By Stephen Story
The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission recently approved a conditional use permit for an abortion provider based in Atlanta to open an office in Macon.
For decades Macon has been spared from the scourge of abortion within its boundaries. It appears this is about to change, and abortion is a reality that the middle Georgia community must confront.
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute studied the motivations of women who chose abortion. The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74 percent) and the inability to afford raising a child (73 percent). These motivations are real and understandable, but abortion is not the only solution.
Try as we may, there’s one central issue we can’t avoid: Abortion is a violence that ends the life of real people. They might be tiny, helpless and hidden from view, but they are people, just like us.
Adoption provides a better way. Adoption makes the well-being of the child central, rather than forcing it aside. Adoption builds families, rather than destroying them. Adoption protects life, rather than ending it. Adoption is a real and viable alternative to abortion.
Postmodern dogma notwithstanding, most people know intuitively that one path is better than the other. The objections are predictable, ill-informed and easily answered.
“Adoption is too expensive!” It’s actually free for a woman to place her child for adoption, making it more affordable than abortion. Tax credits and grants abound to assist adoptive families with their fees.
“What about kids in foster care!” That’s a real problem, but a separate issue. We’re talking about infants voluntarily placed for adoption, not those removed from their families by the state.
“No one will adopt these children if we let them be born!” The truth is, for years adoption agencies have been unable to serve the scores of families willing to adopt infants. Our agency has had the joy of watching families gladly adopt children who were conceived in rape, survived abortion, were born addicted, or are suffering severe disabilities.
Nevertheless, abortion vastly outnumbers adoption by any reckoning.
In 2014 there were 30,013 abortions compared to 381 infant adoptions in Georgia. This means that for every one couple voluntarily placing their newborn child for adoption, there are 82 opting for abortion. Even without a local abortion provider, a stunning 19.7 percent of pregnancies in Macon-Bibb County end in abortion.
The reasons for the imbalance are many, but adoption never will overtake abortion unless we experience a radical cultural shift in how we think and talk about those who choose adoption.
A recent study by the University of Texas at Arlington found that many birth mothers experience isolation, stigmatization and a lack of social and emotional support, both during pregnancy and after adoption.
We see this daily at Covenant Care: Women are pressured and even coerced toward abortion, and shunned or outright mocked for choosing adoption. We recently served a woman who was kicked out of her family’s house for choosing adoption over abortion!
Adoption isn’t easy. If we want to see its numbers grow, we must celebrate and support those who choose this option.
While abortion is a one-time decision often made early in pregnancy, adoption is a choice that must be pursued day after day during months of pregnancy, through labor and delivery, while choosing an adoptive family and signing legal paperwork, and during the state-mandated revocation period.
Yet in most cases that months-long path is lined with people who encourage anything other than adoption: friends who insist, “You can’t give away your own flesh and blood. Just have an abortion”; co-workers who second-guess, “Don’t you love your baby?”; well-meaning hospital staff who assume something shady must be going on to cause a pregnant woman to make such a painful decision.
One of Covenant Care’s clients, Grace, explains her decision simply: “Adoption is something that you do out of love because you want something better.”
She is sometimes frustrated that those around her whisper about adoption and are afraid to talk openly about the decision she made.
Another birth mom, Katie, pushes back against the notion that birthmothers “give up” their babies because they don’t love them.“I love my baby so much,” Katie says. “I didn’t give her up; I let her go.”
What if we take their perspective at face value? What if there really are women and men who love their children enough to give them life, even amid difficult circumstances? What if these couples sacrificially surrender their rights as parents for the good of their child? How should we treat and talk about those who have made this decision?
Abortion flies in the face of everything good and beautiful we want this city to be. Don’t we instead want Macon to be a community that embraces and encourages those who courageously choose adoption?
My wife and I are forever indebted to the birth parents of our three children. They are people to be respected and honored, as is every person God has created – even those who are hidden from our sight.
Check out these stories of people whose lives have been forever changed by adoption.
This column appeared in the June 3, 2018, edition of The Macon Telegraph.