By Leah Himlie
Imagine that there are two couples. One of the couples is pregnant without wanting to be. The other couple would die to have a child but is not able to. Instead of aborting, the pregnant couple is pressured into carrying the pregnancy to term and putting the child up for adoption. The other couple goes through all the legal steps needed to adopt a child. Their request is denied because they are gay. The topics of adoption and abortion are closely connected, but people don’t always see that.
One of the biggest arguments against abortion is along the lines of this: “Don’t abort the baby because you can put it up for adoption.” Adoption is an option for a mother who cannot take care of the child, but sometimes it can put the child in bad situations. According to the Children’s Bureau website there are approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States. If every woman who wanted an abortion instead put the child up for adoption, the amount of children in the system would dramatically increase. The problem with this is that there aren’t enough people willing to adopt the children now. An influx of children would make the situation worse because people who can conceive their own children usually will not adopt. That is where gay parents can help. Though they can help, same-sex couples can face issues in the adoption process that straight couples do not.
Requests of same-sex couples to adopt or foster children can legally be denied on basis of sexuality if it goes against the agency’s religious beliefs. According to the Movement Advancement Project, state-licenced child welfare agencies are allowed to do this in 10 states. That means that in 10 states there are children that are being denied homes just because those who want to take them in are gay. Even if the gay couple can adopt from a different agency that doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t change the fact that a child in the first agency was denied the opportunity for a loving home because of discrimination. It doesn’t change the fact that the agency is discriminatory, and the state is allowing it despite the multitudes of children that need a home.
Arguments against adoption by gay couples range from religious beliefs to claims that gay couples will try to “turn the kids gay” or even that other kids will bully them for having gay parents. As mentioned previously, some child welfare agencies are allowed to deny same-sex couples adoption because their religion goes against homosexuality. There is a keyword in that sentence. That word is “their.” The adoption agency’s beliefs go against homosexuality. By denying a child a loving home solely because of their personal beliefs, they are forcing their religion upon both the child and the prospective parents. As for gay parents “turning the kids gay,” sexuality is not a choice. One cannot choose to whom one is attracted. There is no evidence that having gay parents is more likely to make someone gay. Besides, there are plenty of straight parents that have gay children. Being around their mom and dad didn’t make those kids straight. The last argument that will be touched on is the one that says kids will bully the child for having gay parents. Think back to when you were in school. What didn’t kids bully other kids for? Now ask yourself why those kids were bullies. Children are only as mean as adults teach them to be. If adults didn’t teach discrimination by being discriminatory, this wouldn’t be such a large issue. Unfortunately, it is an issue. The adopted child will have to deal with bullies, but the child will learn valuable lessons from the same-sex parents that the bullies didn’t learn from their parents: people are different and that’s okay; it’s not okay to discriminate or bully because of it. That is a lesson many adults still haven’t learned. Though these are some of the more common arguments against gay adoption, they are by no means all of them; however, most are rooted in bias and bigotry rather than fact.
Adoption and abortion are two different outcomes to an unwanted pregnancy, and they affect each other. That is why it is important to address both of them when talking about one of them. Restricting both abortion and same-sex adoption would have disastrous consequences because there would be less people able to adopt the swelling numbers of parentless children. All the kids want is to be loved. If a same-sex couple can provide a stable and loving home, there is no logical reason happiness should be denied to the child and the couple.
Leah Himlie is a student at Rushford-Peterson High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 20th year.