Nation Article Gets Adoption Wrong
Special Report - September 14, 2009
A recent article in The Nation attacking pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) and Christian adoption agencies for their efforts to promote adoption over abortion unfairly depicts these ministries as adoption mills. The overtly slanted article“Shotgun Adoption” is written by feminist writer Kathryn Joyce, author of a recent book criticizing the movement among some Christians toward larger families. Joyce’s article, which appeared in the September 14 issue of The Nation, accuses PRCs (she uses the term, “Crisis pregnancy centers”) of coercing women into giving their babies up for adoption through “deceptive tactics like posing as abortion providers and showing women graphic anti-abortion films.” Joyce alleges that PRCs “have a broader agenda that is less well known: they seek not only to induce women to ‘choose life’ but to choose adoption, either by offering adoption services themselves…or by referring women to Christian adoption agencies.”
But according to Amber Lehman, executive director of Pregnancy Support Services in Wake Forest, PRCs offer a number of services to women facing crisis pregnancies, including adoption referral to a variety of agencies, but also parenting support for women who choose to parent their child. In a January 2007 article for Family North Carolina, Lehman explains that women are presented with information about abortion procedures “in a non-manipulative way” that includes “literature and the opportunity to watch videos on fetal development and/or abortion procedures.” She writes that women are also presented with the “adoption option” and “given the opportunity for a referral to an adoption agency.” In addition, Lehman notes that most PRCs also offer “ongoing parental support programs,” which include parenting support groups and baby supplies,” to women who choose to parent.
Most of Joyce’s article is spent attacking Christian adoption groups, particularly the nation’s largest adoption agencyBethany Christian Servicesfor “coercing” women into adoptions. The article cites the stories of several women who either gave their children up for adoption and later regretted it, or changed their minds about relinquishing their child after giving birth. It includes one quote from a Bethany spokesperson in response. Joyce even takes aim at recent efforts by Focus on the Family and other groups to encourage Christian families to adopt. Joyce writes, “Such enthusiasm for Christians to adopt en masse begins to seem like a demand in need of greater supply.”
According to Mark Andre, director of Focus on the Family’s Orphan Care Initiative, the program “is designed to help every orphan and foster care child in the U.S. find a Christian home.” The initiative is part of a broader effort among several Christian ministries, including Shaohannah’s Hope, to encourage Christians to adopt orphans worldwide. For more on this effort, see our article, “Adoption Revival.”
“Both PRCs and Christian adoption agencies provide compassionate alternatives to abortion for millions of women in this country, who are faced with a crisis pregnancy and mistakenly believe abortion is their only option,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “They provide women with alternatives to abortion because they believe that every child is a gift and deserves a chance for life, but they also do it because they want to help spare these mothers the pain and suffering that often follows an abortion.”
Brooks added, “On one hand abortion proponents claim that women facing unplanned pregnancies need and deserve choice, but then they turn around and attack the very groups that are giving these womenand their unborn childrenreal choice.”
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