Knowledge is power, and becoming pregnant unexpectedly comes with having to sift through tons of information in decision-making. As an unexpectedly pregnant woman, there are three directions your plan can go: continue your pregnancy to parent the baby, continue it and then place the baby for adoption, or terminate your pregnancy. With the options available it is important to be informed and aware of what you really want. Each option has its own process that must be carefully weighed when deciding. The presence of abortion-specific laws can influence your decision-making, the most prevalent being Roe v. Wade and its consequent overturn. At Adoption Choices of Florida, we hope to provide valuable information to aid your decision-making process and help your understanding of such laws as they intersect with adoption in Florida and beyond.
Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that choosing to terminate a pregnancy was the right of the individual or expectant mother. The case came about when a woman, Norma McCorvey, under the pseudonym Jane Roe, brought a class action lawsuit against Texas abortion laws after seeking an abortion herself. Roe, like many other women, was unable to get a safe, legal abortion as her life was not immediately at risk due to her pregnancy—a statute placed by Texas abortion laws then.
Henry Wade, the Texas district attorney in charge of enforcing these laws, was the subject of the lawsuit. After months and through a 7-2 majority, it was decided that abortion was a right of the individual. With the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment, it was reasoned that the decision to terminate a pregnancy was part of that personal privacy. This decision was a significant event for women’s rights as well as how it works with family planning, the adoption process, and the decisions of unexpectedly pregnant women.
In June 2022 the landmark Supreme Court decision was overturned, making the right to abortion that had been granted for nearly 50 years nonexistent. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, concerns the Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenging Mississippi’s abortion ban, the Gestational Age Act, for pregnancies over 15 weeks. In a 6-3 majority, the decision was overturned, putting a halt to a longstanding precedent.
While the effect on women seeking abortions throughout the country is evident, the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on adoption is still up in the air. It was a misconception for some time that abortion bans would lead to a rise in adoption cases. Kristen Hamilton, director of communications at the National Council of Adoption, states that while they have seen some increases in babies placed for adoption, there have also been numbers similar to those they have seen in the past. Similar instances have occurred as there has been an increase in inquiries from expectant mothers to adoption agencies everywhere, including Florida adoption agencies. Some have reasoned these to be a result of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions as well as the Dobbs decision.
With Florida being one of the states with stricter abortion bans, the overturning of Roe v. Wade may lead people to believe that the number of babies being placed for adoption, and adoption in general would increase as a result of abortion not being a viable option for expectant mothers. While some agencies and networks have seen changes and others haven’t, it is important to note that adoption is not a replacement or a substitution for the termination of the pregnancy.
Both options encompass completely different things and take a toll on the expectant mother differently. Through abortion, an expectant mother is not responsible for any sort of parenting or decision-making beyond the thought and process behind the procedure. The pregnancy does not continue and the individual is making a decision regarding a pregnancy only. Adoption involves continuing that pregnancy and forming a plan that works best for the baby, which is a huge responsibility.
From researching agencies in Florida or anywhere else to seeking parents, there is a lot of work that goes into choosing adoption. Not to mention that, unlike abortion, continuing the pregnancy can pose health risks to the birth mother, risks that would not be present had abortion been a choice. Along with these responsibilities also exists the healing process following the pregnancy and placing the baby for adoption. The combined toll of the emotional, mental, and physical endurance of the adoption process does not make a simple replacement for abortion.
For more information on the options available to you in regard to an unexpected pregnancy, feel free to reach out to Adoption Choices of Florida for more. If you are an expecting mother with questions, we are here to listen and provide the information and resources you need.