A lot of pregnant woman may make questionable choices in the lead-up to getting pregnant (so do the men who get them pregnant, as I’m one of those crazy people who believe a couple shares the responsibility of contraception). But that doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated like whores and sluts, or to be coerced into a decision that isn’t right for them.
The Nation has an article titled Shotgun Adoption that’s absolutely riveting. It discusses how women used to be taken off to homes to give birth to kids they couldn’t keep. With Roe v. Wade, women had a few more options. There are, of course, people who think such options are bad, and so Christian “crisis” pregnancy centers and adoption agencies were formed.
I’m sure some women are grateful for such centers and, as heartwrenching as it is to give up a child, feel like its the best thing and are at peace with their decision. MTV’s show 16 and Pregnant even featured a couple who went through that decision, and while the birth mother was crying while the baby was born and didn’t want to look at it at first, the couple seemed perfectly nice (evangelical, yes, but hopefully not too crazy) and, more importantly, willing to share the baby girl’s life as much as possible with the parents who were giving her away. I can’t speak to the adoption agency specifically, but it was a Bethany Christian affiliate. And the company as a whole looks pretty bad based on Joyce’s article.
Jordan was isolated in the shepherding family’s house; her only social contact was with the agency, which called her a “saint” for continuing her pregnancy but asked her to consider “what’s best for the baby.” “They come on really prolife: look at the baby, look at its heartbeat, don’t kill it. Then, once you say you won’t kill it, they ask, What can you give it? You have nothing to offer, but here’s a family that goes on a cruise every year.”
While the couple on MTV had a very open adoption process, Jordan did not. And the way she found this out was pretty horrific.
Jordan selected a couple, and when she went into labor, they attended the birth, along with her counselor and shepherding mother. The next day, the counselor said that fully open adoptions weren’t legal in South Carolina, so Jordan wouldn’t receive identifying information on the adoptive parents. Jordan cried all day and didn’t think she could relinquish the baby. She called her shepherding parents and asked if she could bring the baby home. They refused, chastising Jordan sharply. The counselor told the couple Jordan was having second thoughts and brought them, sobbing, into her recovery room. The counselor warned Jordan that if she persisted, she’d end up homeless and lose the baby anyway.
“My options were to leave the hospital walking, with no money,” says Jordan. “Or here’s a couple with Pottery Barn furniture. You sacrifice yourself, not knowing it will leave an impact on you and your child for life.”
There’s too much of the article for me to quote it extensively, so I highly recommend reading the whole thing. For instance, if I got pregnant now, I would be the first to say it would be very hard for me to support a kid. For one, where am I going to put it? In the pantry? But if someone told me that I have no other options, then I would kindly tell them to fuck themselves in the ass with their Bible. A lot of these “crisis pregnancy centers” really don’t want you to abort, and will combine flat-out lies with free strollers to try and keep that from happening.
I’ve heard plenty of that, and it makes me sigh and shake my head. But this article theorizes that some CDCs even push for adoption because they want to create a pool of “orphans” for Christian families, rather than let “unfit” moms/families keep potentially wanted children. And the way Jordan’s story ended makes it hard to believe they care nearly as much about the women as they do the precious precious babies.
When Jordan called Bethany’s statewide headquarters one night, her shepherding mother answered, responding coldly to Jordan’s lament. “You’re the one who spread your legs and got pregnant out of wedlock,” she told Jordan. “You have no right to grieve for this baby.”
You fail, lady. Please turn in your Jesus card.