No, Mike Pence, adoption isn't the answer to abortion.

Should adoption be the pro-life response to abortion? Mike Pence suggested that last night. Some adoption advocates cheered. I didn’t, because I don’t agree.

Surprised? I get that. After all, I’m a mom of six, four by adoption. And I’ve written and spoken about being pro-life consistently.

I’m passionate about adoption.

I’m passionate about life (even when my view is unpopular among some pro-lifers).

So where’s the disconnect for me?   

It’s simple. Adoption is not the opposite of abortion. Birth is. After a child is born, a variety of outcomes are possible, and adoption is only one. One, for example, is parenting.

If a woman is considering abortion, our response as a country shouldn’t be simply to take her child. Yes, it is helpful for some of us to be willing to adopt so that expectant mothers can have that option if they desire placement of their child in another family. But our first response should be to care for the mother. A genuinely biblical pro-life stance values all life because of the Life Giver. Doesn’t that extend to the mother and not just the fetus? Doesn’t loving our neighbor as we love ourselves mean we don’t decide a woman’s only value is to be an incubator for an unborn child? Our moral, political, and religious imperatives to value life can’t leapfrog over the pregnant one in defense of the one with whom she’s pregnant.

It's simple: do we value life? Or do we just value babies?

Let’s start by admitting that the reasons women choose abortion are many. We’re being reductive if we act as if every abortion would have ended in adoption if the child had been born. Some women choose abortion for children they would have otherwise raised, but poverty or health concerns making pregnancy painful or lack of other supports lead them to terminate. If job training were provided or medical access guaranteed or economic supports available to meet those needs, some of those moms would not only give birth but also raise their own children instead of relinquishing them to another family. Or in the case of abortions chosen because of a prenatal diagnosis of a non-fatal disability, disability awareness and support can help present life as a more viable option (and thankfully research indicates Down syndrome abortion rates are dropping because of such cultural changes, which have been holistically championed by only one of the candidates, Hillary).

Furthermore, there's yet another significant flaw in Pence's words from last night: 

"There are so many families around the country who can't have children. We could improve adoption so that families that can't have children can adopt more readily those children from crisis pregnancies."

Again, we're assuming a lot when we suppose that the crisis in a crisis pregnancy is the need for a different set of parent. But the second fallacy here is that we don't have enough children available for adoption as it is. That's not true, though. For families who want to adopt children, they'll find no lack of opportunity. According to more than 100,000 children in foster care are legally free for adoption. This process has minimal cost (with tax credits to recover any expenses not covered by the state).

So if we want to talk about the value of life, how about the value of the lives of those children? How about we have a real conversation about how many waiting kids have disabilities, a group which Trump has disrespected again and again throughout his campaign? And Pence wants to rally for a candidate who has supported adoption efforts via legislation, that's great... it just would have to be Hillary.

Abortion involves real women and real unborn children and real difficult decisions.

Adoption involves real women and real children (many of whom are born and have been waiting for families for some time or should be reunited with their first families) and real difficult decisions.

None of these are tidy issues fit for sound bites. Hillary doesn’t want to kill babies. Trump might have changed his stance from when he was vocally pro-choice. But? Neither has a great track record on supporting unborn lives. Only one has a track record of affirming born lives. That’s why I wrote previously about how my pro-life convictions mean that I’m with her. 

So, can adoption be a valid response to abortion? Yes and no.

Yes, because being pro-life means more than just being pro-fetus, and adoption shows a concern for children after birth. No, because adoption isn’t simply a political or moral statement but rather a lifelong commitment to parenting. 

My pro-life beliefs did influence our decision to adopt, but my children’s first parents weren’t a means to an end but rather image bearers of God who we love dearly. And my children aren’t protest symbols or principled statements. They’re my children.

Adoption should be our response to a child in need of a family. Meanwhile, support in a variety of forms should be our response to a pregnant woman in need. Let’s not confuse the two.

Note: I never meant to become a political blogger. I still don’t fancy myself to be that. But I do aim to write about the important things. This? This is important. So is rape and parenting and alcoholism and racism and education and church inclusion and medicine and worship and self-worth so much more. I write about those things too, because they - like abortion and adoption and present presidential election - are topics that matter to me.

What concerns me the most this election cycle? You might be surprised by the answer.

Hi, I’m a person.

Despite what some commenters think, I’m not a paid Democrat operative. Despite their theories, my piece wasn’t ghostwritten by Hillary’s team. Despite how some have argued and flooded me with links as if I didn’t research my post, I watched and read extensively from varied sources in the hours it took to draft what I shared last weekend.

One commenter wrote, "if this is indeed a real person, she either is a flaming pro-abort or is too busy with children to do much more than arrange sound bites from the liberal, dishonest media." Sigh.

I’m a person who spent a week on vacation and wrote a research paper on politics and pro-life ideology for fun. So, yes, I'm a nerd, but I'm still a person. 

I know we don’t all agree. I never asked or demanded anyone else to share my views. I was careful to express respect and care for those who hold other positions, even as I honestly expressed that I don’t understand how Christians can support Trump. (This post, also lengthy, does an exceptional job of expanding upon that. I don’t agree with a couple of his points, but I think the biblical arguments are compelling.) But I never attacked anyone for holding a different conviction than I do.

Meanwhile, my comment sections… mercy.

I usually police them. I didn’t this time. Part of it was because I couldn’t keep up with each one. But part of it is that I think we all need to be heard. So I was more lenient than usual.

I think I erred on the side of grace, maybe too much so. I allowed people to question my integrity and faith and intellect without shutting that down. When I felt like someone was harsh to a close friend in the comments, though, I jumped in to protect her and stop it immediately. When it came to me, I wasn’t as protective.

I’m going to need to spend a while processing what that means.

I know this, though: I’m learning to value myself as much as I value others. I’m definitely not there yet. My wrist might be branded with the word enough, but my heart doesn’t always believe it. As a result, I stood by, tolerating more heartless and unkind comments directed at me than I should have allowed.

I’ve always tried to make others comfortable, sometimes with severe consequences to my health or safety. Earlier this year, I stopped having any contact with someone who has persistently and at times violently abused me throughout my life. Afterward, my therapist said, “You’ve always limited your children’s contact with him. It seems like you’re starting to value your own safety and protection as much as you value theirs.”


Just as I deserved better than my abuse, we all deserve better than current political rhetoric offers. We are all better than the dehumanizing shouts and snarky digs that have become common at rallies and on the internet. We would correct our children if they ever spoke with such disregard for another person as we do about the candidates we dislike. (Ouch.)

If America needs to be made great, I can guarantee the answer isn’t the candidate who keeps promising that. The answer isn’t the other candidate either, though. The answer is a return to common decency and civil debate. The answer is re-learning how to disagree without being disagreeable. The answer is to model for our children how we would want them to act toward someone with whom they don’t see eye to eye. The answer is loving ourselves and then loving our neighbors as ourselves. The answer is to love our God and each other more than we love our political parties or patriotism.

I don’t know how to bring about this change on a large scale, but I know what I can do for myself. I am striving to see every human being – even [insert the name of the candidate whose positions you find abhorrent] – as a precious life created in the image of God. My theology says that is truth. This goes for every person, every commenter, who disagrees with me too. Reducing anyone to a caricature or stereotype and dismissing different views as indoctrination isn’t treating each other with dignity or respect. If I refuse to support a candidate for denigrating those he doesn’t like but then do the same to him, I have lost any moral high ground I claim. 

My Bible also says I’m to show honor and offer prayers to governing authorities. I don't think any of us has done that well, honestly. I watched as some criticized the humanity – and not just the policies – of George W. Bush while his supporters cried foul, and then I watched as those crying foul did the same exact thing to Barack Obama while those who had been cruel before chastised the people now occupying their still warm spots in the cheap seats. Pot, meet kettle. Both sides stand guilty here.

We can’t spend an entire election cycle dehumanizing the other side and then, if our candidate loses, treat the new leader as a person worthy of respect. Our brains and emotions don’t work that way. If we are called to show deference to those in authority, then we have to start when they are running for office. We can’t throw around disparaging words like Killary or Drumpf and then respect to President Clinton or President Trump.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying you have to respect the words or actions or platforms of each candidate. I'm also not saying I've changed my mind about my last post. (I haven't.) But I am saying, Christians, we must aim to respect the personhood of each one, as an act of worship glorifying to the Creator we all share in common. Even if you don’t share my faith, I’d encourage you to exercise the same principle, as a demonstration that our shared humanity is more valuable than our differences.

I’ve heard some friends say they’ve never been so dismayed for our country as they are by Hillary. I’ve heard others say the same about Trump. As for me, it's not either candidate who worries me. It's not Supreme Court appointments or emails or racism or marriage protections or misgyny or [fill in the blank]. No, none of those bother me the most.

I’ve never been so concerned for our nation and my children as I have by the lack of care we show each other over political differences.

This week I learned that some of my friendships were conditional. Some who I’ve laughed with and prayed with and cried with and worshiped with turned from me because I said I was voting for Hillary as an expression of my pro-life beliefs. Hurtful comments from strangers didn’t pain me, but slander and abandonment and unfriending from those who I love and who I thought loved me… that stung.

I’m a person.

So are you.

So is Hillary. So is Trump. So is each of the third party candidates.

So are Republicans. So are Democrats. So are independents.

So are those who vote for either major candidate. So are those who vote third party. So are those who don’t vote.

So are those who agree with you. So are those who don’t.

I’m not as concerned about if you’re Team Hillary 2016 – like me – or Team Trump 2016 as I am that we’re all Team Humanity 2016. Let’s disagree with policies and politics and positions, not with people. And if I resolve to do this and you do and so on, then I think we can change our political climate for the better.

We can do this. I’m sure of it. Who's with me? 

I'm pro-life. And I'm voting for Hillary. Here's why.

I'm pro-life. And I'm voting for Hillary. Here's why.

I’m pro-life.

Because I’m pro-life, I won’t vote for Donald Trump. Instead, I’m planning to vote for Hillary.

To many of my fellow pro-lifers, this seems confusing and inconsistent. I understand that. Hillary firmly believes women should have the right to abortion. In the earliest days of my blogging, I wrote that if I were to be a single issue voter, abortion would be that issue for me.

So what’s changed?


Well, nothing in my stance toward abortion. I’m still opposed to it. But since Roe v. Wade, most Republicans have talked a lot about abortion while doing little to make meaningful change in that area of policy. Furthermore, they’ve opposed or even stalled measures that could prevent abortions by targeting the underlying causes, like poverty, education, lack of access to healthcare, and supports for single parent and low-income families. In fact, I suspect these reasons contribute to why abortion rates rose under Reagan, rose under the first Bush, dropped under Clinton, held steady under the second Bush, and have been dropping under Obama. As such, I’m not sure we can hold that voting Republican is the best thing for abortion rates in this country.

That’s my nutshell answer, but I think this topic deserves a more detailed analysis. If you just want the summary, feel free to stop here. If you press on, please trust that I did my best to edit down my thoughts but you’ll still be wading through a few thousand words. I wanted to offer a comprehensive, thoughtful, and well-researched presentation of my stance, and I’ve never been one for brevity.

So buckle up, y’all. We’re in for a ride…

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