Complications with Criminalizing Abortion

In the previous post, I demonstrated the LDS Church’s political neutrality on the debate over the government’s role in regulating and criminalizing abortion, even as the Church emphasizes the sanctity of life and counsels its members not to obtain elective abortions. Those who believe in criminalization of elective abortion (the pro-life position) should consider the repercussions of such a law. What are some of the costs and unintended consequences of compelling a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? I don’t intend the following as an argument against the pro-life position. I simply hope that by exploring of some of the underlying implications of criminalizing elective abortion, we will realize that abortion policy cannot be viewed in a vacuum. The implementation of ethical pro-life laws would require a significant amount of social welfare programs, which most pro-life advocates vehemently oppose.

Medical Care for Poor Children and Expecting Mothers

Those who have given birth to a child understand that a tremendous amount of care is required both before and after a child is born and that the diet and health of the mother is invariably linked to that of the unborn child. Even though not all of those who obtain elective abortions are poor or are teenagers, tens of thousands of those who do obtain elective abortion each year do not have the financial resources to cope with the medical costs of pregnancy. The medical costs for those without insurance are excessive. Furthermore, there are additional costs for working women who have to take time away from their jobs, or perhaps lose their jobs completely, depending on how smoothly the pregnancy progresses. If a single woman with an unwanted pregnancy is compelled to carry the pregnancy to term, and ends up having to take a few months off without pay while she is on bed rest, who will pay for her living expenses? What if she loses her job? Since conservatives are typically opposed to government social assistance programs, how does the financial need of a woman who is being compelled to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term sync with the conservative view on eliminating these welfare programs? Are we as taxpayers willing to have some of our tax dollars assist the ultimately tens of thousands of poor women each year who would be compelled to carry unwanted pregnancies to term under pro-life laws?

Additionally, costly medical care is required for children and mothers after they are born. If a poor woman decides to keep the child rather than give it up for adoption, financial assistance would be necessary to pay for post-partum medical care. The pro-life position can be very myopic if it does not include assurances for the proper medical care of a newborn resulting from an unwanted pregnancy. How “pro-life” can we really be if all we care about is that the baby is born, but once the child arrives in the world, we are not equally passionate about ensuring they have a fair shot at a healthy life through proper care? If one opposes programs like SCHIP and Medicaid, which provide health insurance to poor children and children of the working poor, can that person accurately claim that he or she is “pro-life”?

Another unintended consequence of criminalization of elective abortion is the risky behavior of some women with unwanted pregnancies. If women who have no desire to be pregnant are compelled to carry the pregnancy to term, some would unfortunately have little or no incentive to make changes in their lifestyle to ensure that the fetus is properly nourished and protected from harmful substances. Women who smoke or drink alcohol may have difficulty in abstaining during the pregnancy. A large volume of research has clearly shown that tobacco and alcohol can often have severe adverse affects on a fetus, causing serious deformities and diseases. Deformed and chronically ill infants resulting from such unwanted pregnancies where the mother did not observe a proper lifestyle, require expensive medical care. There may be fewer who are willing to adopt such children with expensive health problems. Again, are those who are pro-life willing to have their tax dollars pay for the expensive care of children with such diseases as fetal alcohol syndrome?

Black Market Abortions

Inevitably, by prohibiting elective abortions, there will always be some women who will seek to end their unwanted pregnancy at any cost, rather than carrying it to term as required by law. In an America where elective abortions are banned, such women would pursue abortions on the black market. As has been the experience in societies where abortion is prohibited, many such black market abortions are unsafe and can easily result in severe and permanent injury or even death to the women.

Some may argue that such a woman has only herself to blame for being careless about protection while being promiscuous. If the woman is injured or dies as a result of a black market or illegal abortion, I have heard some argue that although that would be unfortunate, it is the woman’s fault for seeking an elective abortion in the first place. However, as one of the reader comments in Culture of Life Part I states, why does all the responsibility lie with the woman? What are the ethics of creating a black market situation where we know some women with unwanted pregnancies will die? By prohibiting elective abortion, a black market for elective abortions will certainly be created. But by removing elective abortion from the realm of regulated and standardized medicine, the procedure ultimately ends up in an unregulated and non-standardized state where no license, quality control, or professional standard is required.

Perhaps those who are on both sides of the debate can at least agree to work together on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Sustained efforts at reducing the overall number of unwanted pregnancies will reduce the number of abortions performed in this country. Studies have shown that publicly-funded family planning clinics have prevented 20 million unwanted pregnancies over the past 20 years, 9 million of which would have resulted in abortions.

So even while vying for pro-choice or pro-life positions on government regulation of abortion, those on both sides who believe in the sanctity of life should seek to educate the public on methods of reducing unwanted pregnancies, including comprehensive birth control education, which could include abstinence. However, any sex education curriculum that does not include comprehensive birth control instruction is woefully inadequate for preventing unwanted pregnancies. Though we may not like the fact of rampant sexual promiscuity, to neglect to educate our population on the methods of preventing pregnancies is only an invitation to more unwanted pregnancies.

The criminalization of elective abortion would result in other unintended consequences that need to be addressed by those who are proponents of prohibition. The above is not meant to counter pro-life arguments, but only to show that a comprehensive pro-life position must include consideration of many other factors, including some social welfare programs.


  1. I couldn't disagree more on your pro-choice stance. By allowing someone the freedom to choose whether or not they want to go through with an unwanted pregnancy, we are essentially absolving them of the responsibility of a child. Don't want a child? Then use birth control or abstain. The government shouldn't offer abortion as an option–they should offer birth control and/or vasectomies/tubes tied. The Church's stance against abortion should be OUR stance. We believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ– ALL OF IT. The Gospel requires that we take responsibility for our actions. If a woman gets pregnant (or a man gets her pregnant) they should accept that their irresponsible stupidity is bringing a child into the world–then give it up for adoption to someone who would probably be a better parent anyway. Allowing people to commit murder isn't the answer. Making them be responsibile IS.

    1. Michelle- birth control fails-even IUDs. Abstinence is a great option but rarely realistic 100% of the time. Sometimes taking responsibility is having an abortion. i dont expect you to understand that because you seem to think that all elective abortions are chosen by shameless, irresponsible women that can simply avoid the problem by closing her legs. its not murder-not even the Church is willing to opine when a “soul” enters a body. Murder requires malice. I’ve sat in on abortions and abortion counseling….trust me-malice is the last thing they feel. i hope your child never needs an abortion. No one ever wants to need an abortion but my yrs of experience has taught me that even the most pro life person is certainly grateful when THEY can have one and have no problem understanding its no one’s business but their own.

  2. Michelle- So I have a family relative that was raped, got pregnant with triplets and had an abortion. You're calling her a murderer? That's fine just don't call yourself a good mormon. The churches stance allows for abortions in certain circumstances so I think that by making ALL abortions illegal you would be going against what the church allows. And I think its a mistake when people feel that our laws should be the same as our morals when not everyone shares the same morals. This country isn't only made up of mormans. Should we bring back prohibition and make drinking coffee illegal?

    1. Elise, I don’t think Michelle was addressing this situation. Many mormons are okay with a provision allowing for abortion under extenuating circumstances such as this. Just not abortion for convenience.

      1. Abortion is never for convenience. Pregnancy is the third leading cause of death worldwide. I don’t think anyone would call Aids a mere inconvenience, now would they?

  3. James, I just read about the new Nebraska law and I think the general idea of it sounds good. It seems like it serves mainly to thoroughly educate a pregnant woman about her situation before an abortion is carried out. However, before deciding whether I'd be in favor of it, I'd need to know more about this:
    "Women already undergo an extensive screening for medical problems that might be complicated by an abortion and the procedure isn't performed if the risks are too great, Planned Parenthood officials said. With the new requirements, women could be overwhelmed by a flood of possibly irrelevant information, Stauch said. "(

    That leads to what I believe to be the heart of that matter, are the current screening procedures adequate or not?

  4. Michelle, I'm convinced you did not read this post. Because if you did, you would know that I was not arguing for the pro-choice position. It was a discussion about the unintended consequences of the criminalization of abortion. Personally, I am neither pro-life or pro-choice. I have not decided for myself what I think the government's role should be in regulating abortion. I think the complexities and potential unintended impact of pro-life laws, as I outlined in the post, should be considered when debating the government's role in regulating abortion.

    Also, you're assertion, that the Church's public position is for the criminalization of elective abortion, is entirely incorrect. The Church's official issues website states, "the Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion," as I pointed out in Culture of Life Part 1. Clearly this shows that the Church is politically neutral on the government's role in regulating abortion.

    Now I agree that people need to be educated about birth control and it should be accessible to the general population so as to avoid unwanted pregnancies. However, even an infinite amount of education and ubiquitously available birth control will not stop all unwanted pregnancies. The point of the post was to ask, what does the government do then? And what do we do about the unintended consequences of compelling women to carry their pregnancies to term?

    As I asked in the post, how do you feel about your tax dollars going to pay for the medical costs both before and after birth of a woman and the child she is being compelled to have? If you consider yourself politically conservative, and like most conservatives, oppose government-funded programs to pay for medical care for the poor, including poor pregnant mothers and poor children, then I would argue that you are not truly pro-life. Again, quoting from the post, "How “pro-life” can [you] really be if all [you] care about is that the baby is born, but once the child arrives in the world, [you] are not equally passionate about ensuring they have a fair shot at a healthy life through proper care?"

    I can respect the pro-life political position (meaning, criminalization of elective abortion), but only if it includes political support for social welfare programs that help needy women caught in unwanted pregnancies so as to provide proper medical care for the women and their child, both before and after birth. Adoption in these situations can be a great option, but it doesn't answer the underlying questions I asked in the post.

  5. I think that we agree that prevention is the best policy. Funding for education, counseling and particularly adoption in cases of unwanted pregnancies are especially important. Aaron, you think Planned Parenthood would be objective about pre-counseling? Shaking the Magic 8 ball would inevitably read "chances point to no" on that one. Growing up in a Mormon home, I'm grateful my parents had the courage to talk very frankly and openly about pre-marital sex, and its consequences with me. They always made me feel that my questions were welcome. They never judged me or "freaked out" when I had questions or concerns. Involved nuclear families could greatly help in the reduction of unwanted pregnancies.


  6. Elise, the church's stance is pro-life, unless in the case of incest, rape or the mother's life being in danger. The Gospel isn't meant to be applied to only PARTS of our life. I have known two people who were raped–both chose to have the baby. One put the baby up for adoption, one kept the baby. Similarly, I know someone who had two other children and was going to die during her third pregnancy because of complications with the pregnancy. After talking with her bishop and Stake Pres not to mention attending the temple and praying, she decided to have an abortion. These were correct decisions.

    I'm not referring to those circumstances. I'm referring to people who are irresponsible in their behavior, then don't want to deal with the consequences. I also understand that as a member of society, I will be required, through my taxes, to pay for the medical care of some of these families. Generally, I'm okay with that–but for one child. I'm not okay with a woman having multiple unwanted pregnancies and simply aborting them.
    As for the Church's stance on the criminalization of abortion, I did not say the Church supported it.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in the sanctity of human life. Therefore, the Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience, and counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions.

    The Church allows for possible exceptions for its members when:

    • Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or

    • A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or

    • A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

    The Church teaches its members that even these rare exceptions do not justify abortion automatically. Abortion is a most serious matter and should be considered only after the persons involved have consulted with their local church leaders and feel through personal prayer that their decision is correct.

    The Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion. " (

    I support the criminalization of abortion because this statment from the Church "counsels its members not to submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions."

    Like I said, I am pro-life. I think that a woman deserves pre-natal and post-natal care, and I especially believe that babies require care because they are just vitims to this. I'm willing to pay the taxes for this. I'm just not willing to pay for legal elective abortions and recurring abortions.

    1. So glad your acquaintences’ painful, extremely personal decisions were the “right” ones in your eyes. I hope they are aware of how pleased you are with them.

  7. Let me rephrase: I'm not willing recurring abortions. I'm willing to pay for pre-natal and post-natal care for woman who are willing to make a change in their lives and seek prevention education. I'm not willing to pay for abortions for those women who simply want to be promiscuous without repercussions. I'm willing to support educating our public, promoting prevention and helping women make a temporary (meaning birth control or having their tubes tied which can be reversed) decision on whether they want children.

    1. Michelle,

      As a woman, who has had an abortion, there is NO SUCH THING as being promiscuous without repercussions for a woman. For a man, maybe. But, definitely NOT for a woman.

      Regardless if the repercussions are viable to other eyes or not…there are always repercussions…the point of legalized abortion is to minimize them so that the effect is not wide-spread.

  8. James, I agree that Planned Parenthood, like any special interest group involved in the abortion debate, may not be objective. I am equally suspect of the Republican politicians who introduced the bill. So I would simply want to know whether the current pre-counseling and pre-screening procedures are adequate or not by current professional medical standards. If they are adequate, then this is just a bill designed to rouse the conservative base and to add pointless regulation. If they are not adequate, then this bill is a good idea. Like you say, sex education should begin in the home.

  9. Michelle, thank you for the clarification. If like you say, you are for criminalization of elective abortion while at the same time support the welfare programs that provide needy women with pre- and post-natal care, and for the children, then I completely respect that position. I think that is a consistent pro-life stance. I also can respect and understand why someone with the same beliefs about the sanctity of life can be against government intervention/ criminalization of abortion.

  10. I've always considered myself politically pro-choice but personally pro-life. I feel that the statement, "the Church has not favored or opposed legislative proposals or public demonstrations concerning abortion" agrees with that belief. I don't think you can implement a law that would still allow for the exceptions that the church outlines. So if outlawing abortion makes having all abortions illegal, even in those circumstances, then I personally don't believe a pro-life position falls in line with the churches guidelines.

    I also feel that your statement on paying for medical expenses of one unwanted pregnancy is inconsistent. Accidents happen and how would you separate those who have an unwanted pregnancy compared to those who are on welfare like me and just want to grow their family. Maybe in a dream world but unfortunately we have to be a little more realistic in this world.

    I think the statement you made "The Church's stance against abortion should be OUR stance. We believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ– ALL OF IT." was implying that the church encourages you to be pro-life, which they don't, and also implies that anyone, like me, who is pro-choice doesn't believe in or follow the church. A common misconception that so many Mormon republicans have. Its a shame too because if we are trying to open up the gospel to others/be member missionaries we also have to be more accepting of others and more open minded and respectful of others opinions. Not judgmental of those who may not fall into the "typical" Mormon mold.

  11. I think Elise made some important points that I neglected to cover in the post. In implementing a ban on elective abortions, how would the government be an objective arbiter in the three generally-accepted exceptions (rape, life/health in jeopardy, and complications that prevent fetus from surviving birth)? How does a woman prove she was raped? Is the burden of proof upon her? I think this could potentially lead to many false charges of rape and many men being imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. It could also lead to women who were raped, but unable to prove it being precluded from the option of having abortion.

    Also- when I speak of the need for support for medical programs for poor pregnant women, and poor mothers and their children, like Elise says, the support must be uniform. You really can't legally separate a wanted pregnancy from an unwanted one in a reality where there is no legal elective abortion. So if you are pro-life in a holistic sense as discussed above and in the post, then the next time your Congressman or Senator says he or she is in favor of cutting programs like SCHIP, WIC, Medicaid, and others that provide care for needy women and children, then you should be on the phone calling their office or writing an email or a letter indicating your support for those programs.

  12. I know I'm behind, but I just wanted to say- There are a lot of things we don't agree on, but I really appreciate this post. I had never read the statement about the Church's neutrality on the legality of abortion before, and I have wondered about some of the implications of the gov't deciding who would "qualify" for an abortion. This was well-put and got me thinking.

  13. I'm extremely pro-life. I'd have 2 more brothers or sisters if my mom hadn't aborted before me. Sometimes I feel, or wonder if she ever wished she had aborted me, makes me wonder what she valued a child..

    YET – in cases of rape, I believe that it should be available as an option – but I believe it should be done as early as possible.

    I don't believe that life begins at conception, because I don't believe that a cell or batch of cells is considered a living organism..

    However for all other cases – I think there should be a 1 week mandatory training class that someone has to take in order to get an abortion. An intensive course that includes volunteering in a nursery, watching videos about adoption as an alternative, and I know if it were outlawed there'd be backdoor abortions, which would be a major health hazard, (history has shown us that was all the rage before legalization of abortions)..

    So I think education to the point of coercion if need be, then if still want abortion give them the option, but they can only have 1 abortion, if they are going in for their 2nd abortion, then its mandatory that they have their tubes tied as well.

    I think they should also have to do community service in exchange for the 'right' to have an abortion, I guess my point is – that people today don't take responsibility for their actions, many cases I believe its because they don't think about the whole picture…

    By showing them adoption as an option, and requiring community service as a 'term' of their abortion it at least ties some sort of real 'responsibility' to the act. (side note American's are lazy anymore and the community service might persuade quite a few not to go ahead).

    But I do believe that rape victims are exempt, and I'm undecided if a 7 day miscarriage pill, is considered 'killing' as I don't believe a life begins for at least 3+ weeks.

    1. Arron,

      So, if the woman was raped or had incest committed upon her, what documentation would she need to provide for it to be ok with you? What processes does she need to go through?

      I am asking because, being an incest survivor, I wonder what kind of drama would I have had to go through if I had been impregnated by my father. It was bad enough that there were many occasions where I wanted to run away, before I received my HS diploma, or turned 18. It was bad enough when I sought out counseling, just for help in understanding what steps I would have to endure if I decided to report the incest, they just stepped all over me to “save me.” Gave me no information at all and left me in the dark (mentally and emotionally). And, this was just the reporting and conviction processes.

      What would you have had me go through, if I had been pregnant, Arron?

      1. Thank you for commenting. However, I don’t believe you even read the article, because if you had, you’d see that it isn’t pro-life. I did not argue for passing restrictions on abortion. I explained the complications with criminalizing or prohibiting most or all abortions. The example you cite is exactly why a lot of proposed legislation that prohibits abortion is not a good idea.

    2. community service to earn a constitutional right? how do you plan to enforce this? do you plan to mandate the male too or just the woman? a training class? who pays for this?mandatory sterilization? who do you think you are to dictate who and when someone has a family?

      btw there is no such thing as a 7 day miscarriage pill. the morning after pill prevents a pregnancy within 72 hrs and a pharmaceutical abortion ends a pregnancy up to 60 days after a missed period. #themoreyouknow

  14. Patrick- thanks for the thoughtful comment. You made some good points. I'm undecided on what the law of the land should be with respect to abortion. But I think your point about education being key is spot on.

  15. Such a thoughtful post, Aaron, as always.

    I respect the beliefs of others and do not wish to oppose my own beliefs on anyone else, but I think history has shown that the best way to sway others to a different point of view is through compassionate education.

    By “compassionate education” I do NOT mean showing horror-film-type images to children, shaming or threatening women, etc. I abhor these cruel practices, and forcing sterilization on ANYONE would be clear violation of their human rights. Violence and judgment don’t help change people at their core. Yes, things may be made illegal, but that’s usually not enough to change someone’s beliefs or values. The only thing that ever works in that regard is some positive, inspiring force – you can’t coerce people into having an awakening.

    My main problem with involving governments/politics with this issue is that it is not effective enough. I also find it incredibly hypocritical that the GOP, who always touts “small government,” would support legislation that criminalizes abortion, or even more extreme, allow for personhood amendments. Taking morality out of it, such legislation would create a bureaucratic nightmare and would absolutely deny women the right to privacy guaranteed all American citizens by our Constitution. Every miscarriage would have to be investigated and could lead to charges of involuntary manslaughter. The details of women’s menstrual cycles and birth control choices would become a matter of public record. If you think of the issue purely in terms of our criminal justice system, it’s utterly ludicrous and counterproductive – and that’s before you add on the lengthy, difficult and humiliating process of proving rape or incest in a court of law.

    A far better way to end the practice of abortion (which is never a “convenient” or “easy” thing for women to go through, regardless of whether they were victims of rape or incest) is through peaceful means – teaching different values with love and understanding, and showing that one is truly pro-life and not simply pro-birth, as you pointed out. To be effective in persuading people to choose against abortion, we must show consistency across the board and a respect for women’s privacy. A willingness to compromise would be helpful, too, such as supporting the morning-after pill, which is not abortion but emergency contraception (prevents release of egg so there’s nothing to fertilize) – at least until science is able to make contraception utterly fool-proof and rape and incest no longer exist in society.

    Ultimately I believe this issue is far too personal, too spiritual, to put into the hands of the government. And unless we are willing to personally help each and every woman who faces this decision – pay for the costs of her giving birth and/or raising the child – then we have nothing at stake here except some kind of self-righteous indignation against women we know nothing about. Completely unfair and immoral, in my opinion.

    1. J.A.- Great comment. Thank you for reading and commenting. You’ve pointed out even more complications that would result from attempts to criminalize abortion. I think it is regrettable that those who oppose abortion cannot find more constructive ways to reduce its practice by working together with those who would rather keep the gov’t out of the issue. For example, the rate of abortions in the U.S. dropped significantly during Clinton’s term in office- and they also dropped in Massachusetts after Gov Romney implemented his universal health care reform. Under both Clinton and Romney, health care coverage, including availability of birth control, expanded. I think the best way to reduce abortions is probably to do our best to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. That happens via greater availability of birth control as well as the kind of “compassionate” education you referenced. Far too often it is the male politicians who try to dictate on this issue who have neither empathy nor full understanding of the complexity of the problem.

  16. I am an “Independent” and like the majority of the U.S. voted for Mitt Romney. I am soooo dissapointed that we have had such poor leadership from Obama and the Dems the last four years…and here we go again! Its like taking a car off a cliff…twice. I blame the dishonest Democratic Party…tickling the ears of the people who will listen…taking God, and values out of the equation. So sickening!

    1. Susan, I’m perplexed why you’ve left this comment on a post not related to the election. But in any case, you need to check your facts. A majority of Americans did not vote for Romney. President Obama won the popular vote by approximately 3 million votes. This kind of highly-emotionally charged comment devoid of facts is precisely why the political discourse in our country is so broken. I understand that Romney voters are discouraged- I felt the same way in 2004. But we need to do our best to return to a dispassionate discussion of the issues based on fact, not gut-emotions.

    2. Romney makes a massive income from a medical waste company that incinerates fetal remains AND his son that used a surrogate included a clause to abort in case of medical anomalies. look it up. all hypocrites. so many people are against abortion until they need one.

  17. Abortion is probably one of the most, if not the most, debatable, highly charged, sensitive political and social issue’s of our time. I can’t thank Aaron enough for his dedicated, sincere and unbiased in-depth research and analysis on this complicated matter.That being said, let me just cut to the chase.Yes, education education education is ideally best for the navigation for preventing unplanned pregnancies. However, until the evolutionary process brings us all a little closer to where we can all agree as to what the true correct answer is, I say let us all have the freedom of “pro choice” for whom are faced with this very very difficult personal decision. Just my opinion.

  18. “Pro-lifers” want to ban both abortion and social welfare programs because they’re angry they can’t buy babies on the market at the drop of a hat anymore and they want to get more babies into circulation for the adoption industry. That’s it, that’s all the explanation needed. They are perfectly willing to accept exceptions to their “life-affirming philosophy” if those exceptions will benefit them politically. 100,000 American children are in permanent foster care and need homes and we are still arguing about this.

  19. Also, if it really matters whether we reduce the number of abortions (I think this is really an open question), the best way to prevent them is to reduce the circumstances in which a woman would ever think a pregnancy was a crisis. The truth is that the vast majority of pregnancies are not timed down to the last minute, most are surprises and the only thing that separates wanted and unwanted is the context of the pregnancy. If you’ve got a woman who’s poor with a low formal education level and little access to jobs, transportation, decent housing or support from family and friends then you’re going to see the unplanned pregnancy magically transform into an unwanted pregnancy. The very same forces that once shamed a woman into relinquishing for adoption now shame a woman into aborting. And conservatives are every bit to blame for this. Don’t tell us we’re “sluts who should have kept our legs closed” and “immoral and hellbound for fornicating” and then act surprised when we decide not to go through with it. It goes back to a failure to love when you get right down to it.

    By the way, relinquishing for adoption doesn’t solve the basic issue that some woman had sex when the church didn’t want her to. It doesn’t make her not a mother. What it does is tear a family apart and leave a child with no biological anchor, no way to make sense of who they are and a whole mess for them to untangle later when they finally go looking. A lot of adoptees have decided they are happy with the way their lives turned out but I doubt any of them would have lined up for the opportunity if they’d been given a choice. I know if it were me I’d prefer to be born to the more “together” family situation rather than taken out of the “bad” and given to the “good.” There is just less complication and heartache that way.

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