It is not uncommon for women facing an unplanned pregnancy to feel like there is only one option. Some women may feel pressured into parenting their baby. Others may feel pressured, perhaps by the biological father, to terminate their pregnancy. If you are in this fragile position, it is important to know that other options are available.
Perhaps you are aware of your options, but would like to explore them further. You may feel as though you are not in the position to raise a child at this time, and as a result, would like to learn more about adoption and abortion. What is the difference between these two options? How can you know which is the right choice for you? This is a very personal decision to make, and one that is ultimately up to you. As an expectant mother, you know what is best for you and your baby. However, there is help and support to guide you through this choice.
Below, Adoptions With Love explains both abortion and adoption, as well as some key considerations, for women facing an unplanned pregnancy and unsure of what to do.
The choice of abortion means the termination of an early pregnancy, typically in the first 16 weeks. It is a fairly common among expectant mothers. In fact, one in four women in the U.S. have an abortion by age 45.
Women may choose to end their unintended pregnancy via abortion for a variety of reasons. Some are victims of sexual assault, or have a threatening relationship with the baby’s biological father. Others just do not feel ready to raise a child at this time in their lives. If you are considering abortion, it is important to first speak with your doctor or a trained professional at a health clinic, such as Planned Parenthood, to learn more about the outcomes and risks. It can also be beneficial to speak with someone who has had an abortion, or someone who has considered it when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
Another important consideration is your timeline. How far along are you in your pregnancy, and is abortion a viable option for you? Generally speaking, an abortion is usually performed within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. The timeframe in which you have to determine your choice depends on your state laws, which vary. Timelines can also vary depending on the type of abortion you wish to pursue.
There are two methods for abortion: in-clinic abortion and medication abortion. Medication abortion, also known as the “abortion pill,” is prescribed by a trained doctor to end pregnancy. This option is only possible if taken within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Some choose this path for abortion to be able to end the pregnancy in the privacy of their own home.
An in-clinic abortion, also called “surgical abortion,” is performed by a trained doctor or nurse at a healthcare facility. Some opt for this procedure because it is faster; an in-clinic procedure takes 5-10 minutes, while the abortion pill can take up to 24 hours to be effective. Some women also feel more comfortable going this route knowing a trained professional is overseeing everything happening. Both methods are considered safe.
Abortion is often the quickest way to handle an unplanned pregnancy, but it is by no means the easiest. With any decision you make, whether adoption or abortion, there are lifelong emotions and experiences you will need to work through – for instance, you may grieve the loss of your baby. This is normal and should be prepared for as you explore your options. Talk to a counselor or clinician who understands these implications and who can help you even after the procedure (or placement) occurs.
Just like any decision you make when it comes to your pregnancy, you should never feel pressured into having an abortion. Remember that you are in charge of your body, and no one else can make this decision for you. It is also important to remember, particularly when you are unsure of what to do, that abortion is not your only option.
For many women, adoption can be a positive choice, especially those who do not wish to or do not believe in terminating a pregnancy. Each year, 14,000 women in the United States consider placing their babies for adoption. Approximately one-third of women with an unplanned pregnancy want to learn more about this selfless choice. Many young women and the fathers of their children, however, do not know much about adoption.
It is important to know that adoption is not the taboo, secretive choice it once was. The vast majority of children know they are adopted. In fact, many adopted children today know who their birth parents are, and have good relationships with them. That is because modern-day adoptions are usually some form of open adoptions.
Open adoption – now offered by 95 percent of U.S. adoption agencies today – means that birth mothers have ongoing communication with their child’s adoptive family. The frequency and form of contact (such as email, phone calls, letters, or in-person visits) is different for everyone and is usually determined by the birth mother. This concept of openness gives birth mothers peace of mind in their decision to place baby for adoption, since they can see how their child is doing and growing over the years. In fact, two-thirds of birth mothers in open adoptions today feel certain they would make the same decision today.
Another positive aspect of adoption is that most birth mothers today choose the adoptive family for their child. Should you decide you would like to make an adoption plan for your baby, you will be able to hand-pick the family to love and raise your child.
Many expectant/birth mothers choose adoption in their child’s best interests. Adoption is not an easy decision to make. It requires a great amount of strength and selflessness to put a child’s needs above your own, and to find your baby another loving home. Some women choose adoption because they are not ready to become a parent, but also do not believe in terminating a pregnancy. The reasons for choosing adoption are different for everyone.
There is no time-crunch when it comes to making the decision to place your baby for adoption. You can – and should – take all of the time you need. You can start an adoption plan as soon as you find out you are pregnant, in your third trimester, or even after your baby is born. Today, all states require birth mothers to wait until after birth before finalizing any adoption papers.
Unplanned pregnancy is a crisis and an emotional experience. Making an adoption plan for your baby will require much consideration. In choosing adoption, you would have to prepare yourself for the emotions and physical challenges of pregnancy and postpartum recovery, and the emotions that follow after your baby is placed. Social workers at your chosen adoption agency, such as Adoptions With Love, can help you navigate the journey. Adoptions With Love offers free counseling services for women who are exploring adoption.
If you are weighing your adoption and abortion options, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. Our conversations with expectant/birth mothers are confidential and pressure-free. This is your choice, and we will respect any choice that you make.
Learn more about your pregnancy options by reading our free “Guide to Pregnancy & Adoption Options” below.