What You Need to Know to Choose Between Adoption vs. Abortion

How to Decide What’s Right for You

When parenting isn’t an option anymore, the choices seem to typically become abortion and adoption. Admitting you are in a place where you unable to parent takes a lot of courage and strength. It requires an acceptance of the resources you may be lacking, and that takes great maturity.

It also takes great maturity and careful consideration to decide between adoption vs. abortion. In this article, find some information that can help you decide what’s best for you: having an abortion, or keeping your baby and placing him or her for adoption.

Some Abortion History

The landmark 1973 Supreme Court abortion case, Roe vs. Wade, opened the door to abortion “outside of the closet” for women, while Planned Parenthood made it a medically safe option as well. Today, the political scene is still hot regarding how much choice a woman has when it comes to abortion.

Before Roe v. Wade

Before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in all 50 states, access to abortion was extremely limited — but that doesn’t mean the procedure wasn’t happening.

“We saw a lot of the complications in the hospitals. I was a doctor in training. Women came in bleeding, with fever, with incomplete evacuations, with perforations,” says Dr. Curtis Boyd, an OBGYN who performed illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. “Some of them were quite ill and occasionally someone died. We thought a lot of these were spontaneous abortions — we didn’t realize all of them were induced. The only reason we know that now is that when abortion was legalized, these cases disappeared.”

Dr. Boyd estimates that in the years prior to Roe v. Wade,  there were likely more than a million illegal abortions being provided each year in the United States. When the procedure was legalized, it did not actually increase the number of abortions — it just decreased the complication rate.

“Today, we’ve made it one of the safest medical procedures that there is,” he says.

What Did Roe v. Wade Do?

Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, state laws determined when and whether abortion was legal. Following Roe v. Wade, those state laws were overturned. According to Women’s History Expert Jone Johnson Lewis:

“All state laws limiting women’s access to abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy were invalidated by Roe v. Wade. State laws limiting such access during the second trimester were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, which was not legal at all in many states and was limited by law in others.”

What Does All This Mean?

Abortion is legal. If it is your choice to have an abortion performed, there are medical doctors who can safely perform them, as well as clinics like Planned Parenthood.

However, abortion is not the only answer to an unplanned pregnancy. There are several alternative options to abortion, as well as additional factors to consider as you make your abortion vs. adoption decision.

Abortion or Adoption: Things to Consider

There are consequences and benefits of the decisions that we make. The costs of one choice may be more than what we gain by making another choice, and vice versa. This is true when it comes to deciding between adoption or abortion. When making such a heavy decision, please consider the benefits and the costs of your abortion or adoption choice.

The Costs of Abortion, Adoption or Keeping the Baby

It is a common question for women considering their pregnancy options: How much money does an abortion cost?

The typical cost of a first-trimester abortion runs between $350 and $550, depending on subsidies, the method used, and other variables, such as cost of living. A 2001 study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute found that on average, nonhospital abortion providers charged $468 for a surgical abortion, but that the average amount paid for an abortion (due to subsidies) was $372.

The Guttmacher Institute has also found that 87 percent of private health care plans cover abortion services. However, because many women seeking abortion have substandard plans, less than half are covered by policies that include abortion.

Additionally, second-trimester abortions tend to be even more expensive than early pregnancy abortions. In some cases, later-term abortions can cost up to $2,000.

These costs lead many expectant mothers to wonder: Are there options other than abortion that are more affordable?

What Else Does This Mean?

If we are looking at financial figures only, abortions may be a realistic choice for those who know that parenting is not an option for them. However, there are more costs involved in having an abortion performed than just the financial ones. There are emotional costs as well.

A survey was conducted in 1999 to look at the emotional costs of abortion. 260 women were surveyed. These women had chosen abortion about 10 years prior to the survey being conducted. They had 10 years to heal, yet the survey results show that the long-term emotional costs of abortion are very real.

The women surveyed reported:

  • Emotional deadening – The survey defines emotional deadening as “either feeling less in touch with their emotions or feeling a “need to stifle their emotions.” 92 percent of the women who responded to the survey reported experiencing this.
  • Anger and Rage – Of the women surveyed, 86 percent reported having an increased tendency toward anger and rage. 48 percent of them even claimed that the anger made them more violent when it came over them.
  • Live in Hiding – Fear is a terrible experience for anyone in any situation. It can be motivating or crippling. Fear gripped 86 percent of the women surveyed. Most of those reporting fear were afraid others would find out about their choice for abortion when they didn’t want it known.
  • Loneliness – Loneliness is an emotion that I personally cannot stand. It swallowed me for a period after I chose adoption, so I can relate to the 82 percent of women in the survey who reported feeling loneliness following their abortion.
  • Denial – Denial is a common step in the acceptance process of grief. There is no perfect formula for how any individual may experience grief, or in what order of emotions the individual will experience it. 63 percent of the women in this study reported experiencing the stage of denial for an average of five years.
  • The End of It All – As if the emotional costs of abortion didn’t already seem high enough, I find this statistic the most upsetting: 56 percent of the women reported suicidal thoughts, while 28 percent of the 260 women surveyed had attempted suicide.

Will You Regret Choosing Abortion Over Adoption?

Unfortunately, while abortion may seem like an easier solution to an unplanned pregnancy, it depends on how you view a fetus. Is it a life? Or is it an organism? Pro-life and pro-choice discussions are inevitable when it comes to deciding between abortion and adoption.

Ultimately, this decision lies with the woman who is pregnant — and it truly is a choice that belongs to no one else.

My Honesty: Why I Chose Adoption Instead of Abortion

My opinion on abortion is based in my faith. Your adoption vs. abortion decision will be based on your foundation of values as well. I think that is what pro-choice and pro-life politicians forget when it comes to making decisions regarding abortion: it’s not about pushing our individual beliefs on someone else.

There is a right and a wrong, but that remains different for every woman to determine for herself. I have no right, and neither does anyone else, to tell a woman what to do with her child. While I would encourage every woman to consider adoption instead of abortion, it’s not my business to tell you which option is best in your individual circumstances.

I told myself for years that abortion was a choice for me. I told myself that if I was pregnant at a young age, or before I was ready to be a mother, that I would choose abortion.

But upon learning of my pregnancy, abortion was no longer an option for me. I immediately felt attached to the life that was growing inside of my body. I saw it as a life. I wasn’t emotionally detached like I had thought I would have been. Instead, I chose to keep my baby and tried to parent for six months before choosing adoption.

I lost almost everything in the process; many family members disowned me. I was kicked out of the home and family I was living with. Emotionally, I felt an emptiness due to my losses. I understand the great sacrifice that comes with your entire world being flipped upside down due to an unplanned pregnancy. I am speaking from experience.

However, I had a spiritual peace that washed over me. I knew that adoption was the right decision for myself and for my child.

If you choose abortion, please know that I do not condemn you for it, hold it against you, or feel any differently regarding who you are as a person. We all have hard choices to make every day, and only the woman who is facing this decision can grasp the deep reality of its implications. I implore you to seriously consider all of your unplanned pregnancy options, including some of the alternatives to abortion. Once choosing abortion, that’s it. There are no more options after abortion. It’s one of the very few choices in life that cannot be undone, no matter how much we might wish it.

Is it possible to choose abortion and then move on with your life as if you never experienced an unplanned pregnancy? If you feel like that will not be possible for you, I ask you to consider one of the options besides abortion that leaves choices for the future, and a life unharmed: adoption.

Adoption, regardless of whether it is closed, open or semi-open, leaves options for the future. Yes, there will be sacrifices you must make, but that is part of life. We must make sacrifices in our lives. If we allow ourselves to be led by momentary feelings, the long-term emotion that may come with our decision is probably not going to be what we ultimately want for ourselves.

If you want to choose abortion, make sure you are certain, because there is no going back.

When Abortion Is an Option

Every situation is unique. You cannot judge a book by its cover, and you cannot judge a woman’s unplanned pregnancy choice based on others’ beliefs. Parenting when facing an unplanned pregnancy may seem like an impossible option. If the options are adoption vs. abortion, then the facts of the entire situation must be analyzed. For example, one woman may have serious health risks with a pregnancy, while another woman may feel that her world has ended and abortion may be her only option.

I think it’s important to mention that I faced a lot of resistance when I chose adoption. Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy was hard enough, but finding resources to keep my baby throughout an unplanned pregnancy was no easy feat.

Tips for Support and Reflection

If you find you are in a situation where you know that parenting isn’t an option, but you don’t know if you should choose abortion or adoption, here are some tips that might help you make an educated and convicted decision:

  • Educate yourself on the pros and cons of abortion. There are plenty of pregnancy centers across the country who would be happy to discuss this with you. Specifically, Care Pregnancy Centers will be able to help educate you.
  • If the reason you feel trapped is a lack of resources, check out resources in your area. You may be surprised at the help you find. I especially recommended checking out local churches, as they are typically willing to help those who have unplanned pregnancies navigate through the emotions and decision-making process.
  • Take a serious look at adoption and other alternatives to abortion. Be careful what you read online when it comes to any topic, though, because there is good information as well as bad opinions all over the internet. Call your local adoption agency, or check out a national adoption agency. There are mentor lists of women you can call who have chosen adoption who can tell you what that choice is like. There are agents at adoption organizations happy to help answer any questions that you may have as well.
  • Think long-term: don’t decide right now based on temporary relief that may hold consequences that cannot be resolved.
  • Consider what you believe you will be able to heal through. There are many organizations that exist to help guide women throughout either the choice of abortion or adoption. While birth mother resources may seem few and far between, there are so many more support groups popping up across the country. This group is bringing care packages to birth mothers who chose adoption and supporting them in their healing process.
  • Get involved in a support system, whether it be a church or local community organization, that can discuss your options with you. Counseling is available through a plethora of organizations that offer income-based therapy services. While therapy may seem like a typical suggestion, an unbiased opinion can help you put your situation into true perspective and help you see that your situation does leave choices.
  • Take time for yourself to assess your options. Unplug, unwind, and try to look at what your heart truly desires. Everyone you talk to will have an opinion on what option would be best suited for someone is your situation, but only you truly understand all the complicated dynamics in such a situation. If there is a way for you to eliminate influence and steal some moments for perspective, take an honest look at what you truly desire your choice to be.

My conclusion is this: if you are looking at your options when parenting is no longer an option, ask yourself what is truly appropriate for your own unique situation. Once you have decided, make sure you are convicted.

If you find that you are unsure as to what to do, please consider what you are willing to sacrifice, and what you are willing to heal through. As a woman who got through what seemed like an impossible situation, I can tell you that you will get through this. While there may be moments that you completely fall apart and may not know how to go on, I know that mustering up strength and courage is rooted in a love for the being inside of you and the spirit that lives in all of us. Don’t give up. Don’t be disheartened. Take comfort in knowing that you are never alone. Be peaceful in the knowledge that you are not the first woman who has had to make this decision.

About the Author

Lindsay Arielle has been a proud birth mother since placing her son for adoption in 2011. Her post-placement agreement has always been an open adoption. She loves the time she gets to spend with her son and his parents during visits. Lindsay truly believes that for herself and her family, adoption has been a blessing, and she enjoys writing about spiritual healing for birth mothers.

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