Is Adoption Reform Common Ground on Abortion?


See another post by Gloria Feldt, "Possibly the Most Idiotic Common Ground Discussion I’ve Ever Heard."

Yes, of course. Adoption reform is an issue on which those who oppose abortion and those who support a woman’s right to choose abortion should be able to work together to forge common ground for policies that make adoption a genuine choice.

See there, Steve Waldman and I have found common ground already. So now let’s get to the points of contention Waldman, the editor-in-chief of Beliefnet raised in response to my last post, referencing a proposal he made, intended (though I doubt it would) to reduce abortions. The exchange came about as part of RHRealityCheck’s "On Common Ground" convo.

I do appreciate that Waldman acknowledges his suggestion that women be paid to “give their babies up for adoption instead of having an abortion” was a “half baked idea”. Unfortunately, he then leapt to a wildly incorrect assumption when he wrote:

Gloria Feldt, in her post, "Possibly the Most Idiotic Common Ground Discussion I’ve Ever Heard," writes, "Remind me, how do you spell "c-o-e-r-c-i-o-n"? How much money would it take to make you carry a pregnancy to term against your will?"
Feldt’s comment implies that a woman would invariably prefer having an abortion to placing a baby up for adoption.

Whoa horse, let’s stop right there. Not only do I imply no such thing; my entire point is that women faced with unintended pregnancy should not be coerced, urged, or even encouraged in any direction. They should be supported in making their own childbearing decisions and the playing field should be leveled so that they have full access to exercise their options.

To suggest that women need to be steered in any direction, whether with financial incentives, social approbation, or laws, is to imagine that women have no brains, no hearts, and/or no consciences. It is utter disrespect for a woman’s moral authority…for her very humanity, actually.

You will not likely find one person in the pro-choice world who opposes adoption or who would not work to make sure women have access to all the information, counseling, health care services, and social supports they need to be able to make free and uncoerced decisions to relinquish for adoption. But the conversation, unfortunately, often breaks down there—by those opposed to abortion, as historian Blake Ellis describes here.

Because to be able to make an informed decision, one must have unbiased, unfettered access to all the information, counseling, health care services, and social supports she needs to consider each of the choices available to her: adoption, parenting, and abortion.

None of these choices is easy. A woman knows full well that she is giving up something profound in return. Choice, you see, is sacrifice as well as freedom.

Which brings me to my second point that engendered Waldman’s contention:

And I disagree with the apparent inclination of some on the pro-choice side to minimize the adoption question entirely. "The real common ground is preventing unintended pregnancy, and it is logically incorrect not to start with that framework," writes Feldt.

Actually, that would be called "our team winning," not "common ground." 

This is where Waldman and his partner in pontification, Will Saletan truly earned the title given their Bloggingheads conversation about the pay-for-pregnancy/adoption scheme: “Two Men, No Uteruses”.

I have a birds and bees news flash for you, gentlemen: if there were no unintended pregnancies, there would be precious few abortions, and we could all save our breath for other debates. That’s why preventing unintended pregnancies is the widest swath of common ground. It’s about making real people’s lives better, not some zero-sum notion of winning and losing a political game. Prevention offers the abundance of future life choices that most of us want for our daughters—or ourselves.

On the cusp of Independence Day, these words from the Declaration of Independence are a good example of how easy it is to miss an injustice:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…

Without taking anything away from the great document, when we look at those words with our 21st century sensibilities, even most of the men among us probably observe that the female half of our nascent country was left out, invisible in the culture of the day.

Unfortunately Waldman’s framework leaves women out of the picture just as clearly. All I’m asking is that women’s inalienable rights be respectfully placed, at last, into the ranks of citizens deemed equal, and justly empowered to give their own consent.

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  • progo35

    You are missing the point, Gloria, and perhaps on purpose. While everyone I know doesn’t want unintended pregnancy to happen and is happy to do whatever is necessary to prevent it, the idea behind being pro life is to prevent abortion once a fetus is conceived. Your "solution" is no common ground at all because you ignore the issue of people who choose not to use contraception and who get pregnant, and then who choose abortion. The issue of contention here is not preventing unwanted pregnancy, it is preventing abortion once conception occurs. Not getting pregnant unintentionally is important, but that in itself is only one method of abortion reduction and it doesn’t help the issue of what happens once a fetus is conceived, and you know it.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • http://www.Gloriafeldt.com invalid-0

    Progo35, You say:

    “the idea behind being pro life is to prevent abortion once a fetus is conceived.”

    I appreciate the honesty in that acknowledgment. Still, it seems to me–well, actually, I know this to be true from both data and experience–that if you really want to prevent abortions, you will be successful by making birth control and education accessible. You will not reduce abortions by trying to persuade or prevent pregnant women from having abortions.

    A commenter on this post on my own website said it very well today, as follows:

    “As a long time adoption reformer I can tell you that those of us interested in improving adoption practices see no connection whatsoever between adoption and abortion, and find the bringing together of these two topics offensive, objectionable and wrong-minded…

    What is most disturbing about all of these adoption.abortion dichotomy discussions is the devil and deep blue sea aspect for expectant mothers and the omission of the most moral and most loving, most difficult choice of all: parenting.

    The best way to eliminate abortion is through access to birth control and sex education. This has been proven over and over in studies comparing abstinence only programs with more comprehensive sex ed – both within the US and in Europe where the levels of teen pregnancies are considerably lower.

    Let’s please remove the myopic blinders and open up real discussion. There are more than two option, folks! And lets think about the consequences of these comparisons to the most vulnerable people of all – those who have to live with one of these titles defining their lives and do not need to be compared with an abortion!”

  • invalid-0

    “That’s why preventing unintended pregnancies is the widest swath of common ground.” I’m pro-life and I agree with you 100%. Thanks for the article.

  • invalid-0

    You object to women being “coerced” into carrying their child to term. Yet the first question asked of a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy is “What are you going to do about it?” This already places pressure on a woman. Add to that if you are older, or if your child is suspected of having a disability and the coercion is blatant. I have friends who had to fight the medical profession throughout their entire pregnancies, because the doctors and nurses thought they knew best. Read “Defiant Birth” by Melinda Tankard-Reist if you want more stories along these lines. The people who promote abortion claim to be pro-choice, but only when they agree with that choice.

  • invalid-0

    If a woman cares enough about her unborn child to carry him or her to term than it is very unlikely that she is going to be anxious to place him or her for adoption without a great deal of coercion. This is why adoption agencies are always so anxious to “match” women considering adoption with people hoping to adopt. This places enormous pressure on her to “not disappoint” these “waiting parents”, especially if they are present in the delivery room, another thing agencies frequently encourage. The only way to offer adoption without turning it into coercion is to allow at least a few weeks after delivery for the mother to decide what she wants to do. Ideally during this time the child could be placed either with the natural mom or with a foster parent who is also an R.N. Let the agency pay for that. They’re going to make a ton of money on the adoptions that do go through. Granted a lot of women will decide against adoption but at least the ones who do will have had an honest opportunity to consider their future and the babies future without getting pressured about Mr. and Mrs. Smith and their empty nursery. See http://www.exiledmothers.com for more info on this.

  • invalid-0

    Thanks for your words, Gloria!
    I’d like to add that the abortion is safer than delivery at term: the risk of death associated with abortion in the USA is one-tenth as large as the risk associated with childbirth, according to the Guttmacher Institute (http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/safety.html).
    As a rabbi, I believe that the decision about a pregnancy should be left to a private conversation between a woman and her doctor and her God, and whoever else she wants to bring into the consideration. No legislator or cleric should force a woman to carry to term or face any added medical risk when a pregnancy is unplanned. And many clergy uphold the importance of allowing the woman to come to her own conclusion.

  • jodi-jacobson

    First let me say that I have no desire to either encourage or discourage any one from giving their child up for adoption. Several of my friends adopted children, one from a family that already had 3 children, did not believe in using birth control and could not afford to keep their son. They made what I can only believe was a difficult decision to give their son up for adoption in the interest of ensuring him a better life than they felt they could.

     

    I personally could never carry a child for 9 months and give it up for adoption. But that is me; it is neither pertinent to nor a judgment on anyone else. I can only imagine that giving a child up for adoption is difficult and also in many ways a very selfless act.  That does not mean it does not have life-long emotional costs, at least for some.

     

    But I wanted to address your assertion about "pressure."  There are huge pressures on pregnant women in our society.  Even women with wanted pregnancies who find themselves getting totally unsolicited totally unwelcome advise from strangers on what they should do and how they should act.

     

    But a pregnant woman unsure about what to do about her pregnancy does not get pressured by the pro-choice community to do one thing or another.  She does not even engage that conversation unless she has already decided she does not want to carry a pregnancy to term or wants information on adoption.  She herself goes to a clinic to seek advice–of her own volition– and the norm is to provide undirected advice on options.  What we are trying to avoid here is exactly the situation you describe above: pressure on a woman to do one or another thing.

     

    The majority of unintended pregnancies and abortions are among women who already have children.  I would guess that these women already know the costs associated with parenting and their ability given their family constraints to raise another child.  We need to avoid legislating women’s choices in such a way that in fact women are pressured to do one thing or another, rather than assuming or "incentivizing" one choice over another.

     

    As to fighing the medical community, I can tell you that many of us experience difficulty with medical professionals when those professionals are more "medical" than they are focused on the human being involved.  In my case, I had to be a 24-7 advocate for my father in getting necessary medical care during a long illness, and in pushing back on unnecessary medical care, including surgeries that would have made no difference to his quality of life.  It is a broader problem than exists with women in pregnancy.

     

    Suffice it to say that as a society we are quite dysfunctional around sex and pregnancy.

     

    Best wishes, Jodi

    • invalid-0

      Giving up a child for adoption is a horrible experience that never stops hurting. Read Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away, about mothers who were coerced and manipulated into adoption pre-Roe. Then do some research: today’s “kinder, gentler” so-called open adoptions slam shut in the face of mothers just about 70% of the time, because adopters know they are not legally obligated to maintain contact. What a great choice for a mother: get kicked to the curb at birth, like in the old days, or wait to get kicked to the curb without warning at some later date.
      Adoption, taking children to be given, or actually sold, to strangers, can’t be reformed. Those who care about women’s reproductive freedom should work to give pregnant women who want to carry to term the help they need to parent their children.
      A mother won’t be “too young” forever. She does not have to stay “too uneducated” or “too poor” forever. Like suicide, adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

  • http://www.AdvocatePublications.com invalid-0

    Trying again – hoping you are honest enough to post it this time.

    Pitting adoption and abortion against one another or even in the same sentence is wrong for several reasons.

    Adoption cannot – or at least should not – be considered until there is a fully independent human being living to consider placing for adoption.

    Adoption/abortion dichotomies such as this rely on a totally false and unsubstantiated assumption that women who lose children to adoption — voluntarily or involuntarily – are more apt to consider abortion than those who don’t. This is offensive to mothers who have made what many pro-lifers like to call a “loving sacrifice.”

    It is also thoughtlessly offensive and hurtful to adoptees of all ages, who are made to feel “grateful” that they weren’t adopted and need not be any more than any other person. As the trailer for the movie “My Sister’s Keeper” states: MOST babies are accidents.

    Your argument omits the two most important aspects of this debate:

    First, increased sex education and access to birth control to reduce teen pregnancies which is done quite successfully in western Europe.

    Secondly, the most loving, most caring, most difficult option of all: mothering. A moral society supports this decsion over all others and provide resources to encourage family preservation as the option of choice.

    Expectant mothers in temporary crisis or struggling financially need support. What they do NOT need is to be pulled between political, religious camps or exploited and coerced by a multi-billion dollar adoption industry that depends financially on family separations and the redistribution of children. This mega industry employs marketing agents and lobbyists to exploit and coerce mothers and commodify their babies to meet a demand…often successfully gaining well-meaning pro-life supporters … while more than a hundred thousand children in foster care COULD be adopted!

    Shame, shame on all of you!

  • invalid-0

    The only way to offer adoption without turning it into coercion is to allow at least a few weeks after delivery for the mother to decide what she wants to do.

    This is some blunt talk. I agree, and though I’m not sure the policy will necessarily forestall all coercion, it gives the birth mother needed time postpartum to consider her own interests.

  • jodi-jacobson

    I was a little confused by your note as you referenced "trying again" and whether we were honest enough to post it.

    As you may be able to tell from perusing the site, we almost never censor comments and only those that advocate violence directed at individuals, are spam or otherwise don’t apply.

    I had never seen and certainly did not delete your post and apologize if you had a problem getting it up here.  Thank you for persevering.

    Please contact me directly if you are interested in writing further about this issue.
    Jodi Jacobson, jodi@rhrealitycheck.org

  • progo35

    Mirah-saying the abortion helps children in foster care get adopted is like trying to prevent an apple crop blight by squeezing oranges. It’s a ridiculous conclusion that people use to justify their position. Abortion does not help children in foster care to be adopted because the reason that such children aren’t adopted is because of the circumstances or prejudices of the potential adopting parents, not because infants are born. Most people who avoid the foster care system when adopting do so because they feel unable to handle the challenges involved in raising an older child from the foster care system. This may not be very selfless of them, but it isn’t any different (in terms of selfishness) then women who have abortions on wanted pregnancies because they don’t want a handicapped child, so I can’t see how you can judge them for that and maintain logical support for the position that women who terminate based on fetal handicap "shouldn’t be judged."

    Also, women do suffer psychological after effects from abortion, so to cite the after effects of adoption as an argument for abortion ignores the grief that either choice can cause. As for prevention, as I’ve said, everyone can agree on the need to reduce unplanned pregnancies, but it is wrong for pro choicers to denigrate adoption as a "baby trade" if they really want common ground on this issue. Being pro life means preventing aboriton once a child is concieved. If no unplanned children were concieved, than there would be no need for the pro life movement, anymore than there would be, (according to the pro choice viewpoint) a need for abortion.

     

    Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    • http://www.AdvcatePublications.com invalid-0

      “abortion helps children in foster care”

      I never said any such thing!! Never would; never thought or heard anything so bizarre in my life. Don’t know how you misinterpreted what I wrote to say such preposterous thing!

      I suggest you re-read my comment.

  • crowepps

    "It doesn’t help the issue of what happens once a fetus is conceived"

     

    Once the fetus is conceived, and is unwanted, then the abortion choice comes down to legal or illegal.  Banning the solution legally does not actually prevent any abortions, it just drives them into back alleys, or in this modern area, into the purview of illegal drug distributors, with the resulting deaths, mutilations and health problems.

     

    I had always understand that the problem from the ‘Pro-Life’ perspective was that life is precious.  If life is precious, it makes sense to me that a large part of the solution is education and birth control to avoid the root problem of unwanted pregnancy that leads to the demand for abortion.

     

    There isn’t anything ‘Pro-Life’ about killing the women instead.

  • amanda-marcotte

    She just correctly explains that attitudes like yours—where women are assumed to be too stupid or morally bankrupt to be allowed a completely free choice—are sexist and mean-spirited.  Oh sure, you assume women who get abortions are "bad" women who don’t deserve a free choice because they didn’t use contraception.  (Only true about half the time.)  But of course, that assumption that a mistake means someone forsakes their right to be treated with dignity is just another form of sexism.  Have you never made a mistake?

  • amanda-marcotte

    Women can and should be expected, being human beings, to make and own their choices.  Asking someone to think about their choice is only "coercion" if you think women are breakable and childish. 

     

    The question is whether or not people are trying to lure women into making choices that aren’t right for them.  That pro-choicer disapprove of this isn’t to say that we think women are stupid or that they can’t resist that  pressure.  (If Steve gave me $1,000 to have a baby, I’d just laugh at the offer and move on.)  It’s just that we ask people to consider the moral implications of trying to pressure like that.

  • amanda-marcotte

    But I wouldn’t say that it’s impossible for women to go through that process without being traumatized by it.  I’ve had women tell me straight up that they gave a baby away and didn’t feel that ache or misery at all.  They just didn’t develop maternal feelings. 

     

    Of course, the truth is that a lot of women never recover from giving a baby up, and we don’t do women a service by hiding this reality.

  • crowepps

    "The people who promote abortion claim to be pro-choice, but only when they agree with that choice."

     

    Who are these people?  I don’t know anyone at all who ‘promotes abortion’.  Informing a patient about serious health risks they are taking by continuing a pregnancy is not ‘promoting abortion'; it is (a) trying to save the patient’s life or (b) making sure you can defend against the malpractice suit.

  • crowepps

    A lot of those babies never recover either and hiding THAT reality doesn’t help.  In addition, some thought ought to be given to the problem of ‘failed’ adoptions where the adoptive parents decide it was a bad idea and hand the child back to the State – at least 2% of adoptions are ‘disrupted’ and there are figures showing that with former foster children with problems the rate may be as high as 15%.

     

    While the ideal that the mother will be relinguishing her child to a ‘better place’ is wonderful, it isn’t reality.  Giving up those first precious years with the child and then having the child dumped back on her doorstep with massive problems because the adoptive parents tried it and didn’t like it has got to be a LOT more painful for everybody.  Better screening, all the way around, would help there.

  • http://momstinfoilhat.wordpress.com invalid-0

    Excuse me, everyone you know is happy to do whatever is necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancy?

    Why are members of the presidents so called common ground advisers opposed to birth control or any promotion of contraception? Why has the United States government funded abstinence only education?

    Pro life groups have organized yearly “The Pill Kills” events. The one this year was right after Tiller’s assassination. I would have rather seen a “Pro lifers Kill” demonstration, frankly. It would have been in better taste.

    Crisis pregnancy centers not only give out false information on abortion, they also give out false information on birth control, too, and actively discourage its use. Oh, right, I remember, our government spent millions of dollars funding CPCs, also.

    If you want to reduce abortion after implantation (which is the beginning of a pregnancy, not conception) then fight for comprehensive health care, access to emergency contraception, better maternity leave, and government subsidized day care. Countries with these (and better contraception access and education) have much, much lower rates of abortion than we do. Oh, wait, they have lower rates of adoption too. How strange.

    So called “pro life” groups support policies that increase abortion. Having you deny this, with attitude, is entertainingly idiotic.

  • http://momstinfoilhat.wordpress.com invalid-0

    Has anyone looked into fixing the formatting problems on the site? I love the site, but the comments have had formatting problems for ages. Thanks!

  • http://momstinfoilhat.wordpress.com invalid-0

    First of all, being honest about adoption and not promoting it as an alternative to abortion may indeed increase adoption of older children. Anti-choice groups have such an obsession on the unborn embryo it distorts the issue and increases bias in potential adoptive parents. I would be willing to bet there is more money pumped into trying to get people to adopt “snowflake babies” (frozen embryos) than children in the system.

    Many of these children do not have the types of disabilities that would lead a woman to terminate. Those disabilities are often incompatible with life. Being born non white,for example, is not a common reason to terminate. But, it is a common bias of adoptive parents. Are you working on that? Or are already born non-white babies not as sacred and important to you?

    If groups who invest so much money trying to coerce women with unplanned pregnancies to stay pregnant instead turned their immense efforts and money to children already in the system, then everyone would be better off.

  • progo35

    "First of all, being honest about adoption and not promoting it as an
    alternative to abortion may indeed increase adoption of older children."

    The key word here is ‘may.’ That indicates that you have no idea whether or not abortion increases the adoption of older children, but you like the idea. Show me some stats that actually show an increase in the adoption of older children from foster care since Roe v. Wade, and then we’ll talk.

     Your delightful insinuation that I might not care about black babies as much as white babies is so typical of people who want to shut down genuine debate by baselessly branding their opponents a racists. For that matter, you don’t even know what ethnicity I am. I do know that abortion sure isn’t the solution to those black babies and children not being adopted, as to take that position is to argue that those children would be better off not being born. 

    Your characterization of pro lifers and older children in the foster care system is also disingenuous. For all your insinuation that pro lifers don’t care about those children, I’ve yet to see a massive influx of pro choice people adopting them. Like I’ve said, adopting a child from the foster care system is hard work and many people (from both sides of the abortion debate) who are adopting also want to experience the joy of raising a child from birth until adulthood, which they can’t experience in adopting a child who is twelve years old. I guess some pro choice people who rail on pro lifers for not adopting out of the foster care system feel that since they aren’t asking women to stay pregnant, they don’t have to back up their concern for children by adopting such children themselves. The fact is that all people have rights, including the babies who are born out of wedlock and given homes by adoptive parents. Aborting such babies does not help anyone except maybe the woman/family involved. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    all of the absurd statements here except to underscore that you assume that all or the vast majority of the "older" children in foster care came in as pre-teens.
    Sorry…but just not the case. Many spend years on end in foster care and grow from small children to .

     

    And yes, there is racial and other forms of discrimination in adoption practices in this country.

     

    But to me, this statement itself was the most telling:

    Like I’ve said, adopting a child from the foster care system is hard
    work and many people (from both sides of the abortion debate) who are
    adopting also want to experience the joy of raising a child from birth
    until adulthood, which they can’t experience in adopting a child who is
    twelve years old.

    So….you want women to bring unintended, unwanted pregnancies to term because they should endure the "hard work" of raising a child they feel they can not support or care for, but you defend the abandonment to foster care of untold numbers of children because taking them is "hard work," and many want to experience the "joy of raising a child from birth to adulthood."

    So the joy of these couples clearly outweighs the worth of these children?

    I think you just undermined your own spurious arguments against a woman’s right to choose whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term.

     

    • progo35

      ‘So….you want women to bring unintended, unwanted pregnancies to term
      because they should endure the "hard work" of raising a child they feel
      they can not support or care for, but you defend the abandonment to
      foster care of untold numbers of children because taking them is "hard
      work," and many want to experience the "joy of raising a child from
      birth to adulthood."

      For an editor of a successful blog, Jodi, I’m really disapointed in you. Clearly, I said nothing about women who bring pregnancies to term having to raise the child they bring to term. They still have the option to place the child for adoption, which can be closed, open, or semi open, or to place the child with a family member. So, no, sorry, not saying that women should be forced to raise children they don’t feel capable of caring for. 

      I am simply not making judgements about people who adopt infants rather than older children, in the same way that you refuse to judge women who abort because their fetus has a disability and they don’t want to have to do the hard work that raising such a child entails. If you  expect us to "stop judging" women who do this, than you had better "stop judging" us for every family that chooses to adopt an infant rather than a child from the foster care system.

      Besides, even if every pro life person in America adopted a child from the foster care system, that still wouldn’t be good enough for you, because then you would say that we were just using such children to prove a point, because you disagree with us on a fundamental level, and nothing we do, short of taking a pro choice position on abortion, will ever make you happy.

       

      "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    • progo35

      "I won’t begin to address all of the absurd statements here except to underscore that you assume
      that all or the vast majority of the "older" children in foster care
      came in as pre-teens.
      Sorry…but just not the case. Many spend years on end in foster care
      and grow from small children too."

      Hmmm…asking for an actual statistic to back of the position that abortion helps promote the adoption of children in foster care and saying that I am NOT A RACIST is absurd? Wow. Secondly, I made no such assumption about children in foster care, I simply stated that abortion does not help those children be adopted. Getting to PR’s statement, when I wrote, "it doesn’t help anyone, except maybe the woman involved," I was responding to the erroneous contention that abortion helps children in foster care, not "damning" women for thinking of themselves first. In your case, Jodi, I think that you want to portray the arguments I posited as absurd because you don’t feel capable of answering them cohesively or with actual data. If you were to present some, perhaps then a productive discussion could take place. But, without that, I just have to take someone’s word for it in terms of abortion’s impact on children in foster care, and I’m not willing to do that.

       

      "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • wendy-banks

    Personally, I feel that bringing a severly disabled child into the world is highest order child-abuse myself. How could any sane person say that is a good thing?! (Besides the raving fundie loons that force themselves between us and our rights as Americans?) Better that the child-sprit goes on to a healthier body, and a better life.
    I am cronically ill due to my genetics, and frankly, I’d like to pass on this body *shrugs*. Better luck next life.
    Goddess bless

  • invalid-0

    It’s got nothing to do with children. It’s about forcing women who have sex without forced-birther approval to dispense newborns for those whom the anti-choice movement thinks “deserves” children, and punishing those who it thinks doesn’t, either by denying them reproductive rights or guilt-tripping. All the faux-concern, hand-waving and rationalizing is just apologetics for the unpalatable fact that being anti-abortion means you expect some other women to go through a pregnancy and childbirth they don’t want, in order to coddle your beliefs.

    This sums up that mentality exactly:

    Aborting such babies does not help anyone except maybe the woman/family involved. –Progo35

    Damn those women for thinking of themselves and their immediate families before they bring a child into their world. How dare they not put the “need” of infertile strangers to have an adoptable newborn they can pass off as their own. How dare they think of themselves when its their body in the firing line. Don’t those selfish girls realise that there are people out there who deserve the fruits of their reproductive slavery? /snark

    God, it makes me sick. This is why I don’t believe in common ground. We will always need safe, legal, accessible abortion. No matter how much social support there is, there will be those who simply don’t want to be pregnant, and they shouldn’t be forced to remain pregnant. Women do not owe fetuses a place to gestate, no matter how it got there. Nobody else is owed life, no other person is ever given that sort of protection, even if they’d die without a transplant they aren’t allowed to demand it from anyone just because they are there. You can’t demand an organ, but can demand that women owe you/society a child? Women are not secondary to fetuses, no matter whether someone else thinks their reason for aborting is superficial.

  • invalid-0

    That should read “all to coddle *anti-choice* beliefs”. From thereon it’s generic “you” and “your”. I know Jodi is pro-choice.

  • http://www.GloriaFeldt.com invalid-0

    Thanks for this comment,both because it gets to important points about who is most central to this debate and because as a member of the clergy, your words are often listened to more than others.

    I recall being told by a doctor once that a man never dies from abortion even if he has a broken heart from losing a woman dear to him.

    It amazes me that even today when women are present in every profession and walk of life, they are still viewed a vessels rather than actors in this debate by many people.

  • snowflake

    You state, "Personally, I feel that bringing a severely disabled child into the world is highest order child-abuse myself. How could any sane person say that is a good thing?!…I am chronically ill due to my genetics, and frankly, I’d like to pass on this body *shrugs*. Better luck next life."

     

    FYI… Your comment is offensive to people with disabilities (and their parents) who think they live good and full lives. Do you care? And your comment about wanting rather to pass on your body is belied by the fact that you have decided to go on living and enjoying this life, as you are capable, vs. killing yourself, which is a good thing.

     

    Perhaps there are many things you like about life? :) God Bless.

  • snowflake

    In the hypotheical case you state, the child goes into foster care for re-adoption to another couple.

  • crowepps

    Snowflake, I understand that you advocate for people with disabilities, but you might want to consider just how offensive YOU just were to someone with disabilities.  She is entitled to state her opinion, unless you believe she is prejudiced against herself?

     

    Also, you might want to consider whether "killing yourself, which is a good thing" is exactly the response you want to send to someone who says they’re in pain and tired of life.  There are some of us who are hanging on by our fingernails.

  • crowepps

    The baby may not go back to the natural mother’s doorstep, but there sure are a lot of them who show up when they’re 18.

     

    And readoption only happens if there is another couple available – which is why are there hundreds of thousands of older, disabled or troubled children stuck in the foster care system.

  • progo35

    Crowepps-that’s an interesting mis-characterization of what Snowflake said, which was:  "And your comment about wanting rather to pass on your
    body is belied by the fact that you have decided to go on living and
    enjoying this life, as you are capable, vs. killing yourself, which is
    a good thing.

    Snowflake said that it WAS GOOD THAT SHE HADN"T KILLED HERSELF, not that killing herself would be good. Read a little more carefully next time.  

     

    Perhaps there are many things you like about life? :) God Bless.

     

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • snowflake

    not what I meant.  I said, "…you have decided to go on living and enjoy life, as you are capable, vs. killing yourself, which is a good thing."  The ‘thing" in the sentence is meant to be "your decision to go on living."  But thanks for helping me make that perfectly clear.

     

    My point is she was saying that she would opt for abortion for a fetus with disabilities, and yet almost all people with disabilities make the same decision that she has made–by choosing to continue live.

    There is so much more to life, like family, friends, hobbies, work, etc. that makes living interesting and "worth it" even if one or more body parts isn’t functioning perfectly.

  • progo35

    Well, that’s an interesting dilemmna, crowepps, for an adopted person. Are we supposed to assume that our birth mothers don’t want anything to do with us and therefore not seek them out? Or, should we be concerned that they pine over having given us up and seek them out to assure them that we are all right? But, frankly, that’s not relevant to the scenario you painted: ie, an adoption not working out, thus leading to the child’s "return" and his or her subsequent dumping on the birthmother’s doorstep, at which point he or she will be raised by the birthmother. It just doesn’t happen; and seeking out one’s biological family certainly doesn’t indicate that the adoption "didn’t work out," as you say. Moreover, it’s my opinion that the foster care system is better than being dead/not existing. The people I know in my life are happy to be alive and do not wish that they had been aborted, even if their lives were difficult. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    • crowepps

      "Well, that’s an interesting dilemmna, crowepps, for an adopted person."

       

      It’s a pretty interesting dilemmna for the family of the birth mother as well.

      You’re an aunt, long years pass where you’re not an aunt, now suddenly you’re an aunt again.

      Are you supposed to ‘bond’ with a teenager you’ve never set eyes on?  Is that intrusive?  Are you supposed to let them set the pace?  Is that too cold and unwelcoming?

      What happens if you do bond and he/she was just auditioning the family to see whether she/he wanted to maintain a connection?

       

      It’s nice that SO FAR AS YOU KNOW all your friends are happy to be alive.  Unfortunately, not all people feel the same way.  I live in Alaska, and the suicide rate here is extremely high, especially among young people.

  • progo35

     Ooh, a whole two percent! That means that only 98 percent of adoptions aren’t interrupted! Oh, woe is me!  15 percent for children having been in the foster care system, which you acknowledge is an unconfirmed number, means that 85 percent of adoptions go uninterrupted! Oh, how horrible.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    That’s true, just as it is true that some of them commit suicide, and that the rate of suicide among the disabled is higher than that of the so-called ‘normal’ people.  This has less to do with the disability than it does with the fact that society marginalizes the disabled.

     

    Discussion of this ought to keep in mind, however, that there are varying degrees of disability lumped together in this statistic.  There is a vast difference between an anencephalic fetus or fetus with renal agenesis which is unlikely to survive delivery or would live only minutes afterwards and a fetus that has a short harelip where corrective surgery is available or a fetus that may have only mild retardation.

  • crowepps

    I would have to dig back through the posts to check but you know what?  I honestly cannot remember ever saying anything about the child’s "return" to the birth mother.  It’s my understanding that in a "disrupted" adoption the child is returned to the AGENCY.

     

    My point was that it’s not only the biological parents and the adoptive parents involved in the adoption, and perhaps some of the focus ought to be on the child.  A failure by the agency to competently screen ANY of the adults involved makes it more likely that the CHILD will be hurt.

     

    And for cripe’s sake, I don’t think I said ANYWHERE that adopted children wish they had been aborted.  I said that the girls who are making their individual decisions about what to do are well aware of the flaws in the adoption system and that some of them chose abortion BECAUSE of those flaws.  Fixing the adoption system to exclude those with base motives who abuse their adoptive childern would make it more likely that pregnant girls would be receptive to adoption.

     

    The foster care system being better than being dead depends entirely  on the mental health/quality of the foster parent, doesn’t it?  There are certainly many foster children who run away and as I understand it the likelihood is that children in foster care are four times more likely to attempt suicide.

  • progo35

     "Giving up those first precious years with the child and then having the
    child dumped back on her doorstep with massive problems because the
    adoptive parents tried it and didn’t like it has got to be a LOT more
    painful for everybody.  Better screening, all the way around, would
    help there." That’s what you said, crowepps.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    • crowepps

      Here’s a hypothetical for you: the mother gives up her child for OPEN adoption.  After a few years the adoptive parents, for whatever reason, death of one partner, divorce, serious illness, discovery the child has a disability, decide to disrupt the adoption and remove themselves from the child’s life.  In an open adoption the birth mother would be in contact and would be aware of this.  Wouldn’t this be a situation where she would have to make the decision about placing the child all over again?  Wouldn’t this in addition be a situation where the child themself would be aware of the decision making process of all those adults who are supposed to be his or her family?

       

      I’m not saying adoption is a bad thing.  I’m saying it isn’t a problem free easy fix.  Asserting that abortion isn’t necessary because the child will be adopted is reasonable, but asserting that the adoption SYSTEM works just fine the way it’s structured now is NOT reasonable.  First, there is no guarantee the child will be adopted.  There is plenty of evidence problems exist with the present system.  This article spends a lot of time talking about how expensive adoption is – why is that?  If adoption solves a societal problem, why are the adoptive parents charged money at all?

       

      Very few of the discussions I’ve seen on this issue seem to recognize that the child as an independent figure in the equation whose needs should be recognized.  Most seem to focus on what the adoptive parents want/need, what the birth mother wants/needs, what society wants/needs, and it seems to be assumed that the children can be placed wherever the adults find it convenient and the children will still thrive because homes and families are interchangeable.

  • wendy-banks

    I AM DISABLED YOU TWIT! And, frankly with the quality of life I have, and the quality of life some very disabled have I have met through accident, birth defects, illness THEY THEMSELVES wish they were not born or were allowed to die. I am as entitled to my opinion as you are, so get off your damned high horse! I am glad you find your life worthwile– bully for you. What I find offensive is people to try to take away the rights and freedom of others, and the medical system in this country that prevents people from getting the (esp. the poor) from getting the medical help they need to make their life bearible and ‘worthwile’.

    And why do I go on? I have animals to care for, a kid with ADHD, and a very ill elderly father to care for– I am needed. When I said pass on this body, I meant I wish I was born into a healthy body instead of this ill one. And as for passing my genes on– I chose the best ‘sire’ I could to overcome that and hoped for the best.

    And yes, I damnit, I do care about people and animals. When I could work, I was in the medical profession. And now I take in sick birds and donate to groups ranging from gay rights, animal rights, non-xian rights, American to woman’s rights.

    And if I’m not good enough for you, BITE ME, you pompous git!

  • http://www.AdvocatePublications.com invalid-0

    My only mention of foster care in my comment was saying that more than a hundred thousnad children in this country – and thousands more worldwide who might benefit from a loving family – are ignored by the adoption industry which is in the business of meeting a demand for infants, not helping these children.

    There is ZERO connection between abortion and any of this! THAT was my entire point….except this:

    If pro-lifers are really concerned about children, why not promote more adoption form foster care? Or are already born children no longer of concern? THIS is what adoption is supposed to be about – finding homes for children who are truly orphaned or whose parents cannot care for them, given resources they need to do so.

    Women experiencing an unintended pregnancy and weighing their choices, considering adoption — which is usually ot until well after the first trimester when abortion might be an option…are targets for the multi-billion dollar adoption industry. And THAT is shameful,as is making people they would have been aborted if not adopted!

  • progo35

    I don’t think that scenario would ever happen for two reasons. First of all, even if an adoption is open, the adoptive parents have parental rights, and the biological parents do not. So, if, God forbid, adoptive parents were so cruel as to turn their child over to the state after adopting them, the biological mother would not be responsible for placing the child for adoption again, as this would be handled by the state. Secondly, the only time that she would gain parental responsibility for such a child would be if, in light of the failed adoption, she fought for and regained custody of him or her. So, there is no scenario in which a child could be dumped back on the birthmother’s doorstep without her consent. Of course, the birthmother may feel emotional anguish and question her decision to choose those particular parents, but she would not have the actual responsibilities involved in the scenario you present.   

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • crowepps

    "Manila (AsiaNews) – Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal B. Rosales and the Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines have refused to support a government bill that seeks to allow parents of unwanted babies to surrender their children up to two months of age to any health facilities without fear of arrest and prosecution. The bill, filed by the Congressman, Eduardo Zialcita, aims to stop abortion and the abandonment of children.

    Cardinal Rosales said that the bill goes against the teachings of the Church on parental responsibility. “In the teachings of the Church, it has to be the parents who should take care of their children because the parents are closest to the child. Not only giving them support or care and food but also the emotional needs of the child like love and caresses. All these start at the home,” he said.

    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=11306

     

    Ran across this fascinating theological position.  Apparently some ProLife people ARE saying "women should be forced to raise children they don’t feel capable of caring for."

  • crowepps

    http://www.adoptuskids.org/

    http://photolisting.adoption.com/

    There are half a million kids in foster care. About 25% of them are available for adoption now, 126,000.