Monday, January 3, 2011

Writing in the New York Times, Ross Douthat discusses MTV’s No Easy Decision (an earlier, excellent discussion of the reality show took place at Potluck, here and here). Douthat ends with:

This is the paradox of America’s unborn. No life is so desperately sought after, so hungrily desired, so carefully nurtured. And yet no life is so legally unprotected, and so frequently destroyed.
Can we be honest about abortion? It seems that the pro-abortion side of the equation shuns honesty in favor of ‘heart tugs’. The pro-abortion crowd talks about rape, incest and children with such severe developmental problems that even if they survived birth their lives would be short on time but long on suffering. From there the conversation travels to “a woman rights to chose”. Under no circumstances will the pro-abortion crowd admit that most unwanted pregnancies are the result of a failure to use birth control or, as in the young woman in No Easy Decision, the failure to use birth control consistently as prescribed. For all of the “my body, my choice” bluster very little is said about woman’s choice to swallow a pill each morning or a woman’s choice to ensure that her partner always wears a condom. Frankly, the pro-abortion folks are big on choice but shrink away from discussing responsibility.

But a woman’s choices aren’t just limited to just prevention or abortion. Both the NYT and Potluck pieces mention the other choice, the one almost never mentioned by the pro-abortion crowd: adoption. Support for adoption comes from an unlikely source:

The great gulf between those who desire children and cannot have them biologically and those who conceive children but do not want them may vary over time and place. But what marks a civilization, in my view, is how we handle this chasm. Do we simply throw the unwanted away? Do we make every effort to find them homes? How do we practically facilitate this?
Whoops, I spoke too soon. Andy’s real motive for bringing up adoption is to use it to snipe at the pro-life movement:

If the pro-life movement dedicated its every moment not to criminalizing abortion but to expanding adoption opportunities, it would win many more converts.
Andy doesn’t bother to backup his assertion that the pro-life movement would rather fight against abortion than fight for adoption. One doubts he seriously cares. But adoption services are by their very nature “pro-life” making Andy’s little snipe both ridiculous and misplaced.

Approximately 1.2 million children are aborted each year in the United States while prospective parents of the non-Hollywood variety can literally wait years to adopt a child. Is it any wonder that one desperate Michigan couple recently resorted to advertising for a child to adopt on a billboard?

My heart breaks for young women who feel that they have nowhere to turn. Had I become pregnant as a teen I would have had the support of my family though admittedly that initial conversation would not have been pleasant. I would also have a second advantage-I am adopted so I am aware that for every child conceived there are adoptive parents waiting to share their homes and their love.

I did not watch No Easy Decision. I am curious to know if the subject of adoption was broached with the pregnant teenager. Was it mentioned at all or even in passing? Was she told about support that would be available to her if she chose to have her child and place it for adoption? I only ask because the pro-choice crowd says that they want abortion to be “rare” but they certainly seem to shy away from anything (waiting periods, ultrasounds, counseling, etc.) which would provide a pregnant woman with information about their full range of choices. It seems to me that pro-choice women are routinely and nastily anti-adoption:

Douthat also talks a big game about valuing and protecting the unborn, but neglects to lay out the specifics about how he proposes we actually do that. Implicit in his column is the argument that we outlaw abortion, but he never actually comes out and says that — probably because he realizes that when it comes right down to it, a lot of people really don’t like the idea of criminalizing women who don’t believe it’s their burden to provide babies for anyone who wants one. It’s also a lot easier to talk about “valuing life” (and to really mean “punishing women”) than it is to take the sometimes costly steps that actually value that life — providing affordable health care, early-childhood education, childcare, paid maternity leave, and on and on. You know, things that social conservatives like Douthat routinely oppose because of “personal responsibility” and “keeping the government out of our lives.”
And then it gets personal:

We all know that Douthat isn’t a big fan of the ladies (or the rights of ladies). But his concern here isn’t just for fetuses — it’s also for “good” families that, in his estimation, deserve children from not-good women. The old era of adoptions, where middle and upper-middle-class families were able to adopt babies birthed in secret by teenage mothers, required not only a crackdown on women’s bodily autonomy, but also a social model that deemed single mothers inherently bad, and certain families (largely white, headed by a heterosexual couple, and on the wealthier side of not) to be the only acceptable ones. It’s not just about abortion. It’s about a return to an idealized, gender-inegalitarian, racially divided and socially stratified time. It’s about making sure women know that their place isn’t just at home and in the service of their husbands, but also in the service of “better” families.
What a bunch of super sized BS! Let me tell you about my family. My parents brought me home when I was ten days old. They did this despite having their hands full. You see, the first child they adopted turned out to have developmental problems. It didn’t matter to them-he was their son and they loved him with all of their hearts. My parents weren’t wealthy. I was about ten years old when my father finished up his engineering degree and I was twelve when he became a plant engineer. During the years in between there were a lot of handmade clothes and scrimping because of my brother’s medical bills. It didn’t matter. For my parents it was about two people who loved each other and wanted to share that love with children.

Every unborn child deserves what I have had. Too bad the pro-choice crowd doesn’t care.

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