“Please don’t kill your baby! You can put it up for adoption!”
This is a common chant that women seeking abortion services are subjected to as they walk into their local abortion facility. Those “sidewalk counselors” with too much time on their hands love to “inform” women of that option, which of course implies that women are just vacuous and ignorant about their choices in the first place. Indeed, when I think about it, the woman will also get (real) counseling on her options once she enters the facility. Is that insulting to that woman? Hmmmmm….fodder for another blog perhaps?
What many people don’t realize is that most abortion clinics in this country have lists of adoption agencies right in their office if the woman decides to utilize that option. Some clinics even have their own adoption agencies as well.
When I was active in the pro-choice movement, I always enjoyed asking pro-life leaders how many children they had adopted. My thinking was that, since they promoted it as a more welcome option than abortion, they surely walked the walk and adopted babies themselves. But, with one exception that I could remember, the reply was always that they hadn’t adopted. They all had the same lame excuse that they were going to adopt but they couldn’t do it at that time, blah, blah. Putting aside their total hypocrisy for a moment, let’s talk about the adoption option and how it’s not always the best thing since sliced bread.
First of all, it means that the woman has to carry the child for nine months. Now, to those pro-lifers who believe that the woman is just a breeder reactor anyway, that doesn’t sound like much of a problem. But any pregnancy is wrought with problems, physically or emotionally, and so adoption subjects them to those potential issues.
Then, after the baby is born, the woman has to hand it over to strangers. Let’s face it, even though the baby was not wanted in the first place, it’s got to be very difficult for the woman to carry the baby for nine months then hand it over to someone else. There are so many conflicting emotions that she has to deal with.
Third, once she does hand the baby over to someone else, chances are the woman will be thinking about that child for the rest of her life. Anti-abortion folks like to suggest that women ultimately come to regret their abortions. Well, there are many women who come to regret putting up their children for adoption also.
Fourth, from the child’s perspective, sometimes learning that she is adopted does not do a lot for that child’s self esteem. Indeed, in my day it was a downright embarrassment to have been adopted. It was evidence that you were not wanted by your birth mother. Today, adoption is more acceptable but there still are so many possible emotional ramifications.
The bottom line is that adoption can lead to both great joy and tremendous pain. It is a matter to be taken seriously and, despite the implorations of the pro-life movement, carrying a child for nine months and handing it over to a stranger is just not that simple.
Like the other options, it is not perfect and it should be left up to the woman to decide which one is best for her.