Adoption: The Alternative to Abortion The word “positive” is both feared and revered by women around the globe. A simple plus sign on a pregnancy test can be cause for elation or terror. Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion (Finer and Henshaw 2001). Abortion, legalized in 1973 by the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, is defined by the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law as the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus.
Abortion is an inhumane, immoral way of avoiding parenthood. It is easy to understand how a woman with an unintended pregnancy may feel cornered, but an abortion should be on the list of alternatives never considered. Adoption provides a morally sound, healthy, means of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy while enabling a couple who, by their own means may not be able to conceive their own child, become a family. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy through the death of the fetus.
Some may argue that a fetus does not obtain “personhood” at conception because it is only a cluster of cells; it is an embryo, a zygote, and is not self aware. Therefore, the killing of a fetus is just. This argument is unsound in the fact that there are no set qualifications for personhood other than having human characteristics and feelings. A zygote is considered to be biologically alive; it fulfills all four of the criteria needed to earn the title: it has a metabolism, grows, reacts to a stimulus, and is able to reproduce. The heart begins to beat around 18 to 21 days after conception (Robinson 2010).
At this point, the woman may only suspect that she is pregnant. The fetus continues to grow and become more like a person with each passing week. With a natural pregnancy, there is nothing to stop the fetus from developing further. So, the question then becomes when to consider the fetus a person? The fact that the fetus is considered to be biologically alive, has a beating heart, and is the result of conception between two human beings is enough to reach the qualifications for personhood. Personhood qualifies the unborn child to his or her inalienable rights.
The inalienable rights are those which, as a rule, cannot be lost, sold, or given away. Perhaps the most precious inalienable right is the right not to have one’s life ended… (Luker, Abortion and the politics of motherhood). This inalienable right and the personhood of the child, make abortion equivalent to the premeditated death of a human. The abortion of an unwanted child is a heavy cross to bear both physically, and mentally. Though it may be denied, studies prove that legal abortion is reported as the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States…
Other health complications include elevated risk of Breast, Cervical, Liver, and Ovarian Cancer, uterine perforation, cervical lacerations, placenta previa, ectopic pregnancies, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and endometritis (Reardon, Abortion Risks and Complications). Physically, abortion is a harmful process not only to the fetus, but to the mother as well. The mental effects of abortion have been a heated issue over the years. The British Journal of Psychiatry stated, in 1995, that in repeated studies since the early 1980s, leading experts have concluded that abortion does not pose a hazard to women’s mental health.
However, most studies of mental health status after an abortion rely on small groups of women—usually less than 300—and face high drop out rates of 50 percent or more. Also, in 2002, studies revealed that abortion was most strongly associated with subsequent treatments for neurotic depression, bipolar disorder, adjustment reactions, and schizophrenic disorders (Coleman, Reardon, Rue, Cougle, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry). Ultimately, an abortion could cost more in the long run than holding the child full term and giving it away for adoption. Adoption provides a healthier alternative to abortion.
The mother does not have to withstand bearing the grief of killing her unborn child, nor does she have to worry about the health risks associated with getting an abortion. Of course, pregnancy has its own health risks, though it provides a more naturally safe means of getting rid of an unwanted child. There is a saying that goes like this: “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure. ” Unfortunately, this quote is just as applicable to possessions as it is to children. Millions of couples throughout the world are unable to bear their own children for various reasons.
Virtually there is no child who could remain unwanted with all of these willing, wanting couples. Adoption is an answer to the prayers of these individuals, as well as, the pregnant woman and her child. It provides an out for the mother, a home for the baby, and a child for the adoptive parents. The benefits that stem from this sort of arrangement are endless. If the mother wished, and it was agreed upon by the family, an open adoption could be arranged. This would allow the birth mother to receive photos and updates on the child if she so wished. Though traditional closed adoptions are more common.
Many would argue that carrying a child full term into delivery would be far too costly for the mother and some studies would support that fact. If we look at the age group who obtains the most abortions we would find that fifty percent of U. S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25: Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and teenagers obtain 17% (Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008). In today’s society, this age group holds many of our students and career centered women. Most of whom, would not have the time or money to raise a child.
In many adoption cases, the adoptive family will cover all medical costs of the child leaving the mother free in her finances. There is also the possibility of extra compensation for the birth of the child in some cases, which would put the mother ahead financially. Also, abortions are costly procedures in themselves. In 2005, the cost of a non-hospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks’ gestation ranged from $90 to $1,800; the average amount paid was $413 (Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2008). Insurances often cover part of this procedure, but in some cases it is only covered in cases of life endangerment.
Unfortunately, for those women who do not have health insurance, the cost is quite high and only rises the longer the abortion is put off. Not only is adoption a cost effective method of avoiding parenthood, but it provides others with a child they could not have produced themselves, as well as prolongs the life of the unborn child. In summary, adoption provides a morally sound, healthy, win win, cost effective, way of avoiding parenthood. The fetus is not being killed for the preservation of a life style, but rather given to a couple who, otherwise, would not be able to have a child.
Both parties gain something from the adoption: the mother receives an out as well as not having to pay the medical costs of the birth, the adoptive parents are provided with a child, and the child is given a home. The mother does not have to face the grief of killing her unborn child or the medical risks associated with abortion. The most important, however; is the fact that a life is saved in the process. This is meant to be a challenge to everyday values, to keep in mind that human life is precious and should be treated as such.
The word “positive”, when referring to pregnancy, should be rejoiced for it is a chance to bring life into this world; a chance to possibly pass on to others what one may not want or have the ability to handle at the time. Word Count: 1, 505 Works Cited Adler NE et al. , Psychological responses after abortion, Science, 1990, 248(4951):41–44; and Gilchrist AC, Termination of pregnancy and psychiatric morbidity, British Journal of Psychiatry, 1995, 167(2):243–248. B. A. Robinson. Copyright 1997 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. 2010- FEB-08. Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Rue VM, Cougle JR. “State-funded abortions vs. eliveries: A comparison of outpatient mental health claims over five years. ” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2002, Vol. 72, No. 1, 141–152. Finer LB and Henshaw SK, Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States, 1994 and 2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2006, 38(2):90–96. Luker, Kristin. Abortion and the politics of motherhood. 1984. University of California Press. Berkley and Los Angeles, Ca. Reardon, David C. Ph. D. Abortion Risks and Complications. copyright 1997, 2000 Elliot Institute. ; HYPERLINK “http://www. afterabortion. org” www. afterabortion. org;