are hospital documents about the “abortion.” But unless I’m missing something, these documents say she was “born prematurely,” described as “weak,” and it repeatedly describes respiratory problems that she had at birth. As she tells it in the video, as well as on her website, the nurses were just going to leave her there to die — yet she even has a birth certificate that reads “certificate of live birth.” I don’t quite understand how Melissa Ohden gets away with saying she was “aborted” when it seems she was actually born premature/weak/sickly.
To be clear, I am not saying it’s morally acceptable in my opinion to leave a weak yet live newborn infant to die. Nor am I disputing that Ohden is a survivor of a particularly horrible sounding birth. I am merely saying that scenario does not sound to me like an abortion.
It’s also inconvenient for the Susan B. Anthony List that Susan B. Anthony’s writings on abortion — which, might I remind you, back in her day were illegal, unsafe, back alley abortions — were ambiguous. (Salon.com’s written a whole article about it.) But I’m not sure anything this group does is really grounded in reality anyway.