Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let's Shelve the Abortion Debate Until We Can Fix the Child Welfare System

Juxtapositions are killing me lately. Abortion is bad! Birth control is bad! Children are a blessing, don't even think about not having them! and at the same time, yet another child failed by the child welfare system. Again and again and afuckinggain until I feel like grabbing prolifers by the ears and shaking them while screaming, "Not everyone should have children! Abortion is not worse than a child beaten and starved and raped and killed with pesticides! That is not better!"

I am not going to beat up on the people that comprise the child welfare system in this country. My friend Marzie is a part of it and through her I have gotten the tiniest sense of how difficult that job is. Enough sense to know that I would last a week before throwing myself off a bridge. Superman is nothing compared to Marzie in my eyes, I really don't know how she does it.

The system is broken. It breaks the people within it, from the judges to the GALs to the case workers to the children it is meant to protect. And I don't know any better than anyone else how to fix it.

Well, I do, in a way. The child welfare system is filled with unwanted children. That's how they end up in the system. Their parents didn't want them in the first place, so they abandon them, or neglect them, or abuse them. The fact of the matter is, you can force people to have children, by denying people access to birth control and abortion, but you can't force those people to want those children, nor can you force them to treat those children well. So you take the children away and put them in the care of someone else, and hope those people don't abuse them. You hope that the abuse and neglect didn't damage them permanently and you hope that love and therapy will be enough to prevent an endless cycle of unwanted pregnancies and abused children. It often is not.

The abortion debate, well, the prolife side anyway, ignores something important about pregnancy: it results in a child that has to be cared for. And the people demanding forced pregnancies aren't the ones caring for the children, now are they? And they aren't the ones being neglected and abused.

But wait! Adoption! It solves all problems! First of all, adoption is fraught with difficulties, both social* and emotional, and anyway, the Barahona children were adopted. Adoptive parents neglect and abuse their children, too. It's no guarantee.

So you know what? Let's not even consider reversing Roe v. Wade right now and come back to it after we've worked something out for all the unwanted children we already have. I don't think dumping millions more unwanted children into the system is really the way to address that, do you?

*I couldn't possibly afford a child right now, but I can also guarantee you that no one I work with and no one in my family would accept me putting a child up for adoption. Social pariah would be the best I could hope for.


  1. Don't forget that kids often get tossed into the system due to either crappy laws, or laws being applied in crappy ways, that determine that somehow, the system is a better place for them than with the parents that love them. Not all the time or even the majority, but it's also a major flaw.

    And no, of course not, by far the majority of the ardent pro-life argument comes by way of a circular logic that also ascribes to very anti-welfare/public systems of support that will just place the blame on the parents when they can't care for their children... Because the anti-abortion-anti-birth-control was never meant to be about saving innocent babies. It was always about controlling female sexuality, where the only appropriate expression of female sexuality, is None. Except for within the confines of marriage for the express purpose of reproducing.

  2. and lets not forget that many, MANY, of those fundies? WON'T ADOPT.
    because of "sins of the father" and fear that adopting a baby will cause the sins of the babies parents to cause punishements to the ADOPTIVE parents [via the CHILD being punished]

    note how that was a MAJOR thing, in that world i sent you - innocence [not virginity, real, actual innocence, i.e. CHILDREN] were the most important thing and abusing them was the WORST CRIME, slightly worse than RAPE [which was WORSE than MURDER] because our world is FUCKED UP and i was creating a utopia, aside from the alien invasions.

    [this isn't me saying "look how cool i am" - this is me saying "i was one of those kids! it's HELL to be one of those kids, and it's society's BIGGEST SIN and for fuck's sake STOP IT IT'S EVIL! *sob*]

    i... i am Not Good right now :(


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