In the adoption world those of us who are both pro adoption and pro life (and yes - there are those who are only one or the other) often get told to stop advocating adoption as an alternative to abortion. The argument goes that adoption is only an alternative to parenting, not abortion. Abortion is an entirely separate issue and is an alternative to being pregnant, not an alternative to parenting.
It is an argument worth exploring. Let me be clear, I disagree with the eventual conclusion, but I understand the argument. I understand because I’ve been pregnant. Pregnancy is hard. It is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. It is inconvenient. Your life and lifestyle have to change when you are pregnant. You might say I stayed pregnant because the child was wanted - I wanted to parent. If you are not ready to be pregnant or do not want to deal with the difficulty of pregnancy, and either disagree with or outright ignore the fact that it is no longer just about your body and your experience, that there is another body, another life experience, another human that is now inextricably tied to you, abortion can start to make sense, and even look attractive. The idea that abortion is an alternative to pregnancy starts to take shape, particularly if you can’t or don’t want to raise the child. Oh wait, that might make abortion an alternative to parenting. But I digress.
Here’s the thing, when you pass a law guaranteeing abortion up to birth, and celebrate it for being long overdue and some great expansion of “women’s healthcare” your argument that abortion is never an alternative to adoption immediately becomes invalid.
Because if you terminate in the third trimester, you cannot say you are doing this to avoid pregnancy. You have nearly completed a pregnancy. You have been through most of the difficulties that pregnancy generates, and survived. In the third trimester, the odds of a child being born and surviving increase astronomically. In the third trimester the reality of parenting and the reality that there is a tiny, squirming human in there becomes impossible to deny. It takes an intricate dance of cognitive dissonance and some good, old-fashioned denial to argue otherwise. You are aborting to avoid parenting. You are making a decision that you do not want to be responsible for raising this child - a parenting choice. Adoption is also a parenting choice. Adoption means that you do not have to take the responsibility for raising this child. If you are aborting in the third trimester, it is no longer an alternative to being pregnant.
What you may not realize, is it is also no longer an alternative to birth.
An abortion procedure in the third trimester is called a “partial birth abortion” for a reason. Deciding on abortion and walking into a clinic does not magically make the child disappear. The staff does not toss a little fairy dust into the air and you walk out with a flat tummy and a new lease on life. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to go through pain and push this child into the world. It doesn’t make it a clean break for your body or your psyche. It is very, very messy. You still deliver, you just deliver a dead child. Hopefully. What happens when babies survive an abortion procedure is a whole separate conversation.
New York is only the latest in a long line of several states to pass a law guaranteeing abortion up to the point of birth. This is not new. Other states restrict abortions after a certain period of time, say 12 weeks or 20 weeks. This is the states clarifying Roe v. Wade, a federal ruling, and this is how our government works.
So now, let me make an appeal. If you are seriously considering having a third trimester abortion, take a beat, and consider adoption instead. If you are friends with a woman considering a third trimester abortion, suggest and support an adoption decision. It is the same effect, they are both hard decisions to make and follow through. It is the same effect, you do not have to be a parent. It is the same effect that you have to go through labor and delivery. It is a different effect in that the baby has a life and a chance to make the world a little better.
To learn more about adoption as an option, contact one of our compassionate counselors and take a look at a few of our hopeful, waiting adoptive families.