Monday, July 13, 2009

Searching for pro-woman adoption resources

Our quest for offering women comprehensive information on all reproductive options has hit a sandbar. We simply cannot find any woman-centered adoption resource... the kind that treats birthmothers like humans.

It seems, in all the compassionate language adoption agencies use in their Q&As for prospective birthmothers, agencies have an air about them that seems manipulative, paternalistic, or just plain untrustworthy. There's far too much focus on the baby-to-be and not nearly enough on the emotional or physical toll adoption can have on a birthmother. Baby-centrism is the main reason I've decided not to post even the most promising adoption resources on the website. I figure, women can find this sort of information everywhere; it's well-funded, well-supported, and easy to access the "run of the mill" adoption resource. The problem is, we've found that the average adoption resource ignores what we see as the single most important faction of the process: the woman doing the birthing.

But in my search, I did come across a fantastic article on adoption from a feminist perspective. It truly helps to explain why we've had so much trouble finding what we're looking for.

Feminist lens on adoption

Katie Leo

I've asked several of the anti-choicers that write us to condemn our work for help on this. I truly want it. I ask for woman-positive, preferably secular (or predominately secular-operating) agencies that would treat the pregnant woman like a human with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and concerns. I've not heard back from any of them.

If anyone does have decent resources for birthmothers (agencies or just plain resources), do send us an email so we can get that up in our links and resources. We do, in fact, strive to be supportive of any informed choice a woman makes when facing an unplanned pregnancy, and want to help facilitate those choices in an unbiased manner.


Monday, July 6, 2009

To Jaime

We received an email recently that we truly wanted to respond to. In fact, I spend upwards of 30 minutes replying. Unfortunately, upon pressing the "send" button, I was left with a message delivery failure. Another person who would rather send anonymous comments with flippant accusations instead of giving us the chance to respond, to discuss, I suppose.

But I'm not giving up... perhaps it's because I spent so long sending a well-thought response, or because I know that this is a common misconception about what CPC Watch as an organization does. So, on the off chance that Jaime returns instead of just moving along to some other pro-choice resource, I'm posting response here.

Jaime wrote:
Why does abortion sound like the responsible choice on your website? Wouldn't the responsible choice have been to not have unprotected sex? Yes, I beleive [sic] women do have a choice and this is to be careful OR be responsible for the CHOICES she made. My mom used to say "you made your bed, now lay in it." Why can't the decision point be emphasized prior to the conception rather than later on? Am I wrong in thinking that abortion is just a way to "terminate" a mistake? Why can't we just make better choices to begin with? Just some thoughts...

And my response:

Hello Jaime,

Thank you for your inquiry about our organization.

CPC Watch operates under a platform of reproductive justice: the idea that all women and girls ought to have complete control over their sexual, emotional, medical, psychological, and financial needs. We believe in sexual autonomy, a concept that, if attained in our society, would allow for women to have the tools to make informed decisions about sexuality, sexual activity/expression, contraception, pregnancy, childbirth, etc. It is in these beliefs that CPC Watch was founded: our belief that, while some crisis pregnancy centers do in fact offer valuable assistance to women in need, they exist mainly to limit reproductive decisions, often through deception, misleading information, or outright false "facts" regarding abortion and contraception.

To answer your question, we have often meditated on the fact that our website can be a little abortion-centric. However, we have always concluded that this arises *not* from our belief that abortion is "the" responsible choice, that is, the *only* choice for women facing unplanned pregnancy; it arises more from where we see our energy being needed. With all the hyper-focus on the "evils" of abortion by the anti-choice camp (namely, those who run CPCs), much of our focus has to follow suit simply just to refute the misinformation doled out by CPCs and their propaganda.

We are truly and honestly "pro-choice"... pro-choicES, that is. Take a second look, if you would, at our resources:
Reproductive and Sexual Health ResourcesNational Women's Health Network

Above, you will see a wealth of resources pertaining to reproductive health: sexual health clinics (including those that do free or low-cost STD testing), contraception information, legitimate information regarding contraception and pregnancy options, resources for women choosing to become single or unsupported mothers (those who CPCs see as "at risk" for abortion), resources for women who have ended a pregnancy early due to fetal anomaly, how to get a referral for a birth or postpartum doula, etc. I believe we have it pretty well covered... that is, covered well enough to give women a starting point in their quest for an informed decision. We have been searching for woman-friendly adoption resources, but have found few that aren't manipulative and profit-driven, or completely disregard the birthmother. Maybe you could help us here... if you know of any adoption resources that treat birthmothers like humans, and are also secular as we are a secular organization, I'd be glad to add them to our resource list.

As for your other comment, about responsibility being not having unprotected sex, well wouldn't that be nice? But in all our idealism, we recognize the need to remain realistic. Besides, surely you see the wealth of contraception information above? Myself, I know all too well how much backup options are needed. In addition to the ever-growing number of youths uninformed about contraception (generally the same ones exposed to the CPC brainchild that is "abstinence-only" education), people do, in fact, become pregnant while being about as "responsible" as they can be. A dear friend of mine found herself pregnant within a year of being married. She was on the Pill, which she took religiously. Married, protecting herself... surely you cannot find anything "irresponsible" about that? But being a well-educated, middle class woman with health insurance, she was able to make a decision with her partner that has had no negative consequences on her marriage or on her reproductive health. No shame, no guilt... because she *knew* what she was deciding on. I wish the same for all women. That is why we do what we do.

Thanks again for your inquiry. I hope you understand I cannot continue to discuss these issues in as much of an in-depth way as I just have... in addition to my "day job," I'm a freelance writer, activist, wife, and of course, project coordinator of CPC Watch. Here is a website specifically created for continuous, constructive debate on abortion and contraception:

I blog occasionally for RH Reality Check, but I've not gotten terribly involved with the Common Ground section yet... perhaps I'll run into you there.

Paz hermana,