The largest U.S.-based adoption agency and an anti-choice media group have teamed up to produce a television advertisement targeting women considering abortion. According to Christian News, Heroic Media and Bethany Christian Services began working together late in 2012 on the first-ever national television campaign to propose adoption as an alternative to abortion, running about 45 spots within a one-month period on the Oxygen Network, which attracts predominately female viewers.
The ad features a young woman, approximately 7 or 8 months pregnant, addressing the camera. “I’m pregnant, but I’m not in a position to care for this child, “ she says. “I want him to have a better future – to be with a family who will love him and give him the things that I can’t.”
“I’ve learned that through adoption, I can choose the family that will raise him, and I can receive help through the rest of my pregnancy. Adoption just seems like the best option – for him, and for me.”
Marissa Cope, Director of Marketing, Communications and Research at Heroic Media, said about the advertisement, “Heroic Media’s mission is to present women with hopeful alternatives to abortion – and adoption is a beautiful alternative. Our new pro-adoption TV commercial shares the message that adoption is a loving choice that gives a birth mother the ability to choose a family for her baby and receive support throughout her pregnancy.”
While adoption can be a positive choice for some women, a woman should be aware of and have access to all of her options should she be facing an unplanned pregnancy. While adoption and abortion may be among these options, they are not easily interchangeable choices. As with abortion, adoption carries heavy physical, psychological, emotional, and financial burdens that require serious consideration. A woman that chooses adoption will still face the risks that come with pregnancy and delivery, often expensive medical care, missed time from school or work, and the difficult emotional and psychological decision to give away her child after carrying it to term.
When Heroic Media and similar groups present adoption is an easy alternative to abortion, as this advertisement aims to suggest, the implication is that women who choose to get abortions are doing so because they are selfish, irresponsible, and/or acting out of “convenience.” It is part of their campaign to associate abortion with shame and guilt.
The battle for reproductive justice is a battle for more than legal rights. It is a battle for women to feel empowered and supported enough to make informed, reasoned decisions about their reproductive futures. Any campaign that aims to make women feel guilty or shameful about the reproductive choices she makes cannot add a productive voice to this conversation.