Adoption vs. Abortion Myths Debunked in Letter to a Student

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In these United States, in this land that (thankfully) welcomes freedom of speech, there are some voices that are unwelcome. Those voices are the voices of adoptees and natural mothers.

If you think abortion is an emotional subject, try speaking honestly about adoption! An adoptee who speaks up with anything less than glowing terms about adoption or even mentions the mother who gave her up is frequently told she is being selfish and inconsiderate of the wonderful people who adopted her. And as for a natural mother? How dare she even make her presence known after what she did!    

But there is another reason that adoptees and natural mothers are being silenced. Many people are concerned that if the truth about adoption and it's long-term effects on the mother and child were known, the abortion rate would go up.

I got this email recently from a student:

"I just need information about adoption vs. abortion?? I know that adoption is better because you are saving an innocent babies life, but other than that I don’t know what to say..I have to do a 7-9 minute speech about adoption vs. abortion can you help me please!


Alisha Wright from Indiana, age 17"

My response:

Dear Alisha,

There are several problems with this argument about adoption vs. abortion. All Americans who care about children and want the best for them should think about this carefully.

There is never really a choice between adoption and abortion.

First, there is the option for a woman to abort a pregnancy rather than to give birth. Then later after her child is born, there is the option for her to terminate all parental rights.

The choice whether to surrender all parental rights should never be made until after her child is born and she has had the opportunity to care for her newborn son or daughter. That is not only because of the life-long problems known to result from separating them, but also because she cannot really comprehend what it will be like to be separated from her own child, what it will be like to be prevented from caring for the wrinkly alien-looking being she finds the most beautiful of all of it's kind in the world, until after that child is born.

Adoption is not better than abortion because by the time a mother's (and father's) child is born the choice is not adoption vs abortion but whether to keep and nurture her already born son or daughter or to abandon him/her legally so some other person may adopt.

Children are not well served by adoption, which provides them a divorce-like situation where they are torn between their natural families and the people adopting them. They are better off without this divorce-like situation if possible.

Pregnant mothers are being encouraged to "choose" adoption before their children are born and even to choose prospective adopters. It makes it very hard for a mother to disappoint the seemingly kind people later when she realizes she loves her child more than anything in the world and want to keep him/her. The people served by this are those hoping to adopt an infant and those who profit from adoption. The mother and child are not well served by it. Those children who truly need a home are not served by it, either.

According to statistics compiled on, the mothers whose children are adopted-out "often come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. These women come from intact families...." (Stolley, 1993). These mothers tend to be in college or college bound, responsible women who want to do what is truly best for their child. Unfortunately they are uninformed, misinformed and have no moral support from anyone due to the mistaken belief that they will soon get over the loss of their child and that their child will not know "the difference".

Babies are not saved from abortion when they are adopted because no child is ever adopted until after it is born. A pregnant woman might be best served by telling her that instead of abortion she will have the option to be supported in keeping her child (moral support, financial support from the child's father, parenting classes for both mother and father, young parents groups, and government assistance if necessary). If she does find after her child is born that she really does not want her child, she will still have the option to surrender all parental rights.

Despite the obvious that neither abortion nor adoption is ideal, unmarried mothers are frequently still unsupported (morally and otherwise) in keeping their children. Fathers are being told they can be replaced by any role-model, that their child will actually be better off without them, and so they are not encouraged to support and nurture their children.

A lack of support for unmarried mothers leads to a greater number of abortions. Statistics show that in the years following Roe v. Wade, as more mothers were supported in keeping their children rather than being forced to surrender them for adoption, the number of abortions dropped off.

Because of the misperception that they were unwanted and would have been aborted, some adoptees have been known to say they consider themselves a "nine-month abortion." This is worse than unfortunate: I cannot imagine what it would be like to feel so unwanted by the very person who more than anyone in the world was supposed to be there for you.

I hope that decent, caring people everywhere, whether they have adopted a child or not, whether they are pro-choice or pro-life, will begin to encourage all natural mothers and adoptees to tell their stories and provide insight into what can be improved about the treatment they have been given. I hope the media will ignore the guidelines given by the adoption industry for "positive adoption language" which restricts freedom of speech in the area of adoption. More than anything, I hope that churches, human rights organizations and women's groups will stand up for the rights of mothers and fathers to keep their own child.

Those mothers and fathers who are making a decision whether to keep their child or surrender their child for adoption deserve legal protections which include real information about the emotional risks to themselves, their child and other family members. They deserve to be protected from slick advertising and sales pitches from those seeking to adopt independently, from the adoption industry and from adoption lawyers. They deserve to be protected from the pressure put on them to choose prospective adopters before their child is even born which makes it very hard for them to disappoint them later.

Alisha, this would make a good school speech because it provides an insight that many people have not considered.

Good luck to you.

Laurie Frisch


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Laurie Frisch

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