Thursday, March 19, 2009

To everyone who ever asked me

"Why don't you just adopt?"

I come down on the pro-life side of the abortion continuum, if mildly so. Obviously, I am less than hardcore, as I was prepared to proceed to IVF, and got up-close-and-personal with the possiblity of high-order multiples and of serious genetic defects. I would not, I think, have chosen termination under either circumstance, and I am sure that I would have gone down the embryo-adoption path had it come to that; but I've at least thought it through enough to know that I am somewhat mushier on the subject than, say, the Catholic Church. However, I have much greater reservations about ending pregnancies which are merely unwanted due to age or circumstance, which don't fall into those exceptional categories or involve rape, incest, or maternal health.

That doesn't mean I can wave my hands and talk about how adoption is always such a wonderful alternative. It can be, under some circumstances, and under others, it can be hideously damaging. We most likely would not have considered adoption, although you never know until you get there, and this article illuminates one of my major reservations. I have deep misgivings about taking another woman's baby just because I happen to be wealthier and have a broken reproductive system. It's one thing if we're talking about babies who are already in a foreign orphanage or the foster-care system, and another thing entirely when the baby's mother isn't out of the picture before the subject of adoption arises.

There are no easy answers, and I think it's important for pro-lifers to understand that adoption is not a panacea. It's possible to believe that an unborn baby's right to life is important, while acknowledging the real consequences of that belief. Rights are about more than just the least-unpleasant alternative, but that doesn't mean you get to pretend the collateral damage doesn't exist.

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