Should adoption be the church’s response to abortion?

shutterstock_235901956Should adoption be the church’s response to abortion? No.

Perhaps you’re surprised by my answer, but hear me out. 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 church 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?

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 health concerns making pregnancy painful or poverty or lack of other supports lead them to terminate. If job training were provided or medical access guaranteed or the loving support of the local church met 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).

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.

In addition to serving as a Key Ministry Church Consultant, Shannon Dingle is a co-founder of the Access Ministry at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.


© 2014 Rebecca Keller PhotographyCheck out Shannon Dingle’s blog series on adoption, disability and the church. In the series, Shannon looked at the four different kinds of special needs in adoptive and foster families and shared five ways churches can love their adoptive and foster families. Shannon’s series is a must-read for any church considering adoption or foster care initiatives. Shannon’s series is available here.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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3 Responses to Should adoption be the church’s response to abortion?

  1. Julie says:

    I wish every church realized this.

    Thank you for posting it.


  2. Pingback: Disability and abortion: How should the church respond? | Church4EveryChild

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