Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Abortion, Adoption, Supply and Demand

From the Atlantic, Megan McCardle joins a discussion started by Ross Douthat and Andrew Sullivan (WARNING: awful photo of a real "plasticized" fetus at start of article) about whether the anti-adoption movement needs to do more to facilitate adoption, concluding:
I find it far-fetched that women are having abortions because no one is willing to help them give the baby up for adoption--there are lots of people and agencies that will not only help them, but pay a substantial portion of their expenses until they deliver. They're having abortions because pregnancy is physically uncomfortable, and there's still a social stigma on women who carry a baby to term in order to give it away.
What all the pieces gloss over is whether there really is a link between abortion and the low "supply" of adoptable infants.  It's much more complicated than facile assumptions will admit.  And even more difficult to figure -- if abortion does have an effect, how much of an effect does it have?

While there were initial declines of adoption placement when abortion first became legal, the continuing decline is linked to other things. With only one to three percent of unwed mothers placing children for adoption -- meaning that 97-99% parent their children -- it's really the declining stigma of single motherhood that's causing the low "supply" of adoptable infants today.  Also influencing declining rates of adoption placement is increased contraceptive use and declining pregnancy rates. Part of the complicated picture in linking abortion rates and adoption rates is that adoption rates have remained constant, while abortion rates have declined in the U.S. (All these stats can be found here).

5 comments:

Amanda said...

Denying a woman an abortion for a pregnancy she does not want does not mean that when she gives she will choose adoption. That's where people often fail to see that there's no connection between abortion and adoption--unless someone forces one. An unintended pregnancy does not mean it will be an unwanted child. To keep women pre- roe v. wade from raising the babies they birthed, they were often forced and manipulated into adoption. Public policies and social pressure alike were completely stacked against them.

The author quoted here was basically reminiscing about this era, as though the unprecedented numbers of child surrender were a good thing, in a pre-post of an article I read yesterday (not sure if it is the same one or not). I was shocked.

I am also shocked as individuals in the abortion/adoption/parenting debates continue to speak about women as though we're a vapid, mindless group of people. Why women choose abortion, parenting, or adoption is up to the woman. Women and inteligent and capable of making their own good choices; the fact that he thinks he can pinpoint and belittle why women make the choices that they do for their lives and health care is just completely ridiculous.

Amanda said...

when she gives *birth. Oops, sorry about that.

Sandy said...

I am just so tired of the adoption or abortion debate and that it is either or.

Illegal abortions happened far more often than anyone wishes to believe before Roe v Wade.

About the same time as Roe v Wade - Eisenstadt v Baird 1972 finally made it legal for all unmarried women in all states to be prescribed the Pill. Stop and think about that rammification on birth rates to unmarried women...

Then add in that single parenting also started happening more in the 1970's, not widely accepted but it happened more than before and more and people also started living together openly as well.

But really bothers me the most in any of these conversations / articles / debates...is that everyone believes it is a win-win-win solution and oh so easy for the mother to just surrender her child for adoption and walk away and assumes there is no loss or impact. And while they assume that - they also believe that adoption is a win-win-win for the adoptee and life will be grand always with no what ifs, regrets, loss and other rammifications inherent in being adopted.

They brush it all away as if to say - nothing to see here - its all good - continue on...we stopped an abortion all is good...

It all just make me sad how people seem to think - adoption is the CURE for abortion, infertility, etc etc but never stop and think about the impact of adoption in and of itself...on mothers, fathers, family...

Sorry not making alot of sense but so many other factors added to the decline in infants available for adoption...

birthmothertalks said...

I agree just because someone makes the choice to to abort doesn't mean that they will choose adoption. I was a little ticked up about the adoption agencies helping women carrying the baby to term by offering financial assistance during the pregnancy. For me that is like saying that the only issue with an unplanned pregnancy is the costs of it and the uncomfortableness of carrying a baby to term. People still want to believe that placing or giving a child up for adoption is a simple thing. Women just get over it so they might as well give these babies away. It's just not that easy.
There is still a lot of just people who are not education about adoption and either say stupid things or would rather you didn't talk about adoption or the child you gave up. Adoption is setting women up for a lifetime of heartache and possible risk the chance of feeling that pressure of living a double life.

Robin said...

The pro-life movement definitely links abortion and adoption. They do not believe there is any need for abortion because any woman facing an unplanned pregnancy can simply give the baby up for adoption. Easy solution, works out the best for everyone. This certainly oversimplifies a complicated issue. And I agree with Amanda that the individual woman can think through her own particular circumstances and beliefs and come to her own decision. There does not need to be any more coercion in adoption.