Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pro Choice= Pro Adoption?

In honor of National Adoption Month, I am writing up a few thoughts about adoption and how it fits into the modern culture of the US and the world.

In my opinion, I think if you are pro-choice, you should also be pro-adoption. Why?

Proponents of legal abortion argue that a birthmother should have options available for her when she decides that she is unwilling or unable to parent a child. They argue that abortion is the option that should be available to her. (Of course, they also argue medical necessity, and I am not going to touch that one at this point, but maybe some time...)

In the same vein, if a birthmother is looking for options when she is unwilling or unable to parent her child, adoption must be available to her. Not only because some people do not know or choose not to approach their pregnancies until after they are past the time frame when an abortion is available to them, but also because if pro-choicers are really all about the ability to choose when one becomes a parent, then they should also support the right of the birthmother to choose to no longer be a parent (through relinquishment.) If pro-choicers are truly looking to promote the right of the woman to make choices that she feels are in her best interest without regard for anyone else, then certainly, they must support a system where birthmothers are given the option of choosing to do what is solely in their best interest... an option that is not available to them if they are parenting.

This may seem flippant, and I hope you do not take it that way. I have the utmost respect for birthmothers who choose adoption when they are unable to parent. I mean no disrespect to any person who has been involved in the adoption triad. However, I am trying to really understand the viewpoint of "pro-choice" proponents, and in my attempts to do so, I simply cannot understand how someone can be pro-choice without being pro-adoption.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Not really sure I know anyone who is against adoption as an option for women.

Perhaps you mean that adoption should be thought of before abortion? In that case, you are dealing with women who do not want to be pregnant (perhaps young girls who do not want anyone to know especially their parents)...

When asked if I am pro choice or pro life, I always say pro adoption, but with the understanding that we cannot change the world that fast. People will still have abortions whether they are legal or not. I try to promote adoption in the meantime.

But, yes, pro choicers should be pro adoption. And I think the majority are. Its just the principal of it all when someone tries to control someone else's body and choices.

graceling said...

Hi Anon,

I did recently encounter a person who was very adamently against adoption, but pro-abortion. This was the first time I had this experience, and I imagine it is not terribly common, but there it is.

In this case, I do not mean that adoption should be considered before abortion (although I personally hope that people consider them in equal terms... especially if it is a young girl who is making choices regarding her pregnancy, because no matter what choice she makes, there are serious health implications, and her ability at a young age to think them through and make a good choice is questionable, simply based on her development in the area of problem solving and long-term forecasting...)

In the case of those who do not want to be pregnant, it is very different than those who do not want to be parents. This is a more complex issue, but nonetheless, choosing to not be pregnant or having options to terminate pregnancy should still go hand-in-hand with choosing not to parent and having options to terminate parental rights/responsibilities. That is mostly the point I am trying to make- that proponents of abortion should also be proponents of adoption because they promote the same idea of choice.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it also be nice if every young girl who was faced with these decisions had parents who would not judge her for becoming pregnant and support her choice for adoption? Wouldn't it also be nice if these young girls had enough self-esteem and confidence to boldly choose adoption over abortion, although these are not the types of girls who typically become pregnant. Then, of course, there's rape and incest to deal with, too...

Also, shouldn't pro-life supporters also be active in preventing rape, incest, teenage pregnancy and also care after a baby is born should they not be adopted?

Society is such a mess...

Shasta said...

Hi Grace, I'm not sure I understand where you're going with this and I certainly don't want to get in a debate with you on your blog (it's such a personal space, isn't it?). But I object to your term of "pro-abortion." I support a woman's right to choose. This does not mean I cheer on abortions -- the more the merrier! What I do support is women having the right to choose what is best for them. This means that neither you nor I have the right to tell another woman what to do with her body. It especially means that politicians (the majority of which are old white men) should not tell women what they can do with their bodies.

Of course adoption should be one of the choices available to women. So should terminating the pregnancy. So should parenting the child.

I think this person you encountered is part of a very small minority. It's an odd stance to take and really goes against the choice movement.

Respectfully, Shasta

evenshine said...

I think those that are pro-choice generally believe that there just aren't enough parents for every child that needs one, therefore, the idea that all the aborted babies could somehow have been adopted instead is, at best, idealistic. Were adoption more affordable, with less red tape, it might seem more realistic. Also, I think you are one of few white mothers who would even consider a different-race child. Hate to say it, but it has a lot to do with the issue.

Those of us who are radically pro-life need to think about these things...what does it really MEAN when we say "adoption is an option"?

Interesting conversation!

graceling said...

Hi Shasta,

With regard to the term "pro-abortion," I do view this differently than the term "pro-choice."

I repectfully use the term "pro-choice" with regard to most people who believe the right to choose an abortion should be a private decision of the pregnant woman, and should not be a choice that would be illegal. You could also call this "pro-legal-abortion." I think is consistent with the beliefs of most self-identified "pro-choice" individuals.

The person I recently encountered was, to me, very "pro-abortion." This individual was very much a proponent of abortion for those who were not prepared to parent. This individual viewed all pregnancies as having 2 ideal outcomes: parenting by the birth parent, or abortion. This individual seemed to view the 2 as equal.

I agree, this person is probably in the minority. And I agree that this person's viewpoint probably does a disservice to the pro-choice movement. I do not use the term "pro-abortion" with regard to all pro-choicers, but rather with regard to this individual and those who think the same way.

I am sorry if I offended you with the use of the term.

graceling said...

Hi Evenshine,

Thanks for stopping by.

According to the most recent statistics I could find, about 14,000 children will be relinquished as infants and placed for adoption per year. This is a tiny percentage of the 4 million children born in the US each year.

If women who find themselves pregnant and unable to parent view a lack of adoptive parents as a reason not to place their child for adoption, I do not know, but I would venture to say that was inaccurate and misinformed. There are far more adoptive parents looking to complete a domestic newborn adoption than there are babies... and that is true across the races. Plus, national adoption month this year is also focusing on raising awareness of and advocacy for adoption in minority groups.

I would not identify myself as radically pro-life, and at some point, I might have to write about my beliefs about abortion. However, I do believe that anyone who is pro-life should also be advocating for the health and well-being of the birthmother as well as the child at all points during pregnancy and after delivery.

Responsibility does not end with getting a birth mother to keep her baby until after the point of viability.

graceling said...

Hi Anon,

I agree. The issue of adoption and abortion is complex, and society often says one thing while our time and actions support another entirely different thing.

However, the woulda/coulda/shoulda of the choice of adoption and abortion is far too complex of an issue to address in this blog post or these comments. My post mostly concerns itself with the lack of reason and logic in a viewpoint that supports abortion and the right for a woman to choose abortion but not adoption or the right to choose adoption.

The Albertsons said...

Hi Grace,
I think, that, duh, everyone should support adoption no matter what side of the aisle one lands politically or on the abortion issue. Like you, I'm totally shocked when folks are against adoption. It's really foreign to me that anyone would think that way, so I struggle with it. While I'm pro-choice in terms of gov't policies, I'm absolutely sickened that abortion even has to be an option for some young women, and i'm so sad that they even have to make that choice (sad for them... I can't imagine being in that position and I'm heartbroken for them). I wanted to back you up on the "pro-abortion" thing... i, too, know some people who go way beyond "pro-choice" and are actually (as they identify themselves) "pro-abortion" as a form of birth control. that makes me sad.
anyway, ADOPTION is the BEST choice!
good thoughts!

evenshine said...

Hi Grace,

First, sorry about the confusion: I was labelling MYSELF as radically pro-life, not you!

Second, I understand that it's easier to say that the women who don't believe that there are enough mothers are ignorant, but it's hardly the case. You failed to take into account the second part of my position, which was race. To put it bluntly: how many white mothers will seriously consider adopting African-American children? You, of course. Me, absolutely- we're in the process as we speak. However, the average white American woman is not looking to expand her family by way of transracial adoption, and, like it or not, more African-American mothers are aborting. I think we're probably on the same page, we just might articulate it a little differently.
Just some things to take into account. Thanks for the convo.

Anonymous said...

First off let me say that I am pro-choice and I worked as a nurse at a clinic that offered abortions. I am also an adoptive parent. It has been my experience that most women who have abortions do so not because they believe there are not enough adoptive parents but do so because they simply don't want to be pregnant. Some young girls are not sure what to do about their pregnancy and their parents decide for them that they should have an abortion and not " mess up their life".

It's a complicated issue most of the people who scream pro-life are also against childcare subsidies , early childhood intervention programs and educational grants, because their view is why should my tax dollars go to support someone else's "mistake"? It's like they don't realize when these babies are born particularly if the mother is poor they are going to need housing, food, and education to break out of poverty.

I don't understand how anyone could be pro-choice but against adoption because that is just another choice for women who choose to go ahead with their pregnancies. It's a difficult subject with no easy answers.

Anonymous said...

White women make up 63 percent of all women having abortions. Black women have 30 percent of all abortions -
30 vs 63 = black women have more abortions?

If you look at sheer numbers more white babies are being aborted, percentage wise blacks are about 12 percent of the population so percentage wise the rate is higher but it still doesn't change the fact that more white babies are being aborted in numbers than any other group, no matter what fox news tells you.

graceling said...

Hi Anon,

I would agree that those who condemn abortion must follow-though with beliefs- and laws and money- that support the child throughout their life. You can't fight to save a life from abortion, but not save it from poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of education, etc. Again, this is complex, but again, I don't think my beliefs are "typical" or that anyone should use the arguement that there are not enough welfare options available to women and therefore we should promote abortions. When I found myself as a single mother with no job and no income (after Abigail's father left), I did use several welface services (Medicaid, housing assistance, Food Stamps, Daycare Subsidy, etc.) There are lots of services available, and when combined with a will to "get out" of the system, a lot is possible- I am living proof.

As for rates of abortions, according to the Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in 2004, the following statistics were true:
"In the 38 reporting areas for which race was provided, classified according to the same categories used in previous years, approximately 53% of women who obtained legal induced abortions were white; 35%, black; and 8%, other; race was not known for 4% (Table 9). The abortion ratio for black women (472 per 1,000 live births) was 2.9 times the ratio for white women (161 per 1,000), and the ratio for women of the nonhomogeneous "other" race category (330 per 1,000) was 2.0 times the ratio for white women. The abortion rate for black women (28 per 1,000 women) was 2.9 times the rate for white women (10 per 1,000), and the abortion rate for women of other races (22 per 1,000 women) was 2.2 times the rate for white women."