Oregonian Abortion Survivor Shares Story of Hope, Healing

Lois Anderson

Executive Director

An Oregon City woman is speaking out about her 1964 abortion survival story.

Michelle Lyman, a small business owner, was only a teenager when her mother told her the truth about her birth: Lyman was alive only because a Las Vegas abortionist failed to stop her beating heart at 10 weeks gestation.

“Without even telling my biological father, she had the procedure done in a room above [a] bar,” Lyman says. “I can’t imagine what it would have been like for her to have laid on that table.”

Lyman’s mother, pregnant from an extramarital affair, nearly bled to death from the illegal procedure. Seventeen years later, Lyman heard the whole story, leaving her feeling “devastated.”

“It made me feel even less valuable as a person,” she says. “I felt so little value as a human being. I now know it was a lie — I am extremely valuable because I was created by God and bear His image.”

Perhaps as a result of the abortion, Lyman suffered throughout her childhood with severe unexplained hives, as well as continuing anxiety and digestive issues. Though she watched the movie Silent Scream as a young adult and was moved by the reality and violence of abortion, it wasn’t until 2021 that Lyman began sharing her story publicly.

Attending Oregon Right to Life’s Together We Advocate conference in 2020, where she heard from fellow abortion survivor Claire Culwell, galvanized that decision. Culwell connected Lyman with Melissa Ohden, the founder of Abortion Survivors Network (ASN).

“It was through the love, support and training provided by ASN that I and many other abortion survivors have found the healing and courage to share our stories,” Lyman says. Since then, she has spoken to audiences in Oregon, Texas, Colorado and Missouri, as well as on podcasts and YouTube videos.

“Most people have no clue that babies can survive abortions,” she says. “They often need me to further clarify that I was the intended victim [of the abortion], not the person who [underwent] the procedure.”

Lyman sees great hope for the unborn and their families in the future, including in abortion-friendly states like Oregon. Progress will come about, she says, through awareness of abortion survivors like her.

“Stories have the most impact because they touch hearts, and when hearts are touched, hearts are changed,” she says.

To learn more about ASN, visit abortionsurvivors.org. For details about Together We Advocate, see ortl.org/conference


get involved

Sign Up and Stay Informed