In every era, there’s been a tragic contrast between the burden of unwanted pregnancies and the burden of infertility. But this gap used to be bridged by adoption far more frequently than it is today. Prior to 1973, 20 percent of births to white, unmarried women (and 9 percent of unwed births over all) led to an adoption. Today, just 1 percent of babies born to unwed mothers are adopted, and would-be adoptive parents face a waiting list that has lengthened beyond reason.
The great gulf between those who desire children and cannot have them biologically and those who conceive children but do not want them may vary over time and place. But what marks a civilization, in my view, is how we handle this chasm. Do we simply throw the unwanted away? Do we make every effort to find them homes? How do we practically facilitate this?
If the pro-life movement dedicated its every moment not to criminalizing abortion but to expanding adoption opportunities, it would win many more converts.
At the point where international adoptions have increased to a quarter of all adoptions, and kids with special health needs make up a substantial fraction of the children adopted (ranging from 30 percent of international adoptions, to 55 percent of adoptions from foster care), I think we can say that the demand side has been taken care of. And as far as I know, pro-lifers are doing what they can on the supply side–in terms of building institutions that help women carry a pregnancy to term. I find it far-fetched that women are having abortions because no one is willing to help them give the baby up for adoption–there are lots of people and agencies that will not only help them, but pay a substantial portion of their expenses until they deliver. They’re having abortions because pregnancy is physically uncomfortable, and there’s still a social stigma on women who carry a baby to term in order to give it away.