Adoption is NOT an Alternative to Abortion

Pick a DOOR.. what's behind door number one??

For One Last Time – One Pregnancy; Two Different Decisions

This is one of those post that I am writing because I am tired of writing it out again and again to explain the basic points of this argument.  Alas, I need a post I can just link to. The whole idea of abortion does not belong in the adoption conversation. Let me repeat that; it is a separate conversation, a separate debate.

And now I will talk about them together ONE FINAL TIME. Yes, I long to be a hypocrite.

While many pro-life anti abortion, anti choice, anti women types might want to see adoption as the perfect win-win alternative for a woman facing an unplanned or ill-timed pregnancy, increasing adoption awareness does not decrease abortions.

  • The alternative to abortion is giving birth.
  • The alternative to adoption is actually parenting your own child.
  • Separate events at separate times even if in the same pregnancy.

It’s NOT the “Price is Right” Pregnancy Door Game

The thing is the decisions made when facing an unplanned pregnancy do not happen at once. It is not like you see the evil double lines on the pee stick and then suddenly face three doors to go through parenting, adoption or abortion.

Pick a DOOR.. what's behind door number one??

Step right up, step right up. Ah yes, I am so sorry. I see you have peed double lines. Yes, you are now pregnant. Ok so now you have to make a choice! Will it be door number one, door number two or door number three?

Hurry up now and pick YOUR Pregnancy decision!!

Yeah, it’s not a pregnancy game show version of the Price is Right.

I have this crazy visual of some middle aged man trying to usher women away from door number 1 and to door number 3. Oh wait.. that’s not a crazy visual. It’s what adoption agencies do when they take over or are in cahoots with crisis pregnancy centers!

Just because the decisions to choose abortion or adoption can occur within the same pregnancy, does not mean that they are part and parcel of the same choice and especially, they are NOT made at the same time in the pregnancy.

How We Decrease The Abortion Rate

Now if one wished to really decrease  the number of abortions in this country then that’s almost easy; we know what works.

  • Realistic sex education, not abstinence only programs.
  • Accessibility to safe affordable birth control.

Knowledge and tools to prevent the pregnancies that lead to abortions. If women don’t want to become pregnant and they know how not  and can make it happen, then it often works really well!

However, it often doesn’t seem that the majority of Pro-life/ Pro-birth  people really want to decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies that would therefore decrease the rates of abortion.. rather than spell that out, I refer instead to this most fabulous post written by an actual Pro-Life women:  How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement

When Abortion IS Decided Upon

Now sometimes, accidents do happen and things do go wrong. And in that case, when a woman is facing an unwanted pregnancy and she has determined that having a child is just not a good idea right now, often her only choice then is an abortion.

See, the abortion is a reproductive decision. She is deciding whether to reproduce of not. Does she want to go through the remaining 9 months of pregnancy?  Can she afford to take the time required to complete the pregnancy? Can she undergo the medical risk of the pregnancy? Is she ready to welcome a child into her life? Really it is a case of does she want to have a baby and be a mother?

Because if she does NOT terminate the pregnancy, then she WILL BE a mother of a child  no matter what other decisions she can later make. Her REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE HAS BEEN MADE.

The decisions to continue or terminate a pregnancy is one that must be made early on in the pregnancy due to the time constraints. And I am pretty sure that most women pretty much kind of know from the get go if they are happy to see the positive pregnancy tell tale “two line” or they are not happy to see they two lines. While there are times when there are mixed emotions and fears when seeing the reality that you are, indeed, pregnant, most women DO know right way if they can pull it off and enter motherhood or whether it will be a complete impossibility.

If it is a complete impossibility and she really does really want to be pregnancy, then there is a good chance she might choose to have an abortion.  If she believes that abortion is the right thing for her at the time. And yes, I do believe it is her choice and really, her choice only; it’s HER body.

Nobody WANTS to Have a Baby for Someone Else

Let me correct that; because some women do, and they are called surrogates. I won’t get into that here and now.

Now there ARE women who will not ever consider abortion. That is their choice, too. Some women might find out that they are pregnant too late and the possibility of an abortion is off the table. Others might have difficulty finding an abortion provider or even not be able to afford an abortion. Personally, I think it is very sad when a women must carry a pregnancy to term because she is denied reproductive health services, but that is the culture we currently live in.

Often, a woman will forgo the abortion concept and decide that she is going to have her baby. Perhaps the father of the child says all the right things. Perhaps she believes that she can manage to pull it off, but somewhere along the way the doubts and fears get to her. Maybe reality looms up and the future looks rather frightening with a baby in tow.

She is already, literally , bodily committed to having this baby, so maybe she thinks “adoption” because she is scared and wants to check adoption out. Unfortunately, once she contacts an adoption agency the chances that she will find emotional support to parent will disappear like a poof of smoke. Often she will then be bombarded with pro-adoption rhetoric that starts telling her, however subtle, that she is not worthy of being a mother, not good enough and that if she loves her baby enough, she will want her baby to have “better”. In essence, the MOTHER becomes the perceived threat to the child’s well being.

As I have said many times before, adoption presents itself as having many answers that face a woman with an unplanned pregnancy. They have carefully honed their marketing message and have it down pat. It’s just full of holes, but too many mother realize that when it is too late.

But, back on track; a woman who has decide to carry her pregnancy to term and is considering adoption still CANNOT really make the decision to relinquish and NOT parent until after the baby is born.  Even the worst of adoption agencies, even if they are just parroting the real child welfare advocates, say this. She cannot make a decision until after the baby is born. Oh and the law states it too. Mothers cannot sign legally binding pre birth consents. They can sign to diminish their revoke period and sign to start to clock immediately after birth, but technically, they have to wait until after birth to relinquish a child to adoption.

Hence, if the child is born, then abortion is obviously LONG of the table.

It also means that adoption is NOT a reproductive choice; it s a PARENTING choice. A woman has already made the choice to reproduce. She is already a mother. She has had the baby. She is decide NOT to parent her child. THAT is adoption.

The Time Table for the Two Pregnancy Decision Do NOT MEET

Look here’s a visual for people who don’t like reading, but watch Dr. Phil instead.

a pregnant woman does NOT make her decision all at one time

Again; let’s remember that a pregnant woman does NOT make her decision all at one time.

Abortion generally MUST be decided on within a small window of time; usually within the first trimester but definitely before 20 to 22ish weeks.

Most adoption agencies do not like to talk to mothers until well after threat of miscarriage is over. Even then, they like them best in their last trimester. That’s when the panic is on.

So for ONE FINAL TIME: Adoption is not the Alternative to Abortion.

And for why it is wrong and really just horrid for people to expect that those facing an unplanned pregnancy have some weird moral obligation to carry their pregnancy to term to fulfill the needs of those who desire babies? I’ll just refer again to this post written by an adoptive parent who says it much nicer than I could: To Pro-Lifers Who Believe Adoption is Always the Answer


OK? SO can we be DONE with this stupid debate? No? OK that’s fine. Now I’m just linking to this post. Sick of this shit…

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

13 Comments on "Adoption is NOT an Alternative to Abortion"

  1. Claudia,
    I only recently found this blog, but must say you (and others) have provided me with significant insight from the birth mother perspective. Understand that I’m well versed on adoption issues (primarily adoptee side), and have been involved in numerous aspects of the community for over 20 years. Short background, I’m a 43 year old male adoptee; at 21 years old I found b-mom, near 30 I found her again, found b-dad same time. Somewhere in the middle I did a LOT of work helping fellow adoptee’s to reunion, and spent some time as state coordinator for a grass roots organization surrounding adoptee rights. I share this only to add some perspective to the forthcoming disagreement. LOL
    Again, I’m new to this blog but have read many of your posts so feel fairly secure that we share similar attitudes on adoption and most other viewpoints. On this topic however, I must disagree with you, at least on some points. To preface, I am pro-choice and agree with you whole heartedly that a woman should have the right decide, without do-gooder interventions or other sleight of hand crap shrouded in “the best interest” but truly intended to manipulate/delay the decision. Her body, her choice in abortion. Agreed. Where I disagree is in your estimate of persons involved. Yes, I know you discounted the unborn, and trust me when I tell you I’ve no unearthly motivations to think they should be counted. But from my perspective, that presence is what initiates the entire process of choice, so consideration is a must. The phrase “the desire to not be pregnant” is oversimplified in my opinion. I don’t mean to nit-pick, I just think decisions surrounding an unwanted pregnancy are more deserving than say a brain tumor. i.e. My desire to not go blind or mad, overrides the unwanted procedure of cutting a hole in my skull. Sorry, I guess I just take more stock in that particular tumor. You know, the one that could potentially grow and pose a differing opinion much like we have here today. {insert elbow nudge}
    My point here is not to spout the value of a zygote or fetus, but to simply acknowledge that someone cannot logically consider options/solutions to a problem while ignoring the primary part of the problem. In this context of adoption being an option, pregnancy is not the problem but rather a condition. The problem is parenthood, and if unwanted/unready, then select from options A’s. I support abortion and a woman’s right to choose, but speaking from the adoptee perspective, one gained on personal experience as well as the direct involvement with countless other adoptee’s, our “choice” will nearly always be life.
    Let me add that for my b-mom, parenthood was not the problem. I was the product of an affair, and my very existence was the problem. Abortion would have been the logical solution, but I’m awfully glad that woman chose the other option “A”. Adoption is not collateral damage. Adoption is a one solution to unwanted parenting, and its real life effects on all parties is rather unpredictable. Sure, my home life could have been better. Perhaps some innate instinct would allow my b-mom to coddle me better, or relate clearly to the shared clockwork that makes us tick. Blood family can create such unique bonds, and I’ve firsthand experience with my b-dad’s family. But I’ve also experienced blood families who are a complete mess, are abusive, who practically hate one another. My a-dad is an identical twin, close as you can get blood wise, yet he and his brother don’t speak. I could give countless examples, but there’s little point as we all know someone, untouched by adoption, with a fucked up family/childhood. Adoption is not evil, it’s messy, just like life. Now adoption agencies…. THEY are evil.
    One last bit. You basically claim intervention of any sort regarding abortion is unwanted and unwarranted, yet you claim almost the exact opposite for adoption, closing your blog with something along the lines of too bad if she doesn’t like others getting involved. I understand where you’re coming from, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around why it’s okay in one place and not the other. I personally would love to see completely factual and un-opinionated information shared with candidates in either position. I get that abortion has this negative aura surrounding it, and maybe clients just want to get the process over with as quickly as possible, hence the ‘leave me alone’ mentality. But from what I’ve seen in your blog, wouldn’t adoption hold an equally negative place for you, thus lending again to the idea of the ‘leave me alone’ reaction? I’m not suggesting you’re wrong to believe what you do, but from my perspective the two points seem so close you could almost be arguing with yourself here.
    One more last bit. I’m not trying to offend. At times I can be overly logical, and this can come across rather dry or arrogant. Just know I’m being sincere, that I continue to enjoy your blog, but on this one I felt the call to speak up.

  2. I was an unwanted fetus, a child considered for abortion, but my natural mother recognized the value in my life and chose to give birth to me so she could give me up for adoption. She made the adoption arrangements in the first trimester of her pregnancy so her decision to give birth to me was directly tied to her decision to give me up for adoption. I find this post a callus and ignorant take on the issue. These are not mere statistics we are talking about. These are human lives. My natural mother was pregnant 9 selfless months of her life and from it I have been given a lifetime of years to grow, to love and to live. I am eternally thankful for this gift. My parents, my brother, my husband, my daughter and all my family and friends are thankful as well. I hope my personal story can soften your heart to the truth about adoption as an alternative to killing a human life.

    • Nicole,

      you of course, have a right to your feelings about your own adoption. There will always be an exception to every thing that can be said and I am certainly not one to argue with anyone who has lived that very path. You are happy and grateful? Good. Be happy. My feelings should not have the ability to take anything away from that. However, the same goes both ways. And MY life experience coupled with over a dozen years of research and involvement in the overall adoption community has brought me to a different opinion. I’m perfectly fine with the fact that my feelings cannot and will not jive with every single other person in the word. It doesn’t mean that I have a “hard heart” that requires softening.

      What I wonder.. have you found your first mother and did she tell you this story herself? Not doubting it’s validity but if it came from anyone other than her, you should.

    • Nicole, Expanding on the situation, if you could the 9 months that the b mother IS selfish with the bad habits, namely smoking and drinking, things that are extremely frowned upon with NORMAL pregnancies, further are not considered for those who keep their pregnancy, and giving birth to a bastard that has learning disabilities as well, life is challenging in the least. I’m over reading how we should save them all but yet not ‘policing’ their pregnancy habits in all capacities, so the infant can go through detox of nicotine and alcohol without even the adoptive parents knowing the prior issues. Not every child is born from an unwanted pregnancy as a healthy child, further to grow up with the knowledge of being adopted, then for some unknown reason banned from knowledge, should be given their RIGHT to know who they are as well as the history of their time in pregnancy. Please consider in your ‘save them all’ crusade the bastard children whom have struggled all their life trying to be ‘normal’ from all the prior unknown reasons. NOT getting pregnant is the ONLY way to save human lives, and responsibility STARTS THERE! NO EXCUSES!!! Pregnancy is a responsibility, and needs to be addressed in the BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD, not with everyone’s shelter rescue plans. Lynn McDougald seems to be wearing the crown for believing there is no excuses for not being happy, probably because she has never been on the island of misfits, and she isn’t classified as a BASTARD, and rather narrow-minded to believe that all are to live a fairy tail adoptee life. And even though I know now what I didn’t know then, doesn’t mean I am happy to be here, but I’m glad I’m not with ‘stupid’. Prevention means no physical issues, including but not limited to, heartache.

  3. “Nobody WANTS to Have a Baby for Someone Else”

    I dont think theres any studies supporting such one-sided statement. I also think its interesting on the converse, where donor men have babies for others.

    Brings up an interesting question too: What if women were paid to have babies for others. I dont mean surrogates either. I mean, a women could get pregnant any way she wanted to, then there was a govt program, private business, or non-for profit that paid her x (e.g. 25k-100k). Would the debate change? Would women be clamoring to have babies?

    • Well, no.. there are NOT studies to that degree. For one because “birthmothers’ as a population are one of these least studies, researched or cared about populations. However, I don’t think we really need a study to show that MOST women WANT to care for their children. If the opposite was a norm then we would see MORE case of infant abandonment and adoption. You would not see mothers fighting for their children in any circumstances. Plus, you might see it as one sided, but after spending over the last dozen years talking with and reading literally thousands of adoption stories.. I will support the statement that “Nobody WANTS to Have a Baby for Someone Else”.

      Personally, I see donors and surrogates and those who relinquish as all being treated the same way.. the target market is young and with lack of resources, needing money.. and with out the ability to look to long term consequences…why do you think the donor infertility markets advertise and recruit those in college? Get them while their proprieties are different and they are not thinking about their life and actions in 20 years… other than NOT having huge student loans! In the end, NONE of these targeted groups are given accurate information that enables them to make an INFORMED CHOICE about what they are doing. They just get the warm and fuzzy snow job.

      And if women were paid? ( which really.. the system really is already in place.. except the mothers do not get the lion’s share of the “fees” the middle me.. aka the agencies and lawyers do while the moms get the “freebies”.. health care, living expenses, perks.. and sometimes cash too!) .. then what we would have is very similar to what we already SEE in both adoption and surrogacy…folks with less financial recourse being exploited (and now paid) for what genetic materials they have to offer by those who are more privileged. BUT it would be open selling babies and THAT doesn’t “feel good” for most participants and society would not accept it… and the parents that did partake in this would be even more vilified than we already are.

  4. I think when it comes down to it, and you morally do not believe in abortion, adoption is a choice I personally gave my daughter up for adoption to my sister. I have no regrets, and think people who have not experienced this situation shouldn’t have a blog.

    • Well Damn it’s a good thing that I have personally experienced this situation so I am allowed, by your decree, to have this blog!

      I think you should rethink saying out loud that “you have no regrets”.. because if you say that to your daughter, what many many adoptees have told me they hear is ” I do not reject losing you. I don’t care that I missed all those years of your life. It’s OK that someone else loved you. I didn’t miss you”.

      And hands down.. I would advise anyone that abortion is 7000 thousand times easier than adoption. Again, based on my OWN personal experince.

      • Please forgive me if I am being dumb. Our background: We have an adopted son through older domestic adoption. Removed from his parents for severe neglect and abuse. We are considering an infant adoption.

        Question: Are you saying that you feel it would be better, for the child and mother, for the mother to abort her “unwanted” baby than for her to give him up for adoption? Are you saying you feel if would have been better if you had aborted your son, rather than giving him up for adoption? Please know I am being sincere. We are researching before we adopt again. I honestly want to know how an experienced birth mother feels who, as you say, had a “good” experience. We don’t want to hurt anyone that’s already in a hurtful situation. Thank you.

  5. Gail Chell | August 1, 2015 at 6:28 pm |

    Speaking as an adoptee, I am glad I was adopted rather than being aborted. Obviously I can’t speak for my birth mother.

  6. “Because if she does NOT terminate the pregnancy, then she WILL BE a mother of a child no matter what other decisions she can later make. Her REPRODUCTIVE CHOICE HAS BEEN MADE.” The logic is kind of mind blowing. Yes, her reproductive choice was made when she had intercourse. That’s how the human, dog, cat, elephant, and all other mammalian life cycles work. She IS a mother when sperm meets eggs. Her choice that follows is, will she be a mother who kills her child, or “allows” her child to live. It seems elitist to presume humans are above the basic biological logic of the life cycle. It starts with reproduction, not “born” for mammals.

    • I’m not sure how often you watch the National Geographic channel, but I do believe that humans are slightly different than “dogs, cats, and elephants” in that humans don’t JUST have sex to procreate. I think they have found that chimps fuck for fun too. To follow your “logic” then every time a person has sex, then they MUST be trying to procreate and I don’t care how idealistic you want to be, surely you know this is just not true.
      Now I will do what I normally do with all folks that share your attitude.. so you have NEVER EVER EVER had sex EVEN ONCE except for when you wanted a child? Never once for fun. NEVER even once when you might have been in a place where a child wasn’t 100% the first thing on your mind? And of course, you remains a virgin until you were married. No? That’s not the case? Then please do us all a favor and shut up.

      If a woman was mother when a sperm met egg then we would NOT be calling them “mothers to be”.( you might want to tell hallmark that they are making the wrong cards or something) She becomes a mother when she gives birth. Duh.

  7. I am an adoptee and a birth mother to my son. I used to think that I was lucky to be adopted and that it was great ect ect. Now I have a super close bond with my son I realize that I buried alot of trauma. I am anxious low self esteem, distant ect and I thought this is just me because my adopted parents are great. Now I recognize alot of my issues stem from abandonment that I cannot remember in words so much as just dark, sad angry feelings that have no name. I’ve had a miscarriage at 12 weeks and it was horrible but nothing compared to how intense everything was after giving birth. Hormones are crazy powerful. There is no way to deny the scientific evidence that biological infant and mother seperation is traumatic. Adoption is necessary and certainly adoptees and birthmothers can go on to live full lives, but it is starting from a place of profound loss. There’s a reason adoptees are over represented in addiction/depression/mental health issues. Adoption needs reform. Starting with giving adoptees the right to know their origins.

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