Whenever the topic of abortion comes up in my conservative Christian community, the inevitable response is, “Why don’t they just give it up for adoption?” I was raised with a halcyon vision of adoption being the most beautiful miracle that could emerge from an unintended pregnancy. Newborn adoption can be a wonderful blessing for many people. It is not, however, the perfect alternative to abortion that I had believed it was.
A significant increase in the number of people placing children for adoption would soon exhaust the supply of would-be adopters. As of 2002, only 614,000 people under age 45 had ever completed an adoption. Only a minority of these people adopted American newborns. Most adopted from foster care, from a relative, from a new spouse with children, or from other countries. If every person who got an abortion last year placed the child for adoption instead, the backlog of those looking to adopt would be wiped out in less than a year.
Adoption is expensive. Not just to the adopters, who must pay between $10,000 and $25,000 in the US to adopt a newborn, but to those placing a child as well. While placing a child for adoption is usually free, lost wages, loss to education, and health risks from pregnancy must be paid for.
Pregnancy can have a wide variety of negative health consequences including anemia, UTI’s, hypertension, diabetes, morning sickness, hemorrhoids, yeast infections, placental previa, placental abruption, preeclampsia, depression, and anxiety, in addition to the significant physical danger presented by childbirth.
Deciding to put a child up for adoption doesn’t save pregnant people from having their lives endangered by pregnancy. It doesn’t make the pregnancy symptom-free so that the pregnant person never has to miss a day of work. It doesn’t allow the baby to teleport out of the uterus at the end of gestation, saving the pregnant person from the experience of childbirth and having to take time off work to heal.
Having a child taken back by a birth parent who changes their mind is unspeakably painful for would-be adoptive parents. One woman I talked to described it as “the closest thing I’ve experienced to the death of a child.” Another woman had a baby girl taken back from her fifteen years ago. She said it still stung.
Most important, many people just don’t want to be pregnant. They could have tokophobia, or they could have prescriptions for medications that are inadvisable to take while pregnant, or they could have a job that they would likely lose if they continued a pregnancy, or they could be in an abusive relationship and need to abort in order to protect themselves, or they could just not want a foreign entity growing inside of them for nine months. Adoption is an alternative to being a parent. It is not an alternative to being pregnant.
Dear socialists, communists, and all anti-capitalists, please refer to the above as one of many examples of how our way of life in America is much better than that of countries with restrictive economic policies.
“No great idea in its beginning can ever be within the law. How can it be within the law? The law is stationary. The law is fixed. The law is a chariot wheel which binds us all regardless of conditions or place or time. ” ― Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays