• Dr. D

What Do We Do About the Babies?


I know I’m supposed to be talking about ways to help yourself if you’re dependent on opioids – prescription or not.


But with all the stuff about abortion that’s going around, I got to wondering: in a United States where no abortions are permitted, what can we expect?


So, please bear with me. I’ll get back to the opioids, but I’ve been researching the topic of abortion and children who are either given up or taken away from their families and what happens to them. I’d like to share that information here.


And I’m not going to focus on whether abortion is right or wrong. I want to look at our country with tens of thousands more children who were never wanted.


Stats About Abortions in the U.S.


There are about a dozen places you can look to find statistics on abortions in America. And they’re all pretty much the same, so I assume we have a fair idea about how many abortions occur.


All the sources say that the number of abortions in the U.S. has been falling at least since 2010 And the reason they're falling is that there are also fewer pregnancies occurring.


It's not because abortions are harder to get.

The last year we have numbers for is 2019. And in that year there were around 630,000 abortions. Over 90% of these are before thirteen weeks of pregnancy.


So let’s say that each year, in addition to all the babies that are welcomed into the world, we have an additional 630,000 who aren’t wanted, for whatever reason.


Tell Teens to Just Say No -


- to Sex. This is one approach I've heard about for preventing unwanted teen pregnancies.

And there's no question that if people aren't having sex, they won't be pregnant


The only problem is, there no evidence that this kind of sex education actually works.


Zilch.


Zip.


Nada.


The age when a person in the U.S. has their first sexual contact has stayed about the same for decades. And it's in the late teens.


Unfortunately, the average age at first sex is younger than the average age at first use of contraception. Which means, unwanted pregnancies are going to happen.


You Can Put Him Up for Adoption


If a girl or woman doesn’t want a newborn, she can give it up shortly after birth as long as she hasn’t hurt it. Every state has a “Safe Haven” law. This lets the mother talk to someone at the hospital and let them know she doesn’t want the infant.


Then she can just leave the baby there and walk away. The newborn then goes into the child welfare system.


Or she can leave it with a police officer, sometimes at a fire station or other places that a particular state says a baby can be left.


No questions are asked. Nobody has to sign anything. The mom doesn’t have to go through the expense of finding a place for the newborn to go. She says she’s done and unless the infant has been abused in some way, she’s done.


So it’s easy to say the baby could be put up for adoption. And there are a lot of adoptions that take place in the U.S. every year.


The weird thing is, though, that MOST of them are adoptions of babies from other countries. Only about a quarter of the babies adopted each year in America are actually from the U.S.


And it’s not that there are so few babies being given up for adoption here. More than a third of babies born here that are put up for adoption at birth DON’T get adopted in the first month.


And the older a baby or child is, the less likely they are to be adopted.

Then they can end up in foster care


Can't He Just Go to an Orphanage?


Some older people I know spent time in orphanages many years ago. And I thought orphanages still existed.


But they don’t.


And it was doing some research for this post that made me aware of this. They actually haven’t been around since the fifties – so something like seventy years.


Orphanages were replaced by foster care. This is where someone or a family is paid to take a child in. And there’s no question that there are some sensational foster parents who value the kids they take in and do their best for them.


But foster care has its problems.


Foster Care is Great – Right?


Sometimes.


But it depends on who you ask. It’s certainly needed. There were over 400,000 kids in foster care last year and about 114,000 are waiting to be adopted.


But the older a child is, the less likely they are to be adopted. And the average age of foster children is about eight years old.


Plus, up to half of all foster parents quit in their first year of taking in children. So there are never enough foster parents. And where they do exist, they often don’t stay long.


So now we add the 650,000 unwanted fetuses who are forced to be born to the ones already in foster care, we come up to a million kids in need of housing, love, education , food, etc.


A Million Children - Now What


When I ask “What do we do with the babies?” I get a lot of answers that don't help anybody. I hear people make statements like “she” shouldn’t have been screwing around, or how “she” shouldn’t be having sex if she doesn’t want to get pregnant.


But making judgments like that doesn’t help. The fact of the matter is, unwanted pregnancies happen and have always happened. And if we don’t somehow stop these pregnancies, we will have over a million children to look after.


And we will take care of them.


It doesn’t help to blame the mother. If a child is born we as a society will take care of it.


Often badly.


But we’ll take care of it.


That’s who we are. We take care of people who are hurt and can’t pay. You can smoke, drink, use drugs, do all kinds of things that you shouldn’t, and we’ll still give you medical care, even if we know you can never cover the cost.


Because that’s who we are. And that’s what we should do. We’re not going to leave the bleeding survivor of a car wreck in the parking lot just because they don’t have insurance.


And it’s the same with unwanted children. We will take care of them. The question is how?


We’re not doing a great job with many of the children in foster care. It’s expensive. It’s fragmented. We don’t have enough caring and capable people to take all of the children who need it now. It’s hard to imagine that more than doubling the number of kids in need is going to make it better.


I’m serious when I ask – What do we do with the babies? People aren’t going to stop having sex, so they’re not going to stop having babies.


I don’t want to get into the negative “shouldas”- "she shoulda known better, he shoulda worn a condom,” and things like that. Talking about all the things someone should have done doesn't help us solve the problem of the way things are.


Somebody didn't do what they should have done, and we're going to have to deal with the consequences.


Let’s look at the positive “shoulds.” Maybe we should make preventing unwanted pregnancies a priority. It’s okay to teach abstinence in schools, but people need to know what to do and how to get help if they do have sex.


Again, there have always been babies born to mothers who never intended to have them.


What are ways we can see to it that every child is a child who is wanted?


Think about these things -


...And offer some realistic solutions to an already overwhelming problem. I don't have the solution and would like to hear good suggestions.


- Talking about what should have been done to prevent a pregnancy doesn’t touch the reality of a child being born but isn't wanted.


- Adoption is an option. But there are so many babies being born already who aren't adopted that it’s not realistic to think this can take care of the whole problem.


- Is free, universal pregnancy prevention the way we need to go?


-How about requiring every American over the age of eighteen to take a turn once a month, once a year, whatever... to work in a public orphanage? Would that help?


- Does making every citizen adopt one infant per decade make sense?


-Execute women who get pregnant out of wedlock? Sterilize their partners?


- What will it realistically take to make every child born in this country a wanted child? No moralizing. No "shouldas." What are we going to do?


Please let me know your thoughts. I'll pass the best ones on. And next time, back to what you can do if you can't get off opioid drugs.


Image of newborn by @CanStockPhoto Inc /haveseen

Image of pregnancy by @CanStockPhoto Inc/ sognolucido

Image of children by @CanStockPhoto inc/Tigatelu