In a compelling op-ed in Her.meneutics, Thea Ramirez writes of the need for Christians not only to be against abortion but for adoption. “Are we really for life if unwilling to help bring unwanted pregnancies to term for women who do not want to parent?,” she asks. “Could we make Roe v. Wade obsolete by raising adoption awareness? I think so.”
Thea is living-out her convictions. Last year, she founded Adoption-Share, “an independent and highly complex website meant to connect and link together all qualified parties involved in the process: birth parents, adoptive parents, and licensed private adoption entities, such as agencies and attorneys. The site functions much the same as Facebook, but is restricted to those interested in adopting.”
As an adoptive father, there is much Thea says with which I, and most adoptive parents, resonate. The world is full of orphans, and in the United States the need remains great, especially for non-infant children who deserve a loving home. There is also no question about her loyalty to the sanctity of life movement. I find myself a bit troubled, though, by this line she writes of pro-lifers: ”we are not much better (than “pro-choice” advocates) when we are only focused on being against abortion.”
The issue for me is that after 25 years in the pro-life movement, I don’t know anyone who is “only focused on being against abortion.” The fact that there are 2,300 pregnancy care centers now operating in our country, and that Evangelical Protestant and Catholic adoption services now exist within reach of the vast majority of American women, shows that professing Christians are working to put their faith into active practice.
Can believers do more for children needing homes, here in the U.S.and abroad? Yes, resoundingly. Some friends of my wife’s and mine have a bumper sticker on their car: “Empty nester? Adopt a child!” They did this in adopting their sweet little girl from Russia when their sons were in their late teens. Now, with both of their boys out of the house and on their own, their little one – one of my own daughter’s best friends – is bringing new life and joy into their home.
With that said, it is an overstatement to suggest that Roe would become “obsolete” if only women were more aware of adoption as a realistic option. Human nature being what it is, abortion will never be safe, legal and rare. We are fallen creatures, and when an avenue for ready escape from difficulty is provided to us, often we will take it, refusing to think about the consequences of our decision as long as the immediate stress is removed.
This tendency is not a gender phenomenon; rather, it is inherent in every member of Adam’s race. And it is why, without the constraints of law, abortion will remain a common option even if adoptions accelerate dramatically.
We need a both/and approach to advancing the sanctity of life: Working to protect the unborn through legislative and judicial action, and also enabling women in crisis situations to pursue adoption as the means by which to give themselves, and their unborn children, hope and a future.