Will Adoption Rates Spike if Abortion Becomes Illegal?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes.

Stephanie Wilkerson from the Evangelical Outpost blog posted a piece this morning titled “Practical Love in the Pro-Life Fight.” It’s worth reading although I know many of my readers will disagree with Stephanie’s second point.

Stephanie’s thesis is that pro-life Christians need to commit to:

  1. be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to participate in adoption;
  2. reconsider our methods of sex-education;
  3. learn to love the women who are considering or who have had abortions.

I want to make a comment about her first point, because I know people who are pro-choice solely because they’re concerned about the social ramifications of making abortion illegal before we are setup to take care of the children that would be born who would have otherwise been aborted. I absolutely agree with Stephanie that we should encourage Christians to adopt more, but I think there are more factors that would influence how many newborns would be available for adoption in a post-abortion America than she covered.

I suspect in a post-abortion country, (or more likely, a state that makes abortion illegal after Roe is overturned,) many people will actively work harder to not get pregnant. Some people will take birth control use more seriously. Some may abstain from intercourse if they really feel like an unplanned pregnancy would be a major disruption to their lives. Right now abortion can be thought of as a very late form of birth control. I’m not saying lots of women USE abortion as a form of birth control, (although some demonstrably do,) but that one of the things that may factor into a persons sexual decisions is the availability of abortion if birth control fails. Obviously some single people will still engage in premarital sexual activity, but I suspect that activity would be reduced, because life without abortion would be different.

I also suspect that most of the people that would get pregnant would choose to parent as opposed to gifting their child for adoption. We actually see this now, and I don’t know why it would drastically change. Many people feel like it’s morally wrong to choose adoption, often because they are confusing newborn adoption with the foster care system. Some simply don’t want to go through the emotional pain of carrying a child to term and then giving the child to somebody else, even if the adopting couple is clearly in a better position to care for this child.

So, yes, we need to keep pushing adoption, and I’m grateful to see mega-church pastors taking this issue on and strongly encouraging their congregation to love the “widows and orphans” of our society in dramatic ways. But I don’t think there would be 1.3 million more children available for adoption every year in an abortion-free country because I think our unwanted pregnancy rate would go down considerably and because many would continue to choose parenting over adoption.

Question: What do you think? What does the church need to do to prepare for an abortion-free country? Leave a comment below.


Josh Brahm is the President of Equal Rights Institute, an organization that trains pro-life advocates to think clearly, reason honestly and argue persuasively.

Josh uses speaking, writing and campus outreach to emphasize practical dialogue tips, pro-life philosophy, and relational apologetics.

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