In a tragedy for the Australian medical community, only 65,000 abortions were performed in Australia in 2019¹. Down from their usual quota of 80,000, State Governments around Australia are looking to late term abortions as their savior to bump their numbers up². Heaven forbid the overwhelming tide of infanticide is hampered by something as trivial as live birth. Luckily for the champions of termination, Pro-Lifers have been perfectly portrayed as anti-women and anti-progress, leaving their fight for the unborn seemingly impossible.
Satire aside, let’s have a conversation, just you and me. A conversation about how we can effectively reduce this abhorrently high rate of abortion and be loving to the women making these difficult choices. A conversation about a rarely spoken, yet much needed solution; adoption.
For too long Pro-life advocates have been painted by the media and politicos as uncaring and antifeminist. This has been accomplished over decades by an incredibly well resourced and politically savvy group, who create a reality where abortion is simply a women’s issue, rather than the complex humanitarian issue that it really is.
Where there is smoke though, there is of course, a fire. The question is an obvious one, what solution do we offer to the woman who believes she is not fit to be a mother, or is not able to support a child, or simply doesn’t want to be a mother? It is just and compassionate to encourage the struggling mother away from termination, but what are we steering her to? What are we steering our nation towards, if not abortion? How can we demonstrate love and compassion during these incredibly difficult times, while also promoting the rights of an unborn child?
An absent debate
Adoption as a concept is completely absent in the national debate. While the abortion industry are mourning their slump in form, the adoption system only placed 135 local adoptions (adoptions within Australia) ³. Not to be outdone, 315 overseas adoptions were successful in the same year³. In an age where fertility issues are on the rise and desperate families are turning to painful and costly medical treatments, why are adoption numbers so low? Why is there seemingly an express lane for ending the life of a child, and a bureaucratic quagmire to wade through to give a child a loving home? One could be mistaken in thinking that there is a hidden, malevolent agenda at play.
In order to reduce abortions, adoption should be the preferred option. The adoption process is one of the most arduous and expensive in the developed world. Not to mention the complete and utter lack of information available to the women making the difficult choice. There have been numerous pushes for adoption reform, however most wish to reform nuanced issues in the process, which although important, do no change the fact that adoption is not see as a viable option for women deciding what to do with an unwanted pregnancy, and families wanting to have a child.
The average wait time for a local adoption is between 3 and 5 years. The cost of assessment alone is between $700-2000. That is not an application fee or a one-off payment, that is just the money hopeful parents have to pay for a bureaucrat to assess their ability to be a parent. Once the assessment is complete, would-be-parents are known to spend thousands on creating the ‘right environment’ for their prospective child. Whether it be moving to a house with a larger yard, or a prospective parent (usually mum) having to give up work to be a principal carer, this is all done before the adoption is signed off. Once a hopeful mum and dad are given the greenlight, it can still be years before the stars align and a child is brought home, if at all.
There are many roadblocks
I still haven’t mentioned the fact that there are roadblocks along the way that weed out loving parents with ‘undesirable living arrangements’ such as being over 40 or having more than 3 children already in the family. Or the much whispered about, but never investigated, notion that Christians who are seen as ‘fundamentalist’ are regularly rejected. This is by no means an exhaustive deep dive into the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Australia adoption system, it is merely a snapshot.
A snapshot to begin a conversation amongst ourselves. If we truly want the rates of elective terminations to reduce, then we need to look at alternatives. If we want to be compassionate and loving to women who are in the midst of a painful decision, then we need to provide solutions. If we want to give life to more than 65,000 children a year, then we need to put energy, resource, and passion into the reformation and promotion of local adoption.
Jason Gay is an Educational Leader in regional Queensland. Loving husband and father of four, Jason is passionate about seeing all generations equipped with everything they need for a successful and fulfilling life. He writes about politics, theology, and the big ideas of life.