Although some pregnant individual who goes through the adoption process decided not to get an abortion due to religious or personal reasons, most pregnant women end going to the route of adoption because they were too late for an abortion, didn’t know where to get one, or didn’t have the money to cover the cost. Needless to say, they knew they couldn’t be parents to a child, and without the access to a safe and legal abortion, adoption was the mother’s last resort. Certainly, for all pregnant women, adoption is not a reasonable option because some may imperil their health carrying a baby to term, many believe that it is immoral to compel a woman to carry a pregnancy she does not want, especially if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.
But even among those who can carry a child to term, adoption is a remarkably unpopular course of action. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that among never-married women, “about 9 percent chose adoption before 1973,” (Khazan) when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Many people see giving up their newborn babies as more emotionally painful experience than terminating their pregnancies. Uniformly, the birth mothers experience grief after placement. It’s a very hard choice and one that a lot of women are not interested in making. If women decided to go through the adoption route, they have to undergo nine months of pregnancy, withstand inquiries from everyone about their plans for the baby, and even do their best to make sure that their child ends up with loving parents. Even if their baby ends up in good homes and gives joy to new parents, the process also nearly always involved long-term sadness, anxiety, and guilt to the mothers.
Experts have also found that many biological parents who place their children for adoption go through an enormous grieving process. In one study cited by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, “three-quarters of birth mothers still experienced feelings of loss 12 to 20 years after placing their newborns,” (Bencanann) It is important to know that not all newborn babies immediately find a family and can go to foster care, and a lot of children already in foster care are victims of either sever abuse and/or neglect perpetrated by their parent/guardian. If we continue to make abortions harder to obtain without funding social services for new parents, more children will inevitably wind up in these systems of foster care, which cannot provide the kind of services in finding permanent homes for them. There are currently close to 400,000 children in state custody and only half of them have permanent plans for placement, this can lead to children feeling a sense of being unwanted. Together, the results suggest that if the rate of unintended pregnancies remains constant, but abortion restrictions are tightened, the U.S. won’t necessarily see a spike in domestic adoptions. Instead, there are likely to be more mothers who initially didn’t want to give birth to their babies, but decide to raise them, nonetheless.