By Dave Andrusko
Kami Rieck tells us in the headline that “Adoption is Not a Substitute for Abortion.” Let’s take some time to see why Rieck, a “transracial adoptee growing up in Indiana,” feels the way she does.
First, the headline is misleading; authors often don’t write them. Rather, more accurately, “adoption is not an alternative to abortion and giving birth. Carrying a baby to term is a pretty big deal.”
Agreed. It is a big deal but what follows from that?
Rieck seems to believe that because so few women relinquish their children that’s an argument for abortion. It’s not. If the woman didn’t just assume abortion was the option, adoption would be much more prevalent.
Why is adoption so often “a last resort”?
According to a 2015 study by [Sociologist Gretchen] Sisson, most women who relinquished their babies would have preferred to parent. Adoption was a last resort. But unemployment, low-paying jobs, a lack of parental support and lack of health insurance all contributed to their feeling it was their only option.
These are some of the same reasons that women seek abortions.
Exactly. But abortion and adoption are light years apart; they are not equivalent. Life and death are not interchangeable categories. This is one (of many, many) reasons pregnancy help centers are so vitally important.
Rieck buttresses her conclusion by writing “Birth mothers who give up their babies for adoption report extended feelings of grief, anxiety and depression. Some have suicidal thoughts. ‘I have never gotten over it,’ wrote one woman who had relinquished her child 20 years earlier.”
No one, certainly not me, would ever say that relinquishing a child is an easy decision. What we would say, however, is that if a woman feels she cannot care for her child, allowing someone else to raise them is an infinitely better solution that abortion.
Rieck begins her essay by relaying that someone had said to her “Aren’t you happy your mother chose to give birth to you so you could be adopted?” and ends her essay with “When people ask if I’m grateful for being adopted, the simple answer is yes.”
But, as you would suspect, she immediately qualifies that: “But there is no guarantee my birth mother had access to safe abortion or had the power to make a decision free of financial deprivation. Twenty-three years later, I want women to have more choices, not fewer.”
I would never pretend that pregnant women won’t ever face financially tough times. What I would say, in return, is there are many couples waiting to adopt a child.
Is adoption not a more loving, more caring option for you and your child than abortion?