For many years, anti-choice activists have suggested that adoption is the kinder option than abortion. They argue that babies deserve life and there are families who will adopt unwanted infants. Recently, conservative pundit S.E. Cupp intimated it that it was a moral obligation of pregnant women otherwise considering abortion to instead carry babies to term so that families seeking children could have the opportunity to be parents. It seems like a winning combination: unwanted baby, family who wants a baby, woman absolved of responsibility for the baby.
Adoption should be an option. Only, I’m not talking about the babies-to-be. I’m talking about the mothers-to-be.
I do not wish to minimize the strength of character it takes for a woman and an adoptive couple to reach terms that allow a baby to be given the best home possible. That’s an admirable course of action. For a woman who is not in circumstances to raise a child, finding an adoptive family for an unborn baby can be a blessing of invaluable magnitude. But why should the mother give up a baby whom, studies suggest, she would undoubtedly love? Why should the mother continue to live in circumstances that preclude raising a child when her circumstances could be changed by the act of adopting…her?
Anti-choice families who wish to see women carry, birth and raise babies should bring those women into their homes. They should treat them as they would treat their own pregnant daughter. Provide them with food, clothing and shelter. Enroll them on their insurance plan and get them the best prenatal care. Find a school for the women to attend if they need education, assist them in finding work if they need work. Give them a car. Give them emotional support. Take them to church and social events. Make them a part of the life that they lead – a forever life, not just the duration of the pregnancy.
After the baby is born, give mother and baby the same shower of love, support and material goods that they would a grandchild. They should offer assistance with childcare so the mother can work or attend school, maybe subsidize an apartment if they want to have their own place. They should read stories to and play tag with the child as he or she grows, and welcome mother and child beneath the Christmas tree and at the Thanksgiving table every year.
Make having a baby possible. Make raising a baby possible.
Too often I read about Crisis Pregnancy Centers that counsel against abortion and offer pregnant women rudimentary help. Cast-off baby goods. Diapers. A sheaf of papers they can use to apply for housing or medical aid. But how much of a difference does that ultimately make? Does it break the cycle of poverty? Elevate women to true self-sufficiency? Does it prevent the next unintended pregnancy? Or is it a band-aid on a larger issue, measures meant to make sure babies are born? But what happens after? What happens to mothers who raise their babies within our limited safety net? What happens to mothers who relinquish their babies to adoption?
Yes, adoption is an option and no one is saying it shouldn’t be. But as a student of the nature of unintended pregnancy, my conclusions after reading about who the women who seek abortion is that it isn’t their babies who need to be whisked off to a better life. It’s them.
Rebekah Kuschmider is a D.C. area mom with an over-developed sense of irreverence, socialist tendencies, a cable news addiction, and a blog. Rebekah has an undergraduate degree in theater and Master’s in Arts Policy and Administration and a decade of experience managing arts organizations and advocating in the public health sector. Rebekah also blogs about her life, her thoughts, and her opinions at StayAtHomePundit.com.She was voted one of the Top 25 Political Mom Blogs at Circle of Moms. Her work has also been seen at Babble.com, Salon.com, Redbook online, and the Huffington Post.
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