"Choose Life" License Plates are Misleading

Pro-choice advocates are taking exception to "Choose Life" license plates because the opposing political viewpoint "Pro-Choice" is being disallowed. But even from the pro-life standpoint, the proceeds from these tags are being misspent.

Marion, IA (PRWEB) May 25, 2004 -- In Manatee County, Florida county commissioners argued whether the funds raised from the sale of "Choose Life" license plates could be used by agencies that did not provide adoption services exclusively. The issue was not that the agencies provided abortion services of any kind but only that these agencies included services to help mothers and families who want to keep their babies. The end result of the discussions was that no funding was allocated to help keep families together. The message to women who fear they may not receive moral or other support as a mother is this: Get an abortion or you may have to watch your own son or daughter being raised by someone else.

The lifelong effects on adoptees and on mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to adoption are known, but not well advertised. Perhaps the most telling evidence of the suffering a family that loses a child to adoption is that these families tend to keep any subsequent children. According to statistics compiled on the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website, most of the mothers whose children are adopted-out "… come from intact families…which have not experienced teenage pregnancies by other family members." (Stolley, 1993)

In her paper "Adoption and Loss: The Hidden Grief" available on line, social worker Evelyn Burns Robinson compares adoption grief to Kenneth Doka's concept of disenfranchised grief which occurs when a loss is not recognized or socially supported: "Doka says that people who have experienced any type of loss often feel anger, guilt, sadness, depression, hopelessness and numbness and that in cases of disenfranchised grief, these feelings can persist for a very long time… mourners whose grief is disenfranchised are by virtue of this cut off from social supports and so have few opportunities to express and resolve their grief and the result can be that they feel alienated from their community."

Robinson states: "Mothers who have lost children through adoption … tend, in the main, to report that their sadness and anger have increased with time."

Many people may not know that in adoption, loss is experienced by the natural parents, the adopters and by the adoptee. In an address for Catholic Charities USA's 1996 National Maternity and Adoption Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Catholic Priest and adoptee Rev. Thomas F. Brosnan discussed these losses and stated: "In my biased opinion the greatest Loss is suffered by the adopted person."

Don't children deserve a chance to remain with their mothers and their natural families? Using the "child needs two married parents" argument is a bit weak in this era. Couples divorce and that certainly includes those who adopt, who frequently have issues in their relationship related to their infertility problems. At the same time unmarried mothers often marry within a few years after their child is born, sometimes to their child's real father. That's true whether the child is kept or adopted-out. Even if they never marry, a child's mother and father are still his/her mother and father. The kept child will have not only his/her own mother, but will most likely have his/her father, grandparents and plenty of other family to love him/her.

With people who are past retirement age and single people adopting, who can blindly assert that children will be "better off" with strangers than with their own family?

Some of the funds from the license plate sales are going towards maternity homes, which the supporters call a "safe haven" for women. Evidently a "safe haven" for women is a lot like a cage for a chicken where the eggs all roll to the front where they can be easily collected and neither the chicken nor the egg gets a choice. Yes, there are maternity homes that promote choices: The choices they provide are the selection of prospective adopters from a listing of advertisements provided to a frightened mother and possibly also to her child's father. Like most ads, there's lots of sales pitch and very little reality involved. Most other parents get more real information in advance about a baby-sitter than these naïve parents are allowed to have about someone who may become a permanent caregiver for their child.

A temporary situation can be overcome and should never become an excuse for an agency or anyone else to jump in and take someone's child. There is ample evidence that indicates a very high emotional risk for mothers and their children separated by adoption.    

I hope those who contribute to these license plates will discontinue their support unless the money starts going towards something other than separating family members to obtain babies. No one owes his or her child to anyone.

Laurie Frisch
Marion, IA


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