When a woman has an unintended pregnancy, the first thing she thinks about is getting an abortion. She is not ready to have a child and wants to figure out how to move on with her life. Women get abortions for many reasons: they are not financially prepared, need to focus on other children, or don't want anything to interfere with their education or job plans.
Abortion is legal on request in 65% of developed countries and 14% of developing countries. If it is legal, it is often the easiest way to end a pregnancy. There are surgical and medical abortions available. Surgical abortions have fewer side effects, while medical abortions involve taking an abortion pill, meaning that women can get abortions from the privacy of their homes. Many abortion clinics also provide birth control services, allowing abortion patients to prevent further unintended pregnancies.
Abortions also allow women to keep their pregnancies a secret. A woman can get an abortion before her pregnancy is visible, which can protect her privacy.
On the other hand, she is not allowing her child to be born. According to a study by the University of Otago in New Zealand, women who had abortions were 30% more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
However, abortion is not the only option for these women. Another way would be to place their child for adoption.
There are different types of adoptions to choose from: open, semi-open, and closed. In a closed adoption, there is no contact between the birth mother and her child. Many adopted children in closed adoptions, where the child does not know the birth family, experience sorrow, wondering why their parents did not want them. They also have identity issues and grow up seeing their friends raised by their birth parents, thinking about why they do not know theirs. Many people believe that all adoptions are closed.
However, many adoptions today are open adoptions, where children can get to know their birth mothers. For example, birth mothers can communicate with their children through letters, emails, and sometimes in-person visits. In an open adoption, children can find closure knowing that their birth mother loves them. There are also semi-open adoptions where there are letters and emails but usually no in-person visits.
Adoption also allows infertile couples to become parents. Instead of abortion, which she may regret later, a birth mother can give the gift of her child to a couple who wants to have children but is unable to naturally.
What about pregnancy expenses? Around 40 percent of women get abortions because they are not financially prepared. A woman carrying her baby to term needs to cover prenatal care and other pregnancy expenses. Women who place their babies for adoption do not pay anything, as the adopting family usually covers all costs. However, women who get abortions typically pay for them. On average, that would be from $500 to $2000. When women get abortions, they spend money. But when they place their babies for adoption, they can have their pregnancy expenses paid for and see their children grow up.
In an adoption, a pregnant woman would contact an adoption agency, matching her with prospective parents. She has the power to decide who she wants to raise her child. Usually, the adoption agency would schedule a phone call between the pregnant woman and the prospective parents. She can ask questions to see if she is comfortable giving her child up to them. The adoption agency can schedule an in-person meeting if it is a good match. Agencies can also counsel pregnant women and comfort them alongside prospective adoptive families.
A woman does not relinquish her parental rights until she signs relinquishment papers, meaning she always has the option of changing her mind and deciding to parent the child. However, when a woman gets an abortion, the decision is irreversible.
When a woman gives birth, she will usually be able to spend some time with her child at the hospital. The adoption agency will be there to provide counseling and relinquishment papers that she can sign. The prospective parents will also be present to sign the documents and become adoptive parents officially.
Women can experience heartbreak after placing their baby for adoption. It can be argued that in abortion, the heartbreak is permanent, while in adoption, the heartbreak is usually temporary. In abortion, the unborn child is gone forever, while in adoption, birth mothers have time to grieve, temporarily avoiding their child before being able to visit them. Besides, an adoption agency can provide counseling after placement and help get a suitable birth control method afterward if needed.
In a closed adoption, however, the birth parents are not part of their child's life. That means that birth parents do not see their child again after placement. Due to a common belief that children in closed adoptions often struggle with their identities, women who don't want open adoptions may consider abortion to prevent giving birth to a child that she knows will suffer.
That is not to say that abortion should be illegal. Women can decide whether they want to go through with abortion or adoption. However, according to WHO, 45 percent of all abortions worldwide between 2010 and 2014 were unsafe. Therefore, restricting access to abortions does not reduce their number. Instead of making them illegal, raising awareness about adoptions will lower the number of abortions.
After considering that adoption is an option, women can decide which way is right for them. However, discussing other ways is crucial, such as placing babies in open adoptions with a chance to move on while loving and watching them grow up.
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