Have you ever thought about asking an adoptee how they feel about the abortion vs. adoption debate? You would think that their opinion would matter. People do not think to ask us adoptees how we feel about this situation. For years, I believed firmly in the pro choice movement. I believed that women had the right to choose over one’s body. I do still feel that way but my attitude has been tempered by my experience as an adoptee in the United States. I am a 1965 domestic model adoptee created in Indiana.
Why has my attitude changed? I have always taken precaution in my sexuality. My adoptive mother was a firm believer in sex education. I was always on birth control. I even had my first pelvic examination before I was sexually active. The foremothers of this country fought for that right for me. I took advantage of it. I believe now that abortion, adoption, and safe havens are a way to get rid of the problem. I am the problem. I am the end result of those illicit affairs that many men and women have had. I feel that both men and women should be responsible for their reproductive health. If you decide to have sex, you should handle the responsibility that is inherent with that decision. This applies to both MEN and women. So many times a woman is blamed for being pregnant. She did not get there by herself. She had help. Men should also be taught to be responsible.
With all of this being said, the anti choice folks would have you believe that a fetus is being denied life by being aborted. They claim that adoption is the answer to the problem. Well we played that game up until Roe vs. Wade. You can read all about that era in Ann Fessler’s book, The Girls Who Went Away. You can read how those situations hurt those women in that book. You can also read where many women from then and still today are being denied due process of their rights in the article, Due Process in Adoption? Hardly by William H. Mild. He brings up a very very valid point. When a mother relinquishes her child, she not only relinquishes her rights but also the rights of her child. Many of these mothers were not aware of this issue then and even to this day. Anti choice advocates want women making the choice to abort to be fully informed of the risks involved. This process however is not done for adoption. Many of the mothers in the past and today are not being told of the risks involved in adoption. It is long past time for it to be done.
While a fetus is denied life, an adoptee is denied their liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Adoptees did not agree to this agreement. They have been forced to accept it. They are denied access to the most intimate details of their beginnings. Every non adopted person has access to their truthful birth information. The adoptee does not. The adoptee is expected to honor an agreement made on his/her behalf well past adulthood. The adoptee is expected to be grateful that they were adopted and not aborted. They are expected to be happy that they were not dumped in a dumpster. We did not contribute to the decisions on our behalf. We are not allowed to know the process of those decisions made on our behalf. We are not allowed to see the documents showing that process.
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The peanut gallery is already gathering at this point. What about “birthmother” privacy? Many of the mothers prior to Roe vs. Wade did not want that privacy. Most do not want it now. It is forced upon them just as it is forced upon adoptees. The mothers from that time frame were threatened with criminal repercussions if they searched for their child. Many of these mothers were also told to move on and forget that this ever happened. That was the confidentiality. There has not ever been a single relinquishment form with this guarantee. Adoption agencies were not representatives of the state governments. They did not have the authority to act on the behalf of the state governments. The state governments are not required to honor agreements made by an adoption agency.
One of the issues of Roe vs. Wade was privacy and the matter of government interference. The government is not allowed to interfere with the private lives of its people. The government is,however, interfering with the privacy of adoptees. Every American citizen is guaranteed access to the documents that the government has on its people, according to the United States Privacy Act of 1974. The only exception is adoption. An infant can not agree to a contract. A child can not even enter a contract until the age of majority. If a contract is entered into on the behalf of a child, that contract is dissolved at the age of majority. The only exception is adoption.
In every state, a relinquishing parent is divested of their rights. They do not get new ones in the process. They should not get special immunities and privileges because of adoption. In many states, this is in direct violation of the state’s constitution and Bill of Rights. If they have the right to deny an adoptee’s right to access their original birth certificate, then they must still have some parental rights in place. This would allow a relinquishing parent to contest an adoption.; however no parent has the right to deny their grown son or daughter access to their birth certificate. The exception is adoption.
What about an increase in abortions? According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, women are more likely to abort because of the sealed original birth certificates. Women do not want to spend the rest of their lives never knowing their child and if that child is alive and well. Here is a question for you to ponder. Why are we holding adoptees accountable for the future reproductive choices of American women? Women feel that it is more responsible to abort a baby than to live in that kind of pain. With states that have restored the adoptee’s right to access, abortions have decreased by ten percent and adoptions have increased.
With all of this information, one would think that people would ask an adoptee how they feel about this argument. No one, however, wants to hear our stories, our battles, and our issues. We live in a country that is in love with adoption. We need to stop however and think about the child. We need to make adoption about the child and his rights. It is time to restore their humanity, their heritage, and their identity to them.