President Obama is on record saying he would not want his daughters "punished with a baby," should they "make a mistake." In a later interview, he referred to said daughters as "miracles" (http://blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/archive/2008/03/31/obama-says-he-doesnt-want-his-daughters-punished-with-a.aspx). Why do the words talking out of both sides of his mouth come to mind?
Yesterday I had the honor of giving a gift to friends who just adopted a baby. This was their second successful adoption. I use the word "successful" because they were disappointed twice in the interim. They played by the rules of the agency they signed on with, meaning they paid all the expenses, down to the maternity clothes, of the expectant mothers, only to have two of them change their minds in the end. Their refund for this breach of contract? Heartache alone.
As often as we can, a friend and I attend prayer vigils in front of various Planned Parenthood and hospital locations. We make time for this because it's a concrete way we can oppose the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in this country yearly. By its own admission, Planned Parenthood aborted 333,964 babies in 2010 alone (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/PP_Services.pdf). We have been treated to an array of expletives and obscene gestures during the three years we have participated in this peaceful and legal activity. One prominent memory I have involves a couple departing from a fertility clinic attached to one of the abortion-providing hospitals in front of which we were praying. I can still hear the barrage of vitriol they spewed as my adolescent son looked on, wondering what his mother had gotten him into. Their stated source of outrage? They were unable to conceive a baby on their own. Why, we wondered, were they targeting their hatred toward our group, which is all about protecting the unborn? They seemed to be blaming us for their inability to reproduce. The only plausible explanation we could come up with was perhaps we had stirred the memory of a past abortion of an unwanted child, which was making more bitter their inability to conceive now that they did want a baby.
What do all these threads have in common? They highlight the double standard we have in this country. When it's "convenient" and fits into our lives, a baby is considered a blessing. Some, like my adoptive friends, deem children such a treasure that they are willing to spend thousands of dollars and shed countless tears to earn the privilege of raising one - even when they don't know whether the experience will bring them the joy they hope for or agony and pain. In far too many other cases, we label new life a clump of tissue and extinguish it. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a "sexual and reproductive health and rights" think tank affiliated with the World Health Organization, nearly one quarter of all pregnancies in the Unites States end in abortion. Staggeringly, as of 2008, this country was host to roughly 50 million legal abortions in the 35 years since Roe v. Wade was enacted (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html).
My question is, how can children be a blessing and a punishment at the same time?
It is my fervent belief that, until we rewrite the adoption laws in this country to offer adopting couples more equitable contracts, the hideous practice of abortion will continue to flourish in the "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Unless and until these steps are taken, why would potential adopters put themselves through the anguish and uncertainty of the adoptive process in the United States?