Abortion is one of the most contested and debated topics in America, but there's a facet of the discussion that doesn't often get a great deal of attention: abortion survival.
The media tend not to feature abortion survivors like Claire Culwell, a woman whose story has in recent years captivated the pro-life world.
Culwell, who will soon participate in the inspirational "She Lives Out Loud" online event for women, became a pro-life speaker and advocate after learning 10 years ago that she miraculously survived abortion.
Listen to her tell her harrowing story on The Pure Flix Podcast:
"My sister and I are both adopted," Culwell told The Pure Flix Podcast, explaining that she and her sibling always knew they wanted to meet their birth parents. "After my sister met her birth mother ... I thought, 'Well mine could be just as great. I should reach out to this woman who gave me my life and my family.'"
Culwell said she wanted to thank her birth mom for giving her a wonderful life through adoption, and she soon had the chance.
Culwell met her birth mom and the two started to build a relationship. About two months after their first encounter, though, Culwell learned the shock of a lifetime.
"In preparation for that second meeting I had a gift for her and it was this ring and necklace with my birthstone on it," she said.
But after she gave her birth mother these thoughtful momentos, something changed.
"There was this pain in her eyes," Culwell said. "And it's really indescribable, this pain that I saw."
Culwell's birth mother started shaking and broke into tears, before revealing the unthinkable.
"She was shaking and crying and she said, 'Claire, I had an abortion when I was pregnant with you. I was 13 years old and my mother told me there was only one choice for me,'" Culwell recounted.
On the surface, this likely seemed confusing considering Culwell very clearly survived and was given up for adoption.
But her mother explained that, at age 13, she underwent a dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy.
READ ALSO: The Real History Behind Roe Vs. Wade
After the abortion, something didn't seem quite right, so Culwell's birth mother went back to the clinic and learned that she was actually pregnant with twins.
"They told her, 'Oops you were actually pregnant with twins. We got one of the babies, but this baby survived,'" Culwell recounted. "I was born a few weeks later ... at 30 weeks."
Culwell had a dislocated hip and club feet, which she said is her "daily reminder" that she's "an abortion survivor: and a 'twinless twin.'"
After learning about these details, Culwell had to grapple with her newfound reality.
"I survived something that literally was meant to take my life," she said. "One thing that I walked away knowing was that God had a plan for my life. There was a purpose for the pain that we had experienced."
Eventually, Culwell became an advocate and has been publicly sharing her story of abortion survival — a story that has "woken a lot of people up."
It's an uphill battle, as not everyone is aware of what people like Culwell have faced, and many critics dismiss pro-life activists' staunchest arguments.
Culwell is well aware of these roadblocks.
"We're being told that our voice, our choice, our humanity, our experience with abortion doesn't matter," she said. "That the only thing that matters is that women can do what they want."
You can watch Culwell and other female Christian leaders speak out during "She Loves Out Loud," an online event slated to take place on Feb. 15. Find out more about the event and how you can take part here.
And be sure to watch some of the powerful, pro-life movies streaming right now on PureFlix.com.
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