Adoption: a Reproductive Right

The Origin and Vision of the

Adoption Access Network
by CRISTINA PAGE

The relationship between abortion rights and adoption:

The relationship between abortion rights and adoption:
Before the passage of Roe v Wade, approximately 80% of all pregnancies by non-married women were placed for adoption.

The relationship between abortion rights and adoption:
Before the passage of Roe v Wade, approximately 80% of all pregnancies by non-married women were placed for adoption. After the passage of Roe, 1% are.

The relationship between abortion rights and adoption:
Before the passage of Roe v Wade, approximately 80% of all pregnancies by non-married women were placed for adoption. After the passage of Roe, 1% are.

This is usually the only direct impact of legalized abortion on adoption that is ever discussed.

The relationship between abortion rights and adoption:
Before the passage of Roe v Wade, approximately 80% of all pregnancies by non-married women were placed for adoption. After the passage of Roe, 1% are.

This is usually the only direct impact of legalized abortion on adoption that is ever discussed. More interesting, however, is the impact that isn’t discussed…

Abortion rights helped establish the rights of birthmothers
According to Sharon Kaplan Roszia, open adoption practice pioneer: “Birthmothers gradually learned that babies for adoption were needed so desperately that they could have more control than ever before over the adoption process. And what many birthmothers wanted was to choose the people who would be raising their children, to meet them, and to stay in touch with them. Agencies realized that if they were to continue to offer adoption services, they would have to offer the same control and openness to birthmothers that other agencies, independent facilitators, and adoptive parents themselves were offering.” from Ethics in American Adoption

<

unintentionally

Imagine what could be done with intention…

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

SHAME HER

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

SHAME HER COERCE HER

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

SHAME HER COERCE HER CONFUSE HER

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

SHAME HER COERCE HER CONFUSE HER AND POLITICIZE HER BODY

TODAY, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ADVOCATES WORK TO DEFEND AN ABORTION PATIENT FROM THE FORCES THAT:

SHAME HER COERCE HER CONFUSE HER AND POLITICIZE HER BODY
yet…

Women choosing adoption have a lot in common with those choosing abortion

Coercion

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

Politicization

FOR

FOR REAL

Anecdotal evidence from interviews with social workers who work with birthmothers suggest that the majority of women who place for adoption originally wanted an abortion but presented too late.

FOR REAL

Anecdotal evidence from interviews with social workers who work with birthmothers suggest that the majority of women who place for adoption originally wanted an abortion but presented too late. Adoption information is often not truly available through abortion and family planning clinics; the traditional providers of care to women confronting unintended pregnancy.

FOR REAL

FOR REAL

Anecdotal evidence from interviews with social workers who work with birthmothers suggest that the majority of women who place for adoption originally wanted an abortion but presented too late. Adoption information is often not truly available through abortion and family planning clinics; the traditional providers of care to women confronting unintended pregnancy. Calls to 44 abortion and family planning clinics in New York City discovered only 6 (13%) providing any type of adoption information.

FOR REAL

Anecdotal evidence from interviews with social workers who work with birthmothers suggest that the majority of women who place for adoption originally wanted an abortion but presented too late. Adoption information is often not truly available through abortion and family planning clinics; the traditional providers of care to women confronting unintended pregnancy. Calls to 44 abortion and family planning clinics in New York City discovered only 6 (13%) providing any type of adoption information. The largest adoption agency in the country, Bethany Christian Services, uses the same anti-abortion materials and rhetoric as crisis pregnancy centers.

FOR REAL

Anecdotal evidence from interviews with social workers who work with birthmothers suggest that the majority of women who place for adoption originally wanted an abortion but presented too late. Adoption information is often not truly available through abortion and family planning clinics; the traditional providers of care to women confronting unintended pregnancy. Calls to 44 abortion and family planning clinics in New York City discovered only 6 (13%) providing any type of adoption information. The largest adoption agency in the country, Bethany Christian Services, uses the same anti-abortion materials and rhetoric as crisis pregnancy centers. Today, a woman interested in examining her options in depth must be extraordinarily savvy and embark on an odyssey the is timeconsuming, confusing (by design), coercive, and discouraging.

According to a 2008 Guttmacher study entitled, “I Would Want to Give My Child, Like, Everything in the World,” on how issues of motherhood influence women who have abortions,

“Without being asked directly, several of the women indicated that adoption is not a realistic option for them. They reported that the thought of one’s child being out in the world without knowing if it was being taken care of or by whom would induce more guilt than having an abortion.”

According to a 2008 Guttmacher study entitled, “I Would Want to Give My Child, Like, Everything in the World,” on how issues of motherhood influence women who have abortions,

“Without being asked directly, several of the women indicated that adoption is not a realistic option for them. They reported that the thought of one’s child being out in the world without knowing if it was being taken care of or by whom would induce more guilt than having an abortion.”
We’re they ever told about…

open adoption?

open adoption? or that they could choose the family?

open adoption? or that they could choose the family? and stay in touch?

open adoption? or that they could choose the family? and stay in touch?
If not, was adoption truly presented as a choice?

open adoption? or that they could choose the family? and stay in touch?
If not, was adoption truly presented as a choice? Was her decision not to choose adoption based on informed consent?

Perception: Adoption is one size fits all

Yet, in adoption, extremely different values are put into practice

Many women, families, counselors and clinicians don’t understand this.

Values in Adoption Matter and Vary Widely
Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).

Values in Adoption Matter
Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).

By calling 1-800 ADOPTION, there are no agendas and no biases – just valuable information about her available options. Then, she will be equipped with the knowledge to make the best decision for her and her child.

Values in Adoption Matter
Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).

By calling 1-800 ADOPTION, there are no agendas and no biases – just valuable information about her available options. Then, she will be equipped with the knowledge to make the best decision for her and her child.

Values in Adoption Matter
Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).

By calling 1-800 ADOPTION, there are no agendas and no biases – just valuable information about her available options. Then, she will be equipped with the knowledge to make the best decision for her and her child.

According to adoption.com, “Common Emotions After Abortion” includes “suicide.”

Values in Adoption Matter
Over 70% of the women who have abortions agree that abortion involves a baby and experience negative feelings about the abortion. (C.Reardon, www.afterabortion.org). One woman describes her feelings after an abortion, saying: "I hated myself. I felt abandoned and lost. There was no one's shoulder to cry on and I wanted to cry ... and I felt guilty about killing something. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had just killed my baby" (Quote from Options Magazine, 2003).

By calling 1-800 ADOPTION, there are no agendas and no biases – just valuable information about her available options. Then, she will be equipped with the knowledge to make the best decision for her and her child.

According to adoption.com, “Common Emotions After Abortion” includes “suicide.”
The site also states: May not be legal Future miscarriage Infertility You don’t know what you’re doing You might die

Values in Adoption Matter

ADOPTION Your pregnancy ends with giving life You can feel good and positive about your choice You will remember giving birth

ABORTION

Values in Adoption Matter

ADOPTION Your pregnancy ends with giving life You can feel good and positive about your choice You will remember giving birth

ABORTION Your pregnancy ends with death

Values in Adoption Matter

ADOPTION Your pregnancy ends with giving life You can feel good and positive about your choice You will remember giving birth

ABORTION Your pregnancy ends with death You may feel guilt or shame about your choice

Values in Adoption Matter

ADOPTION Your pregnancy ends with giving life You can feel good and positive about your choice You will remember giving birth

ABORTION Your pregnancy ends with death You may feel guilt or shame about your choice You will remember taking a life

Values in Adoption Matter

ADOPTION Your pregnancy ends with giving life You can feel good and positive about your choice You will remember giving birth

ABORTION Your pregnancy ends with death You may feel guilt or shame about your choice You will remember taking a life

There are 12 affiliates that offer information about adoption on their website. Five of these include a referral to anti-abortion agencies or sites with anti-abortion content. Two others refer to a disconnected number or dead link.

“Focus on placement of children with special needs.”

Choice #1: Catholic Social Services

Choice #2: Adoption by Gentle Care’s website States: “Abortion: Your pregnancy ends with death You may feel guilt and shame about your choice You will remember taking a life.”

Choice #3: Adoption Circle: a pro-choice agency

What if we looked What if we looked at adoption through at adoption through a pro-choice lens? a pro-choice lens?

OUR VALUES

OUR VALUES

OUR VALUES
pro-birthmother

OUR VALUES
pro-birthmother pro-choice

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Accurate & comprehensive information
A woman considering adoption deserves to make her decision in light of all the facts and with awareness of all of her rights, including information about every option she has available to her with her pregnancy.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Accurate & comprehensive information
A woman considering adoption deserves to make her decision in light of all the facts and with awareness of all of her rights, including information about every option she has available to her with her pregnancy. Adoptive families deserve to be confident, and secure, in the knowledge that their birthmother was not misled at any point in the process.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Neutral counseling environment
A woman has the right to process all of this information in a non-coercive environment, where no option available to her is presented as better than another.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Pro-birthmother resources & rights
Birthmothers and birthfathers must be made aware of all of their rights throughout the adoption process and that ethical legal procedures be followed.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Pro-birthmother resources & rights
Birthmothers and birthfathers must be made aware of all of their rights throughout the adoption process and that ethical legal procedures be followed. Efforts should be undertaken to protect birthparents from abuses, expand resources for birthparents and streamline best practices in regard to birthparents throughout the country.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Diverse choice of waiting families
Birthmothers deserve a diverse selection of families to choose from including gay and lesbian families, a wide representation of race and creed, as well as both single parent and married families. Offering a diverse array of families to her is pro-choice.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Encouraging open adoption
Open adoption should be the standard, encouraged and viewed as a pro-birthmother value.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Encouraging open adoption
Open adoption should be the standard, encouraged and viewed as a pro-birthmother value. All birthparents should be informed that they can decide the level of openness in their adoption arrangement and be made aware of every degree of openness possible.

pro-birthmother pro-choice
Pro-Choice Values in Adoption

=
Best Practice Standards

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right Mission is to be the adoption partner for abortion and family planning providers nationwide.

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right Mission is to be the adoption partner for abortion and family planning providers nationwide. Members are rigorously verified prochoice agencies.

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right Mission is to be the adoption partner for abortion and family planning providers nationwide. Members are rigorously verified prochoice agencies. Train and provide ongoing mentorship to clinic staff chosen to be adoption specialists.

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right Mission is to be the adoption partner for abortion and family planning providers nationwide. Members are rigorously verified prochoice agencies. Train and provide ongoing mentorship to clinic staff chosen to be adoption specialists. Launched pilot partnerships with clinics in NY, NJ, PA, and OH in 2009.

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

Originated from Spence Chapin’s work protecting birthmother rights in the New York City public hospitals. Vision: Adoption as a Reproductive Right Mission is to be the adoption partner for abortion and family planning providers nationwide. Members are rigorously verified prochoice agencies. Train and provide ongoing mentorship to clinic staff chosen to be adoption specialists. Launched pilot partnerships with clinics in NY, NJ, PA, and OH in 2009. Work to establish best practice standards in the adoption field and protect and expand birthmother rights.

Expanding women’s reproductive choices

PRO-CHOICE AGENCY PARTNERS

Pro-Choice Agency Present in State Coverage by Pro-Choice Agency in Nearby State

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has been working in partnership with the pro-choice Avalon Center For nearly a decade. For most clinics, it is totally rare for a client to be interested in adoption. However, last month Planned Parenthood of the Heartland had eight direct Placements; a stunning figure even by adoption agency standards.

Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson’s Sue Wendelgass, working in close collaboration with the Adoption Access Network, recently helped a birth mother place her baby with a family. From the patient’s perspective, the whole adoption process took place through Planned Parenthood. Spence Chapin, working in mentorship with Sue, arrived the day of the placement to oversee the legal process.

“Talk to our adoption specialist at Planned Parenthood”

“Like Planned Parenthood, Spence-Chapin supports a women’s right to change her mind and end the process at any time.”

A

p t io do

n is

RECLAIM adoption; own it as we do
abortion and prevention

PROVIDE women who choose adoption
an alternative to the coercion of anti-abortion operatives.

CREATE pro-choice standards in the

adoption field and a pro-birthmother rights agenda.

UNITE with adoption resources that share ACCEPT this as our role as pro-choice
advocates.

our values; pro-choice, pro-openness, pro-diversity to build a network of support for birthmothers.

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