I used to work in the pro-choice movement. I loved it, and I’m still proud of the years I spent doing that work professionally and as a volunteer.
When I was on the board of a local abortion fund, raising money to give small grants to women who had chosen to terminate their pregnancy but couldn’t pay for it, we talked all the time about how many women were making enormously meaningful decisions based on having or not having ridiculously small amounts of money – sometimes as little as $50 for a bus ticket to get to a clinic in the next county over or $100 for a half day of childcare.
The money was what we were focused on, but of course it was just a stand-in for the real issue, which is coercion. A person who has support from partner or family or friends in her decision about what to do about a pregnancy but who has to make that decision based on money has still been coerced by her community’s failure to support her adequately, in whatever way that means (yeah, I’m a socialist).
Some women who we couldn’t help told us that they would have to relinquish their baby because they didn’t have any other options to pay for termination but woudn’t or couldn’t parent. Most of these women we spoke with were very early in their pregnancy, so I couldn’t tell you what they decided to do in the end. But the idea that the decision was based on something so stupid (though so real) as money was wrenching.
It never occured to me until we started the process to adopt that someday I would look at adoption the same way. Roo’s first family would never have relinquished him if their community had supported them better. It’s so obvious to me what should have been different for them, but it would take a sea change to get that support into place for them and for all the other first parents who relinquished because they didn’t – or felt they didn’t – have the resources (tangible or emotional) to parent.
I’me very proud to be both pro-choice and an adoptive parent. It feels like putting my money where my mouth is, in some ways. But the more I learn, the more it starts to feel like I’m barely scratching the surface.
Just something I’ve been thinking about.