Culture at the Crossroads
Imagining a Nation without Abortion
The citizens of this nation would learn the terrible stories of cultures around the world that did not support children, and weep at how these societies sold children into slavery, slaughtered newborns, forced sterilizations, and subjected marginalized women to dangerous back alley abortions. They would study the slow march of responses to these violent acts: from orphan trains that moved children off city streets to farms, to different kinds of foster care and orphanages, to the paradox of medical abortion. At each stage they would recognize the desperate cosmetic fixes to the larger social problem: these cultures thought only some children were worth caring about. They did not have their best and brightest using their most significant resources to care for mothers, fathers, and children.
These citizens would celebrate the fact that they lived in more enlightened times. Their young people would learn not to play games with sex and to treat reproduction with reverence. They would learn reverence for sexual otherness, and recognize in their own sexual desires the hints of deeper desires for being in love and working at love. They would work hard at their marriages. They would realize that the virtues of a loving marriage are precisely the virtues they wanted their children to learn so that they, too, might practice friendship, and thereby practice what it means to be happy. And they would live with constant reminders of the marvels of life, when it is shared with children.
*Note: There is not reliable data to make this an easy claim. However, The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption institute offers data (here and here) that show some indicators. In brief: in 1995 (the last year for data available) there were 500,000 women seeking to adopt. The number of adoptions has declined since the Roe v. Wade decision, suggesting that many who would have been adopted were killed in utero. In 1995, "126,951 children were adopted through international, foster care, private agency, independent and step-parent adoptions." My guess, based on these statistics and on years of anecdotal evidence, is that the difficulty of adoption dissuades many families from pursuing it.