Adoption: The Viable Alternative to Abortion

Author: A.L.L.


American Life League

Having a baby and giving it up for adoption, as pro-life people advocate, is not seen by most pro-choice people as a moral solution to the abortion problem. To transform a fetus into a baby and then send it out into a world where the parents can have no assurance that it will be well-loved and cared for is, for pro-choice people, the height of moral irresponsibility.

                                           Kristin Luker, Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood.

Anti-Life Philosophy.

No one in the technical literature has stressed the heartlessness, the cruelty, and the sadism that the pregnant woman so frequently senses perhaps correctly, perhaps mistakenly when the physician, minister, or lawyer suggest to her that she carry the child to term and then hand it over, never to see it again, to someone else to rear.

                                                                                                Harold Rosen.[1]

Adoption is simply not a viable option for many women who are saddled with an unwanted pregnancy. The adoption bureaucracy is inept and riddled with graft. A woman may not want to endure the punishing regime of carrying and birthing the child. And, finally, there is no way the adoption 'system' could absorb 1,500,000 new babies every year if abortion were outlawed. There are already tens of thousands of children waiting to be adopted!


When the pro-abortionists insist that adoption is a 'nonviable' alternative to abortion, they are really saying the exact opposite of what they really believe.

They attack adoption so strenuously precisely because it is such an obvious and viable alternative to abortion.

This is consistent with the Neofeminist desire that every unwanted child result not only in the mother's complete repudiation of her child, but in the child's death as well; i.e., the principle of child as property, to be used or disposed of at will.

Typical of this anti-life attitude is a statement in a booklet amusingly entitled "Let's Tell the Truth About Abortion." This booklet, issued by Planned Parenthood to its clients in Colorado, states; "But aren't there alternatives to abortion? Yes, there are. A pregnant women can carry the baby to term and she can then keep it or relinquish the baby for adoption. Relinquishment is often not a very humane procedure."[2]

According to virtually every reformed abortionist, women who visit an abortion mill for pregnancy tests often think of adoption as the first course of action for their unwanted pregnancy. But the abortuary 'counselors' are instructed to denounce adoption in very strong terms. After all, if a woman gives up her baby for adoption, the abortion mill loses the fee for that abortion.

Perhaps this is why sidewalk counselors are constantly amazed when abortion-bound women and girls tell them that they love their children too much to give them up for adoption; they would rather kill them! The women have accepted the propaganda dished out to them by the abortuary staff without thinking about how ludicrous the underlying 'logic' really is.

If they would stop to consider their position for just a moment, they would realize that they really do want their preborn children because they can't stand the thought of someone else raising them. Mothers who abort their babies instead of letting someone else have them are prey to the curious attitude that asserts: "If I can't have my baby, nobody else can have him either."

Needless to say, a woman who thinks like this is a prime candidate for post-abortion depression.

Abortionists used to acknowledgement that an 'unwanted' preborn baby is generally wanted after it is born. Nearly 40 years ago, top Planned Parenthood maternal psychology experts recognized this critical aspect of maternal psychology. At the 1955 conference on induced abortion held by Planned Parenthood, one expert recalled that "Dr. Donnelly brought out that there are a great many originally unwanted children in this world who have become very deeply wanted after birth, and I don't think this is simply reaction formation. There are women who do not realize how gratifying it can be to mother a baby until they actually have it in their arms, and maternal feelings are aroused by the tangible situation."[3]

Attacks on the 'Humane Alternative.'

Reason for the Assault.

Organized pro-abortionists know full well that, if the public started thinking seriously about adoption, most people would accept it and even prefer it over abortion. Therefore, pro-abort (anti-choice) organizations including the National Organization for Women (NOW) have launched an extensive campaign to convince the public that adoption is so weak an alternative to abortion that it doesn't even deserve a second thought.

Don't Worry, Baby, This Won't Hurt ...

For example, Neofeminist 'psychotherapist' Phyllis Chesler wrote in her book Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M that "A child's own birth mother is meant for that child; premature physical separation from that mother ... will cause trauma and injury that should be avoided."

Chesler, of course, is stridently pro-abortion, and sees no irony at all in the fact that her above statement also applies perfectly to abortion.

NBC Gets Into the Act. Holly Hunter, the 'star' of NBC's 1989 virulently pro-abortion propaganda piece "Roe v. Wade," denigrated adoption, labeling it "a haphazardly, incompetently handled institution." In this so-called 'documentary,' Norma McCorvey, played by Hunter, gives up her child and then attempts suicide, implying that "Suicide is the usual response of women to having placed a child for adoption," according to William L. Pierce, president of the National Committee for Adoption.[4]

Defying Simple Solutions.

The mainline newsmagazines, of course, never tire of beating their drums for abortion and against anything that might even hint at lowering the incredible death toll that our children are suffering.

Entirely typical is a May 1, 1989 Newsweek Magazine article, evenhandedly entitled "Defying Simple Slogans: Why 'Adoption, Not Abortion' Won't Work." The authors sneer at adoption, calling it a "superficial, sloganistic" and "hopelessly naive" alternative to abortion. They fret about "shady baby brokers" (ignoring 'shady baby killers') and "inadequate checks on prospective parents" if abortion were outlawed (they obviously prefer that the kids should be killed by their parents).

Incredibly, abortionist David Grimes states in this article that "I feel that it [the Federal government encouraging adoption in any way] would amount to coercive behavior. And it would be inappropriate behavior for anyone in the health care profession to inflict their point of view on anyone. No one knows better than the woman herself what's best for her."

Naturally, Grimes and his fellow mass killers see no problem at all with having the government finance abortion or having abortuary 'counselors' relentlessly push women in the direction of abortion while systematically censoring all information on alternatives. To them, this is not "coercive behavior."

Summary of the Anti-Life View.

There is some disagreement among pro-life theorists over the actual purpose of abortion. Some believe that a mother who aborts merely wants to be rid of her child. If this were true, adoption would be an obvious alternative.

The real objective of abortion is not just to remove a child from the picture, but to actually produce a dead child.

This is proven by such ghastly and Satanic abortion procedures practices as D&X (dilatation and extraction), where the abortionist delivers a 7-month or 8-month baby feet first, and, while the child's head is still in the birth canal, he punctures its skull, sucks out its brain tissue to kill it, then completes the delivery in seconds (this and other abortion procedures are described in Chapter 61, "Methodology and Aspects of Abortion").

Kristin Luker, author of Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood, uses typical pro-abortion Newspeak in a strange attempt to say that the dismemberment of a baby is moral and kind, but placement of the same baby with a loving family is cruel and immoral; "Having a baby and giving it up for adoption, as pro-life people advocate, is not seen by most pro-choice people as a moral solution to the abortion problem. To transform a fetus into a baby and then send it out into a world where the parents can have no assurance that it will be well-loved and cared for is, for pro-choice people, the height of moral irresponsibility."


In other words, abortionists and their supporters actually prefer abortion to adoption! Even mentioning adoption in any way "inflicts" damage on women!

Pro-abortion literature such as the sources quoted above, which must damage the morale of adoption workers everywhere, is invariably packed with slogans and outright lies, including the old saw that only rich women would be able to get abortions (what this has to do with adoption is not explained), and the hideous (and false) argument that abortion is better than childbirth since abortion is allegedly safer.

Using this logic, of course, all pregnancies should end in abortion!

For a detailed examination of the comparative hazards of abortion and childbirth, see Chapter 59, "Maternal Deaths Due to Abortion."

For Single Moms.

If women were given the truth about adoption, they would turn to abortion as a simple solution much less often. Many women who abort do so simply because they are not ready to become parents. By this, they usually mean that they are not ready to raise a child.

They may not know that 62% of children born to single parents live below the poverty line. By contrast, only 2.3 percent of adopted children in two-parent families (which comprise more than 95 percent of all adopting families) live in poverty.[5]

Adoption virtually guarantees that a birthmother with an 'unwanted pregnancy' will benefit more from giving her baby to a couple who wants him than she will from raising her child herself or from aborting him.

According to the National Committee for Adoption's 1989 Adoption Factbook, "A 1982 survey found that unmarried birthmothers who made adoption plans, rather than tried to parent, advanced further educationally, were more likely to subsequently marry, and were less likely to receive public assistance than birthmothers who chose to parent their child. These findings were confirmed in another study in 1988 which found that women who chose adoption for their children had educational advantages, were more likely to delay marriage, were more likely to be employed and have a higher income, less likely to have a repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and less likely to abort if they do have a repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancy."

How Many Children?

The pro-aborts lean heavily on the unsubstantiated belief that the adoption system could not possibly handle the "flood of excess children" that would result if abortion were outlawed. They point ("ah-HA!") to the "tens of thousands" of children who are even now waiting to be adopted.

For example, Molly Yard of the National Organization for Women claimed that "... with 35,000 children already waiting in foster homes for adoptive parents, adoption is not the answer for women with unwanted pregnancies."[6]

And Mary Treadwell Barry, former wife of disgraced Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry, testified on June 19, 1975 before Senator Birch Bayh's Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments that "We have no shortage of black babies. Thousands of black babies live in the public agencies and foster homes across the country." Mary Barry was later found to have masterminded massive fraud, theft, and corruption in 'Pride,' the self-help program she co-founded.

These statements are typical pro-abortion half-truths. It is entirely true that 35,000 children are now waiting to be adopted; however, what Yard and Barry failed to mention is that virtually none of these children were released for adoption at birth! About 95 percent had been removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse, and were three years of age and older. Therefore, these children have no bearing at all on the abortion debate.

Every one of the 50,000 babies annually put up for adoption at birth handicapped or not is immediately placed with a family. There are more than two million couples on the adoption waiting list. According to William Pierce, president of the National Committee for Adoption, babies immediately adopted include minority babies, and infants with every imaginable disability and disease, including AIDS, Down Syndrome, and spina bifida. There are adoption and support groups for every known infant disease and birth defect.

The addresses of nearly a hundred of these organizations are provided in Chapter 39, "Birth Defects Support Groups."

Could Adoption Agencies Handle the Load?

Pro-abortionists, of course, impugn the ability of adoption agencies to place what they call the "tide of excess children" that would result if were abortion criminalized.

Let us examine the facts regarding this situation.

To begin with, the pro-aborts ignore the fact that the adoption agencies were perfectly able to handle all of their placements before abortion was legalized. Why could they not do so again?

Secondly, the pro-aborts falsely assume that, if abortion became illegal, there would immediately be 1,600,000 babies put up for adoption every year. As shown in Figure 35-1, this obviously would not be the case.


Criterion Result
There are currently about 1,600,000 surgical
abortions committed in this country annually.                                1,600,000 
About one-third of all women who obtain abortions
use no method of birth control whatsoever. Many
of these women would begin to use contraception
and would avoid abortion if it were criminalized.
These women, if they started using contraception,
would account for about 400,000 'avoided' abortions
annually. Therefore,
                                                                            1,600,000 - 400,000 = 1,200,000 
Pro-abortionists themselves say that at least
200,000 women obtained illegal abortions
annually before 1973. In fact, most national
pro-abortion organizations have vowed to help
women get illegal abortions should abortion be
criminalized. This reduces the number of annual
unintended births to
                                                                             1,200,000 - 200,000 = 1,000,000 
The very fact that abortion would be more
difficult to get and would bear the
additional stigma of illegality would
account for many more women carrying their
babies to term, although the magnitude of
this effect has never been quantified, and
therefore will not be accounted
for in these calculations.
Adoption authorities estimate that about 10
to 20 percent of women with unintended pregnancies
who carry their babies to term choose adoption.
Using the higher figure of 20 percent, the number
of additional newborns that would become available
for adoption annually should abortion be criminalized
would be                                                                       1,000,000 X 20% = 200,000.

If abortion were to become illegal, the 2,000 existing licensed public, private, and independent adoption agencies would easily be able to take on the resulting additional 180,000 cases per year. This number would be equivalent to one additional placement per agency per three working days, hardly a backbreaking increase in work.

Figure 35-2 shows current United States adoption statistics.


[A medium text size on your computer's 'view' setting is recommended, otherwise, the table may be discombobulated.]

                Children                                   Adopted By Non-Relatives, Placed By;

                Total              Adopted               Public            Private
Year        Adoptions      By Relatives       Agency          Agency       Independent

1960       107,000           49,200                 13,300            20,800            23,700
1965       142,000           65,300                 20,700            32,200            23,800
1970       175,000           85,800                 29,500            40,100            19,600
1975       129,000           81,300                 18,600            18,100            11,000
1982       141,700           91,100                 19,400            14,500            16,700
1986       104,200           52,900                 20,100            14,500            16,700

Reference: United States Bureau of the Census. National Data Book and Guide to Sources, Statistical Abstract of the United States. 1990 (110th Edition). Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. Table 614, "Adoptions By Relationship of Petitioner, 1960 to 1986, and Foreign Adoptions, 1975 to 1988."

Adoption Resources.

In addition to the special needs groups described in Chapter 39, "Birth Defects Support Groups," there are several large organizations that deal with adoption placements and information on a nationwide scale. These groups are listed below.

AASK (Aid to Adoption of Special Kids)
595 Market Street, 21st Floor
San Francisco, California 94105
Telephone: (415) 543-2275

Bethany Christian Services
901 Eastern Avenue, N.E.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
Telephone: (616) 459-6273

(This group has affiliates in 28 states and operates a national toll-free Lifeline at 1-800-BETHANY. Bethany Christian Services also provides pregnancy counseling and adoption services for American-born and international children).

Concerned United Birthparents
184 North Main Street
Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Telephone: (603) 332-0122 or 1-800-TO-ADOPT

National Adoption Center
1218 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Telephone: (215) 925-0200

National Committee for Adoption
1930 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009-6207
Telephone: (202) 328-1200

(This is a non-profit public information advocacy group that works with 140 private adoption agencies nationwide. It also operates a free hotline for pregnant women to call and find out about adoption resources: call collect 1-202-328-8072. The group also publishes the comprehensive 300-page Adoption Factbook II. This volume is in most public libraries).

References: Adoption.

[1] Harold Rosen, M.D., Ph.D., quoted in The National Committee on Maternal Health, Inc. The Abortion Problem: The Proceedings of the Conference of the National Committee on Maternal Health, Inc., at the New York Academy of Medicine, June 19 and 20, 1942. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Company, 1942. Page 310.

[2] "Let's Tell the Truth About Abortion." Booklet distributed by Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood. Fight Back Press, 1985.

[3] Dr. Joseph Lidz, quoted by Mary Calderone, M.D., Medical Director of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (editor). Abortion in the United States. New York: Paul B. Hoeber, Inc., 1956. Page 127.

[4] William Pierce, President, National Committee for Adoption. "Opponents Recycle Ugly Myths to Discredit Adoption." National Right to Life News, October 5, 1989, pages 5 and 15. Also see

[5] Tamar Mehuron. "Abundant, Overflowing Life." National Catholic Register, October 28, 1990, page 4.

[6] Todd Ackerman. "The Campaign Against Adoption." National Catholic Register, July 23, 1989, pages 1 and 6.

Further Reading: Adoption.

Rita J. Simon, Dean of the School of Justice at American University, and Howard Altstein, Professor of Social Work at the University of Maryland. Transracial Adoptees and Their Families: A Study of Identity and Commitment
Praeger Publishers, 1986. Reviewed by Mary Ann Kuharski on page 24 of the November-December All About Issues. A total demolition of the myth that transracial adoptions don't work.

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This is a chapter of the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia, published by American Life League.