Planned Parenthood argues that unwanted children “get lower grades, particularly in language skills.” It says unwanted adolescents “perform increasingly poorly in school,” And “they are less than half as likely as wanted children to pursue higher education.”(i) Many also express concern that having more unwanted children results in more child abuse.
I don’t question the accuracy of these findings, or the concerns presented about at-risk children in society. They tell us what we should already know—the importance of wanting and caring for our children. Instead, however, pro-choice advocates use such research to justify simply getting rid of the “unwanted” by aborting them!
Furthermore, how would we know if many of those abused children were actually “wanted” children at birth but later became “unwanted” because of the selfishness of the parents? We can’t automatically connect an abused child with an “unwanted” pregnancy.
Let’s be clear: everyone, including pro-lifers, agrees that children should be wanted. But unwanted shouldn’t be used to describe a child but rather, an attitude of some adults toward the child. The real problem isn’t unwanted children, but unwanting adults.
No Unwanted Child
There are “unwanted” pregnancies, but in reality there is no such thing as an unwanted child. While certain people may not want them, other people do, desperately.
Nearly 1.3 million American families want to adopt. There’s such a demand for babies that private U.S. adoptions can cost up to thirty thousand dollars even without “expensive surprises.”[ii] Adoptions from outside the United States more than doubled during the 1990s as fewer couples were able to find children to adopt.[iii] A black market[iv] has developed where babies are stolen[v] and sold for as much as fifty thousand dollars. Not just “normal” babies are wanted; many people request special-needs babies, including those with Down syndrome and spina bifida.[vi]
It’s important to clarify that this has no direct bearing on the moral issue of abortion. Even if no one wanted to adopt a baby, it would still not be right to kill her. The point is simply that if someone doesn’t want a baby, there are others who do.
Many children who are at first unwanted by their mothers are very much wanted later in the pregnancy and even more at birth. (Unfortunately, many women who would have wanted the child by their sixth month of pregnancy get an abortion in their third month.)
Furthermore, many children wanted at birth are not wanted when they are crying at 2 a.m. six weeks later. Shall whether or not the parents want the baby still determine whether she deserves to live? If that’s a legitimate standard before birth, why not after?
Addressing the issue of wantedness, Abort73 says:
[Abortion advocates] don’t argue that mothers should be free to kill their "unwanted" children after birth because they know these children are living, human beings with full rights of personhood. The only reason they argue that mothers should be free to kill their unwanted children before birth is because they're ignoring the scientific reality that these children, too, are living, human beings. The question is humanity, not wantedness.[vii]
“Wanting” is simply one person’s subjective and changeable feeling toward another. The “unwanted” child is a real person regardless of anyone else’s feelings toward her.
Whose Best Interests?
One day my wife was calmly sharing with a pro-choice woman why she is pro-life. The woman looked at Nanci and said, “Haven’t you seen the homeless kids on the streets of our city? It’s cruel for them to have to live in a world like this!” My wife said, “Okay, why don’t you and I get some guns and go kill those children right now? Let’s put them out of their misery.” The woman was shocked (I was a little stunned myself), but Nanci made her point. It isn’t an act of love and fairness to kill people just because they’re unwanted.
One of the most misleading aspects of the pro-choice argument is making it appear that abortion is in the best interests of the baby. This is so absurd as to be laughable were it not so tragic. A little person is torn limb from limb, for her benefit? Similarly, slave owners argued that slavery was in the best interest of blacks. (Whom are we kidding?)
Today people say, “I can’t have this child because I can’t give it a good life.” And what is their solution to not being able to give him a good life? To take from him the only life he has.
One of the Strangest Pro-Choice Arguments
In 1973, when abortion was legalized, child abuse cases in the United States were estimated at 167,000 annually.[viii] In 2010 there were 701,158 substantiated cases of abuse and 1,262 fatalities, well over four times the rate of abuse before abortion was legalized.[ix]
The pervasive notion that aborting a child prevents child abuse is one of the strangest arguments ever made. It is true in exactly the same sense that this statement is true: killing one’s wife prevents wife abuse. True, dead people are no longer here to be abused. In that sense, future abuses can be prevented by killing them now. But arguing that we have saved them from abuse by killing them is surely convoluted logic.
The solution to battering children outside the womb is not battering children inside the womb.
The solution to child abuse isn’t doing the abuse earlier. It’s not doing the abuse at all. For those who are unable or unwilling to raise a child in a healthy environment, there’s always the option of adoption (and as we’ve seen, there is a great demand for adoptable newborns).
A More Honest Slogan
Planned Parenthood’s famous slogan used in past decades, “Every child a wanted child,” is something we should all agree with. Where we disagree is in the proper way to finish the sentence. How do you think the sentence should be finished?
- Every child a wanted child, so . . . let’s place children in homes where they’re wanted, and let’s learn to want children more.
- Every child a wanted child, so . . . let’s identify unwanted children before they’re born and kill them by abortion.
Everyone agrees that children should be wanted. The only question is this: Should we get rid of the unwanting or get rid of the children? When it comes to the unborn, the abortion rights position is more accurately reflected in a different slogan, one that doesn’t look so good on a bumper sticker: “Every unwanted child a dead child.”
[i] “Born Unwanted: Developmental Consequences for Children of Unwanted Pregnancies” (Planned Parenthood Federation of America, n.d.).
[ii] The Adoption Foundation, “Some Numbers in a Nutshell,” accessed December 29, 2011, http://infant.adoption.com/newborn/some-numbers-in-the-nutshell.html.
[iii] Allison Tarmann, “International Adoption Rate in U.S. Doubled in the 1990s,” Population Reference Bureau, January 2003, http://www.prb.org/Articles/2003/InternationalAdoptionRateinUSDoubledinthe1990s.aspx .
[iv] “Known Black Market Operations,” accessed December 30, 2011, http://www.adopting.org/adoptions/black-market-adoption-search-sites- adoption-2.html.
[v] Jessica Hopper, “Black Market Babies Seeking Answers through Face book” (http://www.facebook.com/SeymourFenichelAdoptees), ABC News, February 15, 2011, http://abcnews.go.com/US/adoptees-illegal-baby-selling-ring-led-seymour-fenichel/story?id=12886993.
[vii] Abort73, “Comon Abortion Fallacies,” accessed September 1, 2017, http://www.abort73.com/abortion/common_objections/.
[viii] Report of the National Center of Child Abuse and Neglect, US Department of Health and Human Services, 1973–1982.
[ix] US Department of Health and Human Services, “Child Maltreatment 2010,” chap. 3, 30, Table 3-1, and chap. 4 , 58, accessed December 30, 2011, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm10/cm10.pdf#page=31.