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Adoption or Abortion – A Fork in the Road

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and unsure if you are ready to be a parent, you may be struggling with the next step.

As you make your way through this time in your life, it’s important that you are informed about your options. This collection of abortion- and adoption-related information is intended to educate, not persuade, so that you can make the best decision for you.

Facts about Adoption

  • Approximately 18,000 infant adoptions occur in the United States each year.
  • Women who choose adoption are varied in terms of age, marital status, and previous pregnancies or children.
  • In today’s adoptions, most birth mothers choose to have contact with their child and the adoptive family, and they receive regular updates.
  • Adoption is free for birth mothers, and in many cases they will have access to free counseling and compensation for living expenses.
When You Can Choose Adoption

Whether you are in your first trimester or in the delivery room, it is never too late in your pregnancy to choose adoption for your child. Families all across the country are waiting to adopt a child, and you can search for them on your own or seek the help of an adoption agency. Whatever your time frame is, you can start building an adoption plan that works for you.

Adoption Process

When you are considering adoption, you will be able to pick out an adoptive family based on the kind of life you want for your child. If you work with an agency during the process, you can view family profiles that they give you until you make a decision. When you and an adoptive family are matched, you will begin to communicate with the family, get to know them, and determine the details of your adoption plan.

Remember that your decision isn’t final until you legally consent to the adoption, which usually takes place 24-72 hours after the birth of your baby.

Facts about Abortion

  • Currently, the number of abortions far outweighs the number of adoption referrals, at a ratio of 149:1.
  • A majority of the women who undergo abortion procedures are in their late teens to early twenties and unmarried.
  • Most abortion procedures are completed during the first trimester.
  • Depending on a number of factors, the costs of abortion can range from $500-$2000.
When You Can Choose Abortion

Abortion laws vary by state in regards to when you can proceed with an abortion. You may have to inform your parents or undergo counseling before having a procedure done, and there may also be a waiting period. If you are further along than 14 weeks in your pregnancy, the procedure can become more complicated, so it is generally recommended to make such a decision early in your pregnancy.

Abortion Procedure

Depending on your choices, personal health, and how far you are in your pregnancy, the procedure may be done through surgery or medication. In both cases, the risk of medical complications is relatively low, but it increases for later abortions. Some of these complications can include bleeding and infection, inflammation, and damage to the cervix or organs.

Be sure to learn about your options so you can make an educated decision about abortion and the procedures involved.

Why Women Consider Abortion or Adoption

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she has three options: parent the child, terminate the pregnancy, or place the baby for adoption. If she is in a situation where she knows she cannot take the first option, then she must decide between adoption and abortion.

When she is making this decision, she may be asking herself either or both of these questions:

  1. Am I ready to be a parent?
  2. Am I ready to be pregnant?

These may seem like similar questions, but when it comes to the question of adoption or abortion, pregnancy and parenting must be considered separately. Women who answer “no” to the first question may choose adoption, while women who answer “no” to both questions may choose abortion. Both options have a profound effect on the mother and the child.

Welfare of the Mother

Many women with an unplanned pregnancy may choose abortion because they believe it is the easiest and least expensive alternative to parenting. However, this comes from a few misconceptions. Firstly, adoption is free for a birth mother, as an adoptive family will cover hospital bills, legal fees, counseling and more, and may possibly be able to provide her living expenses as well. Secondly, some women underestimate the emotional toll that an abortion can have in the future.

Women may also choose abortion instead of adoption because a pregnancy would cause them to miss work, halt their current plans, or make other sacrifices. They may also prefer the discretion that abortion allows, given that a pregnancy cannot be concealed.

If you seek the help of an adoption agency, some of these issues can be alleviated. With the support of the adoptive family, you can take the time to focus on your pregnancy, and after giving birth, you can return to your life and goals. In some cases, you may even be able to be relocated temporarily to maintain confidentiality. However, maintaining confidentiality during a pregnancy can still be challenging.

Pregnancy is not something to be taken lightly; it can bring with it discomfort, inconvenience, and pain. However, the choice of abortion can also bring its own emotional pain. When it comes to an unexpected pregnancy, no decision is an easy one, but only you can know what the right decision is.

Welfare of the Child

No woman wants to be in a position where she must consider abortion. Many times, she is making that choice because she does not want to bring a child into the world with a hard or troubled life. She knows that she will not be able to parent the child, and she may have heard stories about adoption and foster care; she imagines her child bouncing around between homes without being loved. However, this does not paint an accurate picture of adoption today.

Thousands of domestic infant adoptions are completed each year, and there are many parents who are actively waiting to add to those numbers. To be cleared to adopt, these families must complete thorough background checks and inspection processes to ensure that they are fit parents. And when women choose adoption, they get to pick the family that will raise their baby. Because adoption has become an increasingly positive option over the last few decades, a woman may choose adoption instead of abortion.

However, other women may still feel that they cannot guarantee the happy, healthy life they would want for a child. In many cases, they may already know of a health issue that will affect the baby, and they may terminate the pregnancy for that reason. Whether a woman ultimately chooses adoption or abortion, the child is always a consideration.

Abortion vs. Adoption

Many people will say that adoption is not an alternative to abortion, but this depends on the decision that you are making. When it comes to parenting, abortion, and adoption, there are really two decisions to m
ake: first, whether or not to carry the baby to term, and second, whether or not to parent the baby.

This is the primary dividing line between adoption and abortion. With abortion, you choose not to go through the pregnancy; with adoption, you experience pregnancy and childbirth. This leads to many differences between the two options, but there are also similarities to consider:

  • You will not have to prematurely parent a child
  • You can return to your career or education path
  • The cost of an abortion can be up to $2000, but you can choose adoption at no cost to you.
  • If you choose adoption, you will experience a full-term pregnancy and childbirth, whereas an abortion is usually obtained very early in the pregnancy.
  • In adoption, your feelings or grief and loss may be somewhat balanced by the opportunity to see your child grow up. With abortion, you may not be able to find the same closure.

Dealing with Outside Influences

Adoption and abortion are both sensitive and highly debated subjects, and you will find differing opinions everywhere you look. As you educate yourself on your options, remember that no external influence can dictate your situation – when it comes to your unplanned pregnancy, the choice is always yours.


Anti-adoption bloggers, adoption agencies, pro-life advocates – none of these people can determine the course of action for your life. Many different people have many different reasons for their opinions, and especially on the Internet, you will find people that are adamant and vocal in their stances. It can be difficult not to feel pressured by aggressive media, but you can avoid this by being careful to separate opinion from fact. If you’re researching your options, look for quality content from credible sources.

Talking with Loved Ones

Your friends, family, and other figures in your life may be tempted to offer their opinions. Tell them that you appreciate their care and advice, but this is a decision that you must make for yourself. If you face any hostility, you may want to distance yourself from that person while you make this decision. It’s your choice, and you have the right to make it for yourself.

Making the Best Choice for You

There are some steps you can take during this time to help you as you make your decision:

Surround yourself with supportive people – The biggest favor you can do for yourself is building a network of people who care about you and want you to feel positively about your decision.

Don’t let someone make the decision for you – Whatever your plan is, you may face opposition from loved ones and possibly even acquaintances. You may find yourself feeling pressured, especially if the person is close to you, but it’s important to remember that the choice you make affects you before anyone else.

Explore your options – Requesting information from an adoption agency is not binding in any way.

Final Thoughts

Determining the next step after an unplanned pregnancy can be a difficult decision, and you should take time and careful consideration before any course of action. Adoption and abortion are both options for women who are not ready to parent, and they each present different challenges to the woman making the choice. If you are not prepared to experience a pregnancy, you may find yourself choosing abortion. On the other hand, in choosing adoption, you have an opportunity to give the gift of a child to a hopeful family.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t want to be pregnant but don’t want an abortion,” and want to learn more about your options, contact your local Planned Parenthood and research local and national adoption agencies for more information.