The ghost of abortion in adoption stories

Like many Americans, I've been developing an interest in Colin Kaepernick, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. I came across a blog post that asserted something provocative:

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick should not be playing in the National Football Conference title game on Sunday.  In fact, if anyone were taking book on these sorts of things back in 1987, they would have bet that a "Colin Kaepernick" would never have existed at all.

In the early part of that year, Kaepernick's birth mother made a culture-defying decision.  She chose not to have an abortion.  Instead, she hung in there through the pregnancy and birth and gave up her baby for adoption.

Now that my husband and I are trying to adopt, we spend a lot of time thinking about the birth mother of a prospective child and what she must be going through. One of the things you learn when you are aiming to adopt an infant from this country is, to put it bluntly, there aren't that many infants available for adoption. The process to adopt one is unbelievably cumbersome and expensive. Much more than it should be, in my opinion.

In any case, now read this story about adoptions plummeting as Russia closes its doors, printed in USA Today. It begins:

Russia's decision to close its doors to U.S. adoptions is making a critical shortage of children Americans can adopt even worse.

Later we're told:

Yet even domestic adoptions are a growing challenge, said Jenny Pope of Buckner International, an adoption agency, because as single parenthood becomes more acceptable, "there are just not as many women placing their children for adoption."

As a result, the number of U.S. infant adoptions (about 90,000 in 1971) has fallen from 22,291 in 2002 to 18,078 in 2007, according to the most recent five-year tally from the private National Council for Adoption. The group's president, Chuck Johnson, expects the number has remained fairly stable since 2007, citing efforts to promote adoption.

We frequently look at how bias affects the words and themes that are mentioned in a news story. But it has more deleterious effects with what is left out. Forty years and 55 million pregnancies "terminated" after Roe v. Wade, we don't even mention the effect of abortion in a story on infant adoption in the United States. Just fascinating.

Baby picture via Shutterstock.

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