Friday, September 04, 2009

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Support Adoption. People Who Don't Like That Should Start Their Own.

Kathryn Joyce has an article, "Shotgun Adoption" in The Nation that criticizes "crisis pregnancy centers" as a plot to coerce pregnant single women to give up their babies for adoption by conservative Christian parents.

There have been abuses by crisis pregnancy centers. That is wrong and should be treated by the appropriate authorities. But this article goes way beyond legitimate abuses to posit a conspiracy. This is unfair and unbalanced left-wing paranoia. Which I oppose exactly as much as I oppose unfair and unbalanced right-wing paranoia.

Christian crisis pregnancy centers (CPC) try to talk women out of abortion. That is their open and stated purpose. No one has to go to them if they don't want to hear that message. Most Christian crisis pregnancy centers promote the idea that children do best when raised by their two married parents. This is true, as I have often argued on this blog. The best outcome, from the CPC's perspective, would be for the pregnant woman and the father of the child to marry, raise their child together, and join the church. Again, this is all open, above-board, and no one has to listen. Of course, few of the women who come to CPCs are already married, in the church, and ready to raise their child - if they were, they wouldn't be having a crisis.

So the next two options are either that the woman would raise the child herself, or that she would give the child to a married couple who dearly want a child of their own and have the commitment, resources, and desire to raise that child in a stable and loving home. Most Christian CPCs think the latter option is better than the former. Two parents in a stable home beat one mom in crisis. There is solid sociological support for this judgment. Still, the issue could be argued either way. Christian CPCs promote adoption by a married couple as best for the child.

For women who agree with this conclusion, the Christian CPC offers to house, feed, care for, and cover all the medical expenses of the woman as she grows her baby and goes through the process of handing her baby over to the adoptive couple. This handover is painful for most women. That is why such a pregnancy creates a crisis in the first place. If it weren't hard, CPCs would be necessary. Many people, including those not directly involved in the adoption, give charitably to support all of this care to give the best ending to what could be a terrible crisis.

People who believe that the child would be better off raised by a single mother can form their own Crisis Pregnancy Centers. They can offer to house, feed, nurture, and cover all the medical expenses of pregnant women who will then go home with their babies. I can see this as honorable work. I think Kathryn Joyce should be the first to volunteer her house and her bank account to the cause. There could be such things as Secular Single-Mom Support Centers. But I am not holding my breath.

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