Abortion survivor DeSantis mentioned at GOP debate speaks out: ‘I did exist’

The lady whose abortion survival story Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shared on the Fox Information Republican presidential debate final week has a message for critics of her story.

“I did exist,” Miriam “Penny” Hopper advised Fox Information Digital in an interview this week. 

When moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum requested the GOP candidates about abortion, DeSantis advised Penny’s story to an viewers of 12.8 million. “I do know a woman in Florida named Penny,” he mentioned. “She survived a number of abortion makes an attempt. She was left discarded in a pan. Happily, her grandmother saved her and introduced her to a unique hospital.”

The governor’s detractors on social media had been fast to dismiss Penny’s story. A number of accused DeSantis of mendacity.


Miriam "Penny" Hopper

Miriam “Penny” Hopper shares her abortion survivor story with Fox Information Digital in an interview on Aug. 29, 2023. Hopper says she was born at simply 23 weeks of being pregnant after her mom underwent a failed abortion process.  (Fox Information)

Steve Schmidt, a former GOP advisor who co-founded The Lincoln Challenge, posted on X: “The story of Penny discovered within the pan by DeSantis is ludicrous, and clearly unfaithful. It must be seemed into by the media.” 

Jill Filipovic, a liberal journalist, mentioned, “I perceive that politicians lie, however DeSantis’s story about ‘Penny,’ a girl he says survived a number of abortion makes an attempt and was rescued from a pan by her grandmother(????), is simply such a weird and unimaginable story, it is beautiful that any human is that gullible.” 

“My reply to that may be the truth that I did exist,” Hopper advised Fox Information. “I existed at 23 weeks. There are millions of abortion survivors all over the world who’ve tales to inform, who’ve miraculous tales to inform.”

Hopper’s story was first advised in a pro-life advert by Faces of Alternative that debuted on the 2020 March for Life in Washington, D.C. Lyric Gillett, the founder and government director for Faces of Alternative, mentioned she made contact with Hopper by Melissa Ohden, a pro-life speaker, founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivors Community, a help and advocacy group for many who have survived abortions. 


Hopper, a Florida resident, advised Fox Information Digital she was born after a failed abortion try in 1955. By her account, Hopper’s mom skilled bleeding and different issues at 23 weeks of being pregnant. She mentioned her father took her mom to the physician in the midst of the evening. With the restricted gear obtainable at the moment, the physician couldn’t detect a fetal heartbeat and advised the dad and mom terminate the being pregnant. 

Hopper mentioned the physician induced an abortion by giving her mom a shot. However reasonably than die, Hopper was born at 3:25 a.m. on Nov. 29, 1955, weighing only one pound and 11 ounces. Within the Faces of Alternative video, Hopper mentioned a nurse “positioned me in a bedpan on the again porch of the clinic.” Her grandmother and aunt later arrived on the clinic and contacted the police. A nurse helped transport Hopper to a hospital in Lakeland, Fla.

The main points of Hopper’s account couldn’t be totally verified. 

Hopper, who didn’t watch the GOP debate, mentioned it was “thrilling,” “stunning” and “humbling” to study that DeSantis shared her story on the nationwide platform. 

“You already know that you have identified your story all of your life, however you are not the one one on the market to inform a narrative, that is bought tales to inform. I used to be very humbled by it,” she advised Fox Information Digital. 


Melissa Ohden

Professional-life activist Melissa Ohden testifies throughout a listening to earlier than Home Judiciary Committee September 9, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Ohden is the founder and CEO of the Abortion Survivors Community.  (Alex Wong/Getty Photos)

The variety of abortion survivors within the U.S. is troublesome to measure. In line with the Abortion Survivors Community, solely 10 U.S. states require reporting on infants born alive after tried abortions, and these states have totally different requirements on what it means to be “born alive.” Some search for umbilical wire pulsation or a beating coronary heart, and others state an toddler born alive is an toddler alive outdoors the mom’s womb after an abortion process, the group says. Since 2019, the Abortion Survivors Community claims to have contacted practically 650 abortion survivors — together with Hopper. 

Founder and CEO Melissa Ohden, who says she survived an tried saline abortion, advised Fox Information Digital there is a lack of public consciousness that individuals can dwell by abortions. Her group will launch a marketing campaign subsequent month declaring September “Infants Survive Abortions Consciousness Month” to problem “misconceptions” and “amplify private tales that refute the notion that ‘abortions don’t fail’ and ‘there’s no such factor as an abortion survivor.'” 

“An abortion survivor is a child who survives an try and abort them within the womb,” Ohden mentioned. “Households are impacted by it. And in order that’s the place we’re launching this consciousness marketing campaign. However we do not simply do consciousness. We stand alongside mothers who’re experiencing abortions that fail, or they cease them.” 

Hopper’s story will probably be featured in that marketing campaign. She needs moms who’re pregnant and could also be afraid that their being pregnant will destroy their lives to listen to her story and have hope.


“There are organizations like Abortion Survivor Community which have created a platform for a girl to return and never solely get and produce therapeutic to this, to assist her heal to the scenario, however assist her not select abortion. I’ve pals who’ve chosen to not have an abortion, and that baby turned a blessing to their life,” Hopper mentioned. 

“Even my father didn’t need me. Not solely was I a failed house abortion, however after I was transported to Lakeland regional, he would go on the market and attempt to take away me as a result of he thought I used to be going to be a burden,” she recalled. “As a toddler, I knew that my dad did not need me as a child as a result of he would inform me, ‘I didn’t need you. However I really like you now.'” 

Hopper mentioned that on his deathbed, her father “checked out me, and he mentioned, ‘Honey, I don’t know what I might have completed with out you.’ So all of the ache, and all of the rejection and studying my story, it made it price all of it. Each my dad and mom beloved me, and I really like them dearly. And I’ve a brother that is my finest buddy. And we now have a really close-knit household. So forgiveness … is an excellent drive in life.” 

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