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Women's Liberation

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Message Laurie Frisch
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With men saying they want to "opt-out" of fatherhood and adoption agencies implementing new tactics to get babies for paying customers, it's time to do more to protect women's choices and single mother's rights.

Thanks to the Women's Liberation movement, women today have more control over reproduction, including options like contraception and legal abortion, than they did in the 1960s. However, contraception is not 100% effective and there is a risk of pregnancy when a male and a female have sex. In times past, males have often claimed that women "get themselves" pregnant - that the male is completely incapable of controlling himself and need not take any responsibility for pregnancy or his children at all.

In modern times, with women having more control over reproduction, some men seem to have acquired an even stronger belief than ever that males should be able to have sex any time they want and bear no responsibility for pregnancy prevention or for the unexpected children born to them. As evidence, there is a movement of men who say they want to "opt-out" of fatherhood. The idea is that if "her" contraception doesn't work and she doesn't get an abortion, the human being that is born and looks just like him is not his "problem". If his son or daughter later feels abandoned by his/her father - some dads say that's just too bad. These males believe there should be no risks and no male consequences for having sex.

The "unwed" mother is still being "stoned" and ostracized in America. Oddly, when the "stoning" begins many women join right in, supporting the male's "right" to abandon his children and insisting that a woman who is single take sole responsibility for pregnancy and children. But then, the higher ranking members of an oppressed group do have a tendency to step all over those beneath them. For example, there are reports that the Jewish guards at the Warsaw Ghetto treated the Jewish occupants far more cruelly than German guards might have. Some people claim that the Jewish guards were trying to protect their own status at the expense of their people. Similarly, women who insist on continuing cruel practices like foot binding, female circumcision and kicking around "unwed" mothers are also trying to protect their own status.

Foot binding is no longer practiced, but prejudice against pregnant women who are single is still widespread. Many people are naïve about how separating an infant from her mother at birth may affect a human being over the course of her/his life. Parents and grandparents today may be advised by "adoption professionals" that babies are "better off" separated from family if a mother and father are single when their baby is born. "Professionals" and adoption attorneys who make their living getting tiny human beings to sell to their customers are unlikely to point out the reality: Hospitals today try to keep moms and babies together to prevent the harm that comes from separating them.

Adoption agencies are always looking for new sources of healthy, intelligent babies - the high-quality product that adoption customers have grown to expect. In modern times, adoption businesses that provide newborn babies "off the shelf" have competition from businesses that sell human beings "made to order" using consumer-selected human eggs and sperm which may be incubated using rental wombs (women) from third world countries.

To get more American babies - and high quality babies - adoption businesses are using new tactics and luring women in with scholarships and offers of "open" adoption.

According to information on the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse website, most of the women whose infant sons and daughters are adopted-out are white women in their 20's. "One study at a residential facility for pregnant teens found that a disproportionate number of those who relinquished were from upper-middle-class families, living in the suburbs or small cities, and from intact families with highly educated parents (Moore & Davidson, 2002)."

If a mother really "just didn't want" her child, it would hardly be necessary to "counsel" her toward adoption. Instead, one could wait until after her baby was born and she has signed a relinquishment of her parental rights before selecting a prospective adopter. In fact, some countries have laws that protect both mothers and fathers so they are not scammed and children are not artificially orphaned and going through life feeling "unwanted".

But in the United States, young pregnant women are advised by "professionals" that they must "make a decision now" prior to their baby being born, before they have any concept of what it might be like to be separated from their beloved son or daughter. Adoption "professionals" or adoption attorneys "match" the mother-to-be with prospective adopters in advance of birth.

The "professional" negotiators often hover over a new mother in the hospital who has not yet recovered from giving birth. They operate like high-powered used-car salesmen, working to "close the deal" and secure her baby for customers. They word things carefully, in ways that will appeal to the intense desire of a mother to do what's best for her child. They tell her that she would be "selfish" not to "choose" adoption. They promise her pictures, letters and sometimes continued contact with her child, knowing they do not have to follow through on the open adoption "agreements". They do not mention that her letters may be censored by the agency, nor do they mention how they will profit from the "sale" of her child. When her parents become concerned and ask questions, the "professionals" may tell them that their daughter "will get married and have other babies later" - a promise they can not back up. They tell everyone that the prospective adopters "already lost one baby when their first birthmother backed out of her agreement".

Later - perhaps immediately after relinquishment or within a few years - the "open" adoption may be closed without the mother's consent. The mother is forced to face the reality of how she was scammed by the agencies. She may have other children, crying because they can no longer visit or contact their brother or sister.

Many people believe that by promoting infant adoption they are cleaning up the "undesirable elements" in society. It hardly seems that society would be "worse off" if these middle-class white babies were raised in their own families.

It is easy to take advantage of the fears that accompany nearly every pregnancy. Many parents later say they "fell for" the myth that a child "needs" unrelated people who are married and does not need her true mother, father, grandparents and siblings.

In the 1950s many people did not "get it" that women were being treated unfairly when they were denied contraception or their salaries were far below a man's salary - but today it seems obvious to everyone. Many people did not comprehend at that time that it was so condescending and manipulative for adults to be referred to as "girls" not "women". Today, many people do not "get it" that women are being treated unfairly when their reproductive "choice" is being directed by others who provide misinformation or withhold information. Many people today do not realize that single parents are being treated unfairly if as single parents they are treated differently from married parents. Many people do not comprehend that it is so manipulative when single parents-to-be are referred to as "birthparents" rather than "expectant mothers and fathers". Many women today do not understand that their "options" are being artificially limited by those in power.

In countries such as New Zealand, Australia or Sweden, the Women's Liberation movement did not settle for a limited "choice" of contraception and abortion, but demanded a real choice, real information and options for those parents who want to keep their infant sons and daughters. In United States, we still need to address what may be the most important reproductive rights of all - the right to be advised honestly and the right of a single parent to raise their own child.

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Laurie Frisch is an advocate for natural family. She is the author of many articles about the adoption industry, baby-brokering businesses and child protective services. She also writes about reproductive technologies such as "traditional surrogacy" and egg or sperm "donation" and the consequences for a human being that is cut off from all or half her true family. Some of her previous articles include: Domestic Adoption Baby Boom - Exploiting Women and Families in America, (more...)
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