Opening the Door to Adoption by Closing the Door to Abortion
Next February, Abort73 has been given the opportunity to participate in Southern Seminary's Adopting for Life conference. Because Abort73 is not a traditional adoption ministry, I wrote following to help explain the connection. Pending approval, this will be included in the conference program:
As you stop by the various exhibit tables this weekend, at least one of them might seem an odd fit. Adopting for Life is a conference to celebrate adoption, but Abort73 is not an adoption ministry – at least not in the traditional sense. For those of you who don't know, Abort73.com is a website that seeks to comprehensively educate people about abortion – on the premise that the more someone knows about abortion, the less likely they are to have one, recommend one, or support one as a matter of public policy. Abort73 exists because a general understanding of abortion does not exist.
Lest you miss the connection, here it is. Adoption and abortion are inextricably linked. In individual cases, they're mutually exclusive. When abortion happens, adoption cannot happen. And when adoption happens, you can rest assured that abortion did not happen. In America today, the battle between abortion and adoption is being won by abortion – in a landslide. The National Council for Adoption (NCFA) reports in their 2007 Factbook (IV) that for every 1,000 live births, there are 5.5 adoptions and 326.5 abortions (30). Though the NCFA takes no official position on abortion, they state in Factbook III that the number one barrier to adoption is the "almost exclusive focus on abortion as the preferred option when an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy occurs" (557). Domestically speaking, the biggest obstacle towards placing children for adoption is not a lack of adoptive parents; it's a lack of adoptable babies. If abortion-vulnerable women aren't first convinced not to abort, it makes little difference how many couples there are waiting to adopt.
Therefore, reshaping the way culture thinks about abortion may be the single most-effective way to increase the total number of adoptions. Women don't abort because they think no one will adopt their baby. They abort because they view adoption as a fate worse than abortion. It's tragically common to hear girls who have no problem justifying abortion say things like, "I could never give my child up for adoption!" In their minds, adoption is abandonment – the abandonment of a visible, huggable, kissable baby. Abortion on the other hand is mere elimination – the elimination of an abstract, unseen, pre-baby. As long as this illusion is maintained, it's no wonder that adoption is seen as the crueler of the two choices. But when abortion is seen and understood for what it really is, the equation flips. It becomes impossible to maintain that abortion is the more loving choice – as so many abortion-ignorant men and women do today.
To put it simply, for the promotion of adoption to be broadly effective, it must be accompanied by the exposure of abortion. That doesn't mean that individual adoption ministries should change their focus, but it does mean that the collective body of Christ should be in the business of boldly, creatively, and proactively exposing the darkness of abortion. If there is a tendency for the church to focus more on abortion-alternatives than on abortion itself, it likely owes to the fact that promoting adoption is relatively safe. Exposing abortion is not. Even Planned Parenthood gives tacit support to adoption, but when the topic turns to abortion, things can get ugly. There is a natural inclination in nearly all of us to steer clear of the abortion issue in favor of more pleasant fare. Combatting abortion is awkward, unpleasant, and exposes you to all sorts of verbal abuse.
As a result, most churches remain publicly silent about abortion – the cost of speaking out is too high. Those that do make its elimination a priority focus thier support almost exclusively on Crisis Pregnancy Clinics (CPCs). These clinics provide vital services, but they all face the same problem. In America today, most girls don't want help getting through a crisis pregnancy; they want help getting out of it. Until public perception shifts, CPCs will remain largely vacant while pregnant girls continue to flood the offices of Planned Parenthood – where (according to their 2008 annual report) only one adoption is referred for every 62 abortions!
All that to say, as you consider the glorious, biblical, God-exalting act of adoption, don't forget about the monster lurking in the shadows. And as you consider how best to combat abortion (this great enemy of adoption), remember that the path of least resistance is often the path of least reward. Publicly standing against abortion will invariably step on some toes, but so long as the church fails to speak out against the atrocity of child sacrifice, the myriad blessings of widespread adoption will never see the light of day.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.