There’s a lot being said, lately, about abortion and adoption. It’s such a hot topic lately that even the media and the Supreme Court are talking about it.
We’re not here to tell you what to think or believe. We don’t condemn those who side with either option. But there are some things that we think need to be said, as we know plenty of girls and women who have considered (or chosen) both/either options.
Abortion and adoption may be just two letters apart, but the differences between the two run far deeper than that. One is a gynecological procedure that ends a pregnancy, and the other is a legal decision that terminates parenting rights and responsibilities. Abortion involves doctors; adoption involves attorneys. Both have the potential to result in guilt, regret and/or grief. Neither addresses the issues of unwanted conception or prevents it from recurring. Both will forever change the person that undergoes it, in some way. And neither is reversible, typically. Abortion only occurs during a pregnancy, while adoption can only happen after a birth. Abortion costs the parent who desires it, yet it costs nothing monetary to place a baby for adoption.
Abortion and pregnancy can both present medical risks to a mother, whether she terminates pregnancy or endures childbirth in order to place a baby for adoption. Likewise, abortion and adoption both can result in emotional release OR emotional duress; neither should be undertaken without unbiased counseling, before and after.
What lawmakers should remember about abortion and adoption…
Abrazo does not do abortions, nor do we advocate for that option, so as we say in Texas, we shouldn’t really even have a dog in that hunt. However, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s footnote inclusion of a 2002 CDC report reference to a “domestic supply of infants” in the leaked draft majority opinion he wrote has triggered national suspicions about the justices’ intentions in dismantling abortion rights.
Domestic adoption numbers in America have been tumbling for years, not because of abortion but in spite of it– largely, because there is (thankfully) no longer any social stigma attached to being an unwed mother. “Girls in trouble” no longer get shipped off to maternity homes to deliver in secret, so they don’t have to relinquish their babies to strangers in closed adoptions in order to redeem themselves anymore. Those days are gone and resurrecting the need for coat hanger abortions won’t bring them back.
Lawmakers can’t help promote adoption by banning safe and effective reproductive healthcare options for women. They won’t magically generate a new supply of healthy white newborns (what most prospective adoptive parents in the US are seeking) by denying abortion services to minority moms, or women with nonviable pregnancies, or to teens who, if unable to terminate, will simply attempt to do it themselves (whether that applies to aborting or parenting.)
A sidenote to Governor Abbott
To date, Texas lawmakers have designated $100 million (yes, you read that right) for an “Alternatives to Abortion” fund, but a Texas Tribune report last year indicated there was little transparency as to where those funds have gone or whom it’s actually helped. Abrazo provides mothers who carry to term with a very positive alternative to abortion, but we’ve never been offered any assistance whatsoever from that state fund.
Abrazo won’t ask for state support because we’re a private, nonprofit adoption agency and we don’t expect taxpayers to foot our bills. Yet for Texas to implement legally-enforceable open adoption agreements and to grant adults adopted in Texas legal rights to their original birth records would be a huge show of support that would do far more than just pay lip service to those touched by adoption in this state. (Hey, just expedited processing of adopted children’s amended birth certificates would be a first tiny baby step in the right direction?!)
Likewise, we wish that Texas Governor Greg Abbott would consider helping adoption out by protecting Texas citizens from the influx of unlicensed out-of-state baby brokers, adoption facilitators and others flagrantly violating already-existing laws prohibiting adoption advertising on Google everyday. It would also mean a lot to Texas birthparents who do choose adoption if they could get a little respect, public validation and maybe even post-adoption support instead of judgement and social condemnation for “giving away their kid.” And Texas adoptive parents would be thrilled if maternity leave and paternity leave in this state was legally-mandated to cover those who adopt.
But you’re not “helping adoption” by making forced birth a precipitating factor, Governor Abbott. As an adoptive father yourself, you surely understand the importance of birthparents making fully-informed adoption choices, and you know who’s ultimately responsible for answering to adoptees as to how and why they needed to be adopted. So if you want to help adoption, please do– but not at the mortal risk of those for whom adoption cannot ever be a desired outcome.
Adoption communities still outlive abortion choices.
At Abrazo, we’re grateful to know as many courageous parents as we do– females who chose childbirth over abortion and adoption over Safe Haven/baby abandonments, or forced parenthood or even infanticide. We’re thankful for the infertile couples we know who opted for open adoption over closed adoptions or surrogacy or endless unsuccessful fertility treatments. And we’re grateful for the birthfathers we know who “manned up” to support their baby’s adoption plans. too. Finally, we appreciate all the Abrazo adoptees who have found it in their hearts to accept (and even appreciate) the choices made on their behalf, or to forgive us all if they did not.
Yet none of us would ever presume to say that adoption is always the only option that should’ve existed for everyone involved. For when it comes to abortion and adoption, the truth is that each is necessarily an option of last resort, and only she who faces that dilemma can make that heart-wrenching choice for herself and her fetus or child. There, but for the grace of God, go all of us.