Adoption vs. Abortion Myths Debunked

Former mayor Giuliani, trying to win voters for the upcoming presidential elections, is promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion. Here is an article by Lauri Frisch that addresses this issue.  

(PRWEB) April 19, 2004--If you think abortion is an emotional subject, try speaking honestly about adoption! An adoptee who speaks up with anything less than glowing terms about adoption or even mentions the mother who gave her up is frequently told she is being selfish and inconsiderate of the wonderful people who adopted her. And as for a natural mother? How dare she even make her presence known after what she did!    

But there is another reason that adoptees and natural mothers are being silenced. Many people are concerned that if the truth about adoption and it's long-term effects on the mother and child were known, the abortion rate would go up.

I got this email recently from a student:

"I just need information about adoption vs. abortion?? I know that adoption is better because you are saving an innocent babies life, but other than that I don’t know what to say..I have to do a 7-9 minute speech about adoption vs. abortion can you help me please!

Alisha Wright from Indiana, age 17"

My response:

Dear Alisha,

There are several problems with this argument about adoption vs. abortion. All Americans who care about children and want the best for them should think about this carefully.

There is never really a choice between adoption and abortion.

First, there is the option for a woman to abort a pregnancy rather than to give birth. Then later after her child is born, there is the option for her to terminate all parental rights.

The choice whether to surrender all parental rights should never be made until after her child is born and she has had the opportunity to care for her newborn son or daughter. That is not only because of the life-long problems known to result from separating them, but also because she cannot really comprehend what it will be like to be separated from her own child, what it will be like to be prevented from caring for the wrinkly alien-looking being she finds the most beautiful of all of it's kind in the world, until after that child is born.

Adoption is not better than abortion because by the time a mother's (and father's) child is born the choice is not adoption vs abortion but whether to keep and nurture her already born son or daughter or to abandon him/her legally so some other person may adopt.

Children are not well served by adoption, which provides them a divorce-like situation where they are torn between their natural families and the people adopting them. They are better off without this divorce-like situation if possible.

Pregnant mothers are being encouraged to "choose" adoption before their children are born and even to choose prospective adopters. It makes it very hard for a mother to disappoint the seemingly kind people later when she realizes she loves her child more than anything in the world and want to keep him/her. The people served by this are those hoping to adopt an infant and those who profit from adoption. The mother and child are not well served by it. Those children who truly need a home are not served by it, either.

According to statistics compiled on, the mothers whose children are adopted-out "often come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. These women come from intact families...." (Stolley, 1993). These mothers tend to be in college or college bound, responsible women who want to do what is truly best for their child. Unfortunately they are uninformed, misinformed and have no moral support from anyone due to the mistaken belief that they will soon get over the loss of their child and that their child will not know "the difference".

Babies are not saved from abortion when they are adopted because no child is ever adopted until after it is born. A pregnant woman might be best served by telling her that instead of abortion she will have the option to be supported in keeping her child (moral support, financial support from the child's father, parenting classes for both mother and father, young parents groups, and government assistance if necessary). If she does find after her child is born that she really does not want her child, she will still have the option to surrender all parental rights.

Despite the obvious that neither abortion nor adoption is ideal, unmarried mothers are frequently still unsupported (morally and otherwise) in keeping their children. Fathers are being told they can be replaced by any role-model, that their child will actually be better off without them, and so they are not encouraged to support and nurture their children.

A lack of support for unmarried mothers leads to a greater number of abortions. Statistics show that in the years following Roe v. Wade, as more mothers were supported in keeping their children rather than being forced to surrender them for adoption, the number of abortions dropped off.

Because of the misperception that they were unwanted and would have been aborted, some adoptees have been known to say they consider themselves a "nine-month abortion." This is worse than unfortunate: I cannot imagine what it would be like to feel so unwanted by the very person who more than anyone in the world was supposed to be there for you.

I hope that decent, caring people everywhere, whether they have adopted a child or not, whether they are pro-choice or pro-life, will begin to encourage all natural mothers and adoptees to tell their stories and provide insight into what can be improved about the treatment they have been given. I hope the media will ignore the guidelines given by the adoption industry for "positive adoption language" which restricts freedom of speech in the area of adoption. More than anything, I hope that churches, human rights organizations and women's groups will stand up for the rights of mothers and fathers to keep their own child.

Those mothers and fathers who are making a decision whether to keep their child or surrender their child for adoption deserve legal protections which include real information about the emotional risks to themselves, their child and other family members. They deserve to be protected from slick advertising and sales pitches from those seeking to adopt independently, from the adoption industry and from adoption lawyers. They deserve to be protected from the pressure put on them to choose prospective adopters before their child is even born which makes it very hard for them to disappoint them later.

Alisha, this would make a good school speech because it provides an insight that many people have not considered.

Good luck to you.

Laurie Frisch


Rudy Giuliani Talks Adoption Over Abortion, Pro-Life Group Doubt

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 7,

Des Moines, IA ( -- Rudy Giuliani is having a hard time capturing the support of a large segment of Republican voters in Iowa because he strongly supports legalized abortion. To offset his strident view, Giuliani pledges to promote adoption and moderate his stance so he can gain enough support to do well in the first presidential battleground.

Giuliani said on Monday in an Iowa campaign swing that he wanted to promote common ground on the issue of abortion and that he can do so with pro-life advocates by touting adoption.

"The common ground is almost all people agree that we should reduce the number of abortions as much as we can consistent with respecting people's rights and keeping government out of that kind of decision making," he explained.

"One of the ways we can do that is by increasing adoptions and making that information available so that someone has the full information and then can make a decision," Giuliani said.

“I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions and protect the quality of life of our children,” Giuliani explained.

Giuliani also said he would make permanent a $10,000 tax credit for adoption expenses.

Tom McClusky, vice president of the Family Research Council's legislative branch, told Congressional Quarterly the adoption plan "looks good on paper" but he's skeptical of Giuliani's commitment to reducing abortions.

“Rudy Giuliani was great for New York as a mayor [but] I question as a president if he would uphold the same standards that have become expected from Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan," he said.

“In the past, when he said he was trying to promote adoption, he gave money to Planned Parenthood,” McClusky said.

Giuliani has frequently trumpeted his position in favor of promoting adoptions, though statistics show he didn't necessary do much to promote them as mayor.

The mayor has previously claimed that adoptions went up 67 percent during his mayoral tenure, but the nonpartisan political watchdog Web site FactCheck said that number is inflated and put the rise at only 17 percent during his terms in office.

Although there were more adoptions during Giuliani's time in office than that of his predecessor David Dinkins, adoptions under Giuliani decreased five out of his final six years in office.

FRC's McClusky told CQ in response to the adoption numbers, “I think he’s taking credit for something he had very little to do with. Abortion did go down in the 90s, and it’s not really through any of his efforts.”

Levitating Numbers


May 7, 2007
How Giuliani made falling adoptions seem to rise using cherry-picked statistics.

In an earlier article we criticized Rudy Giuliani for saying adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent when he was mayor, when in fact adoptions at the end of his tenure were only 17 percent higher than at the start, and falling. His campaign still insists his claim is justified and offers its own interpretation of the statistical record.
In this article we offer the former mayor's rationale, along with why we believe it is a classic case of how candidates and public officials sometimes use data selectively to create a false impression.


There is no dispute about the figures — only about how Giuliani portrays them. We work from the same official figures on adoption he does, which are shown in this graph. We also agree that the proper figures to use are those covering fiscal years, as shown here, rather than calendar years. And we agree that for purposes of this discussion the "Giuliani years" (shown in red) started with fiscal 1995, which began six months after the mayor took office but coincided with the first city budget for which he was responsible. By the same token we agree the Giuliani years ended with fiscal 2002, which began six months before he left office.

Sources: Fiscal years 1989 - 2005: The New York City Administration for Children's Services
Fiscal year 2006: NYC Mayor's Office of Management: Preliminary Mayor's Management Report, February 2007; p. 35

Based on these figures, Giuliani at the Republican debate of May 3 made the statement that adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent "when I was mayor."

Giuliani: When I was mayor of New York City, I encouraged adoptions. Adoptions went up 65 to 70 percent; abortions went down 16 percent.

This raises the question, "Up, compared with what?"
It's true that yearly figures for adoptions peaked at 73 percent over his predecessor's best year, but he's not resting his claim on that. His campaign insists the 65 to 70 percent figure is a valid reflection of the record of his entire tenure — if the figures are viewed in the proper way. But viewed just about any other way, Giuliani's overall record on adoption numbers isn't as good.
A campaign official notes, quite correctly, that the total number of adoptions was 66.5 percent higher when comparing Giuliani's last six fiscal years (1996 - 2002) with the six fiscal years preceding. Why those years? The reason given to us is that the former mayor was referring to his creation of the Administration for Children's Services, an agency to protect children and encourage adoption, in 1996. The official said it is "a much more responsible statistical measurement" to compare the six years following creation of ACS with the six years that went before.

Other True Statements

That, however, doesn't give an accurate impression of what happened. It is true that there were 66.5 percent more adoptions in his last six years than there were in the preceding six, but consider this: The following statements also are true, based on the official figures that both we and the Giuliani camp accept:

  • Adoptions more than doubled in the five years prior to Giuliani.
  • Adoptions had already increased by 257 percent in the seven years
    prior to creation of ACS, the agency Giuliani credits with increasing adoptions.
  • Adoptions initially peaked, then declined by 26 percent between
    the time ACS was created and the end of Giuliani's tenure.
  • Adoptions declined in five of the mayor's last six years.
  • Adoptions have continued to decline thereafter, and in the most recent fiscal year were half what they were when ACS was created.

We take no position on whether Giuliani or ACS had one iota of influence on adoptions, for good or bad. All sorts of influences come into play that have nothing to do with government. However, the very figures Giuliani is using show that adoptions were increasing long before ACS was created, and they also show adoptions started going downhill soon after. Giuliani's cherry-picked time periods turn that fact on its head.

Official Puffery

He could have been even more misleading. We give the mayor credit for not repeating the official puffery that the ACS itself had peddled.

The agency once claimed that adoptions had "almost doubled" in the same period to which Giuliani refers. Even if the choice of time spans wasn't itself misleading, claiming that a 66.5 percent increase is "almost" 100 percent is the sort of careless exaggeration that would get a reporter reprimanded, or worse, from any responsible news organization.
We don't mean to pick exclusively on Giuliani. It's a common fault of candidates and elected officials to make grand statistical pronouncements based on figures that, when more closely examined, reveal a different picture. We dissect this bit of spin to present a case study in how this is done. Our intent is to arm our readers against what is to come.
We also want to make clear that for all we know the ACS is doing an exemplary job aiding the children of New York. We made no judgment about that. All we're saying is that in this case it exaggerated and tried to create the impression that adoptions were going up when in fact they had been going down for years.
by Brooks Jackson



New York City Mayor's Office of Management: Preliminary Mayor's Management Report, February 2007; p. 35.

New York Administration for Children's Services, Office of Research Evaluation "ACS Update Annual Report 2005," 2 Feb 2006.

New York Administration for Children's Services, figures supplied by press secretary to, 3-7 May 2007.

New York City Administration for Children's Services, "Six Years of Reform in Children's Services," October 2002.

Adoption v abortion: they both involve pain

The bitter choice facing some women is one Tony Abbott can't
understand, writes Sushi Das.

In November last year, Health Minister Tony Abbott was reported as saying: "For anyone who can't bring up a child, adoption is a very reasonable alternative. It's not pain free. It isn't only the absence, it's the prolonged feelings of guilt . . . but I suspect that it is not the same as the grief of abortion."

Perhaps a statement like this is to be expected from a man who has become one of Australia's fiercest supporters of adoption and strongest critics of abortion. But how do you weigh up the pain of adoption against the pain of abortion? Is it even possible? Is there a hierarchy of suffering?

While Abbott's reunion with his biological son, Daniel O'Connor, after 27 years is undoubtedly a matter of joy for those involved, this is not the case with many other such reunions. It is well documented that the ripple effects of adoption and reunion have a profound, complex and long-term effect on those involved. This is something that cannot be underestimated.

For anyone who has never experienced an adoption reunion or witnessed one close up, it can be hard to appreciate the pain and anguish that can exist on multiple levels and how this pain can devastate relationships.

Some years ago, a very close friend of mine, let's call him Mike, was unexpectedly contacted by his biological mother who lives in Canada. He had never intended to seek her out but he was nevertheless overjoyed that he had been "found". He discovered that his biological parents, after giving him up for adoption, had later married and had two more children. Sheer excitement and curiosity led Mike to agree to meet his parents and the brother and sister he never knew existed.

In preparation for the reunion, Mike changed his physical appearance by going to the gym every day so he could "look good" for his family.

Overnight, he stopped calling his adoptive parents "mum" and "dad" and started calling them by their first names. They were devastated. They had lovingly brought up their son, only to feel they had "lost" him after 33 years. Mike's sister (also adopted) felt jealous that he had reunited with his biological parents while she had not. There were many arguments laced with confused emotions. Sadly, they don't talk to each other any more.

After meeting his biological family, Mike said: "That was the first time I looked at another human being's face, and saw my own." He was elated, but the feeling didn't last. He became irritated and uncomfortable with his biological mother's constant pleas for forgiveness for having given him up. He was disappointed that he had failed to form a strong relationship with his biological father.

Mike's biological brother and sister fought for Mike's attention, and worried endlessly that their parents would love them less, now Mike was on the scene.

His biological sister said she had "fallen in love" with him and Mike was ill-prepared to know how to handle this unnatural affection. Mike's wife of 13 years was left out of the equation, and eventually they divorced.

And the pain goes on. Nearly every year there is tension over whether Mike should spend Christmas with his biological parents or his adoptive parents.

This is a story with a great deal of pain, and there are many others.

Abbott's story may be a happy one, but it is clear there is some underlying anguish.

In The Bulletin last week Kathy Donnelly, the mother of Abbott's son, described the longing she felt for years after giving up her baby. "It became clear that I was hoping that if I had enough children, it would fill the space," she said.

It was also reported that one of the children from Donnelly's current relationship was "grief-stricken" after a fruitless search on the internet for her long-lost brother. And it was sad to learn that when Abbott told his children he hoped they didn't mind that he had been speaking to his lost son, his 13-year-old daughter Francine said: "That's all right, daddy, as long as it doesn't mean you love us less."

And then there is pain in Daniel O'Connor's own words: "I do feel a bit of grief for what I haven't had," he said.

Abbott has admitted that he was too immature to take on parenthood when Daniel O'Connor was given up for adoption. It is worth remembering there are also many women who don't feel ready for parenthood when they discover they are pregnant. Unlike Abbott, some do not feel adoption is a "very reasonable alternative".

Abbott told The Bulletin: "What I didn't understand then, and probably to this day don't fully understand, is just what a powerfully emotional thing it is for a woman to have a baby."

Without an understanding of what being pregnant means to a woman, what right does he have to advocate so forcefully the merits or demerits of adoption and abortion?

Sushi Das is an Age journalist.



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