Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Adoption Option

Entirely aside from my abortion dialogues, there is an interesting oped in the L.A. Times, "The Adoption Vs. Abortion Myth: Why politicians are wrong to trumpet the former as a solution to the latter."

But I found this nugget very interesting.

Meanwhile, we know that very few women actually place their infants for adoption. In the United States, fewer than 14,000 newborns were voluntarily relinquished in 2003 (the latest year for which an estimate is available), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That proportion -- just under 1% of all the children born to never-married women -- has remained constant for almost two decades. It's down considerably from the early 1970s, but even in those days, more than nine in 10 unmarried women who gave birth kept their babies.
I never really thought about what is the actual number of newborn adoptions (not just older children adopted out of foster care). The fact that only 14,000 women a year voluntarily give up their newborn children to be adopted makes me understand why there is such a competition amongst couples who want to adopt.

But it's such a hard thing to give up your baby, especially if you do want children and the problem is money and ability to take care of it, not a lack of desire to be a parent. Even on Loveline there were SO many callers where it was a young woman in a shakey relationship with the biological father -- someone who didn't sound all that put together with no money and no finances -- who clearly had a highly idealistic sense of what life was going to be like once the baby was born.

Adam Corolla used to say in those circumstances the kid would be better off if the mother would launch the baby from a giant slingshot than be raised by its bio-mom. Most of the time I had to agree.


Anonymous said...

This sounds like the OJ defense. He couldn't have Nicole so he killed her. Women who are pregnant will have a hard time giving up the baby, so NARAL and Planned Parenthood encourage them to terminate instead.

If there are only 14,000 babies put up for adoption a year, and over a million abortions per year in the US, AND a long line of people willing to adopt, then isn't it common sense that the adoption option should be encouraged? Shouldn't we be doing everything possible to help a young woman who is pregnant so that she can choose adoption?

Jim in Cleveland

NewsCat said...

Well if you read the article it plainly says you cannot make a dent in abortion rates with high adoption rates. The two rates do not move in correlation to each other.

It may be that there is a finite number of women who are willing to entirely give up their newborns to adoption.

For some reason this story I read today about a 22-year-old woman who left her baby in a hot car while she worked a seven hour shift as a waitress (during which the boy died) exactly made me think "so which would that little boy of have wanted. To be aborted and never know suffering or to die at 17 months in a stifling car because his mom wasn't ready to become a mom?"

Yes he would have been better if he had been given up for adoption, but the point is his mother didn't and probably could not have been talked into doing so.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is ready to become a mom, or a dad, the first time. Take it from me.

You present a false choice. Would the baby want to be aborted or die at 17-months? I don't know. Which would you have wanted? Maybe the father could have been given custody of the boy, as the article shows he wanted. Maybe she could have done something other than work long hours at Hooters to support a boyfriend, as the article shows.

Point is, NOT having an abortion doesn't give you a free pass.

I would also point out that Cory L. Richards, who wrote the op-ed, has an agenda (he is veep at the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a spin-off from Planned Parenthood). He does make the case that Guiliani's stats were fuzzy, but he draws wild inferences from that.

Jim in Cleveland

Anonymous said...

Has anyone brought up the fact that a woman might not feel like incubating a life? Avoiding alcohol, eating right, taking vitamins, taking time off work to go to the doctor and to give birth, stratch marks, cellulite... It's kind of a drag, and to go through all of that to give your baby away?! I would bet that has a lot to do with why a woman would choose abortion over adoption.

Going through all of that would be one heck of a punishment for having a little fun before you are ready to actually procreate. And who gets let of the hook pretty easily after his condom breaks? Not the woman. Of course, if the woman decides to keep the baby, the guy is on the financial hook for 18 years (and that always works out...) but he isn't required to participate in raising the child, he doesn't have to be there for the abortion, and he may have to sign off on an adoption (I think it depends on the state's laws) but he sure as hell doesn't have to go through pregnancy and form a hormonally-reinforced emotional bond with the thing before he never has to see it again. He literally never has to see it at all, ever, no matter what choice is made. I'm not trying to man bash, or anything, but I can see why some women think that men shouldn't be involved in making laws about abortion. It really, really isn't their problem. I understand that most men do want to be a part of their baby's life, and I'm not trying to discount your arguments, Jim, because they are well reasoned arguments that come from a profound love for life and you just want to do what is right, but I think that the notion of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion is a bit facile, and doesn't take into account what an extreme hardship this is for the woman. You say you are a father. I assume you have seen your wife through her pregnancy, and saw what a physical and emotional toll it took on her. Ask yourself how many women (especially young, selfish women) would truly be willing to go through all of that for someone else's benefit. The high level of altruism an act like this would require is the real reason why the newborn adoption rates are so low, always have been, and probably always will be.


Anonymous said...

spub, I don't disagree with what you say at all. Having a baby is no walk in the park for a woman, and I know of a person who chose to give up a baby to adoption. It was a very difficult decision for her.

I just don't think you throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak (okay, I just wanted to force that pun in there). In other words, I don't think adoption is the placebo that will stop abortion--I just don't like the argument that because it is not, we shouldn't encourage it as a real option, instead of ending a human life so casually. I say, if a woman is pregnant and doesn't know what to do, why shouldn't adoption be something on the table, instead of ushering the poor girl to the local Planned Parenthood butcher shop right away? I am all for doing whatever makes it easier for her to make the adoption choice.

Jim in Cleveland

Anonymous said...

I will admit that I have never actually had to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, but I've gotten the impression that the adoption option is always discussed, and that no one is pushing anyone into having an abortion. When I have had other elective medical procedures done, the doctors have always been very careful to spell out all of the options, and list the risks and benefits of each one, and then given me time to consider all of it before agreeing to perform a procedure. I doubt there would be much difference with abortion.

And I can't resist making a semantic complaint against your last post. "Planned Parenthood butcher shop"? Really? Their whole goal is to reduce the necessity for abortions with family planning. That's why they are called "Planned Parenthood," and not "Abortions R Us." Pro-choice people are all for having a choice, but I think we all agree that abortions should not be a method of birth control, and it would be better to avoid the whole issue in the first place. Demonizing the people who are trying to help isn't a great way to get your point across.