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Sample Argumentative Essay on Life Versus Choice: Is Adoption A Better Option than Abortion?
Unplanned pregnancies present a significant issue to would-be parents. They will need to make a decision that will involve their future and the child’s. Normally, there are three options which include becoming parents, adoption, and abortion. For individuals that do not want children, the only options are the latter two. They can either place the infant for adoption or undergo an abortion procedure to terminate the pregnancy. The difference between the two processes has sparked a debate among the public where some promote adoption while others support abortion. This sample argumentative essay aims to argue that adoption is a better option as it provides opportunities to different parties while also reducing health risks for would-be mothers.
The Benefits of Adoption
There are limited scientific studies regarding the benefits of adoption perhaps because of the varying factors that could affect positive child development. Still, American Adoptions, the largest fully licensed U.S. domestic adoption agency, identified 24 reasons for would-parents to choose adoption over abortion. One of these reasons is the ability to allow the child to live a happy life. When would-be parents decide to place their child for adoption, they are not only giving them away but providing them an opportunity that they would not have under abortion. Abortion terminates a developing fetus, ending its life and any opportunity it could have had. Influential figures, such as Steve Jobs, ex-U.S. President Gerald Ford, and George Washington Carver were adopted children and if their parents decided against adoption, their contributions to humanity may have not existed.
Another benefit of adoption is the chance for would-be parents to avoid any post-abortion regret and have the opportunity to meet their child at a later time. They can opt for open adoption, which will allow them to build a relationship with their child while it is still in another’s custody (24 Reasons for Choosing Adoption, n.d.). Since most would-be parents who are deciding between adoption and abortion are unprepared to become parents, their way of thinking during the pregnancy may be different. They may be focusing on their careers, education, or self-healing. However, they may eventually realize a longing for their child and may want to see or meet them. Through adoption, these parents can address this regret and introduce themselves to their children. In abortion, the process is permanent which can worsen the effects of post-abortion regret.
Additionally, open adoption can benefit an adopted child who is beginning to question his or her identity. According to the Rudd Adoption Research Program, multiple studies have shown that adopted youth face the challenge of meaning-making. This is when the adopted children start to answer questions regarding their birth, real parents, potential siblings, and more. Failing to address or help an adopted child in this process can lead to detriments in psychosocial development (Erikson, 1968, cited in Outcomes for Adopted Children, n.d.). With open adoption, a child in the process of meaning-making can talk directly to their real parents and family. This will help them understand their history and situation, allowing a good foundation for their development.
Aside from the benefits to the adopted child and the would-be parents, adoption also provides an opportunity for couples who cannot have natural children. According to American Adoptions, adoption is not giving up a child but giving a gift to another family. There are many couples that experience issues in conception and their only option for a family is to adopt. This gives children the opportunity to become part of a family that wants to have children. Opting for and promoting abortion can lessen the opportunities for these types of families.
Disadvantages of Abortion
The disadvantages of abortion are integral in the argument for adoption over abortion. These disadvantages may outweigh the benefits of the process and insinuate that adoption is a better option than terminating a fetus. One of these disadvantages is the negative effects of abortion on a woman’s mental health . Abortion does not have mental health benefits and most patients may develop negative emotions, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and depression (Reardon, 2018). This means that would-be parents who opted for abortion may bear mental health issues that can affect their lives significantly. The negative emotions and traumatic symptoms can affect their work and personal relationships, leading to more problems. However, they can prevent these risks by choosing adoption over abortion. Adoption, as mentioned earlier, can provide would-be parents the opportunity to meet their children later. This avoids the feeling of loss and regret, which is common in the abortion process.
The negative mental health effects of abortion also increase with preexisting mental health issues. According to Reardon (2018), studies and cases since 1973 support that pre-existing mental health factors are indicators that a woman will experience psychopathology. Since mental health issues can be a factor for women to choose between adoption and abortion, this implies that abortion can be disadvantageous for certain individuals. Women who were victims of sexual abuse or experiencing mental health issues that may prevent them from becoming effective parents will have higher risks of psychopathology. This makes abortion an unideal option that could worsen their conditions and lead to further issues.
Arguments Against Adoption
Disadvantage of Adoption
While there are few recent studies regarding the benefits of adoption, there is an abundance of research regarding its negative effects on adopted children. One of the most significant effects is the limitations on children's development and growth. According to Keil et al. (2021), institutionalized care negatively affects the prefrontal cortex and executive functions. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for the autonomic system balance and cognitive processes. Limitations in these areas can lead to issues in thought execution, behavior, memory, and hormonal growth. Early exposure to institutionalize care further increases the risk of these limitations. Since would-be parents will be placing their child for adoption right after birth, their exposure to institutionalized care starts very early. This will leave the child susceptible to developmental limitations, potentially giving them a challenging life.
There is also an issue regarding the relationship between international adoption and human trafficking. Since international adoption is a complex process, there are cases of undocumented adoptions. With this, there are accusations of abuse, deprivation, and kidnappings that some associate with adoption (Orr, 2018). There are many cases and anecdotes that support a certain relationship between adoption and human trafficking. There are stories of individuals stealing children and putting them for adoption in exchange for money. Promoting adoption will increase the number of adopted children, however, it can also be a way for human traffickers to take advantage of would-be parents.
Benefits of Abortion
The benefits of abortion can be factors that convince would-be parents to terminate the pregnancy instead of putting a child for adoption. Generally, abortion access can improve educational attainment, increase labor force participation, and promote positive economic outcomes (Bernstein & Jones, 2019). Would-be parents who choose abortion can focus on their education and professional career. Instead of spending months carrying a baby and sacrificing education or work days, women can terminate the pregnancy early. This will allow them to focus on themselves and avoid the burden of pregnancy. Teens can proceed with their education and graduate high school or college, providing them with better opportunities. Professional women can avoid risking their positions because of pregnancy, allowing them to perform better in their fields.
Refutation of Arguments Against Adoption
The argument regarding the negative mental effects of adoption on children focuses on institutionalized care. The negative effects come from an environment where there are many children and the absence of a parental figure, except for caretakers. However, when adoptive parents adopt a child, growth development will depend on the new environment. According to Keil et al. (2021), an expressive family environment can lessen behavioral problems while a rule-focused environment can be detrimental to development. This means that while adoption can have negative effects on child development, the care they receive from adoptive families can mitigate the risks.
For the association of adoption with human trafficking, the argument focuses on anecdotes. Orr (2018) argued that the real association between adoption and human trafficking is minimal and the benefits of adoption outweigh the risks. Government responses to human trafficking and illegal adoptions will also help address the issue. Furthermore, in the context of adoption over abortion, child kidnapping and human trafficking may be lesser since would-be parents will tend to prepare for the process before the delivery.
Regarding the positive economic benefits of abortion to women, most of the factors will remain after the adoption process. Teens can continue their education and working women can resume their work after delivery. While they may sacrifice months of their lives, filing absences and leaves, this will also prevent the development of health issues. Abortion can lead to decreased fertility, making future conception difficult, and the mental health issues mentioned earlier (Bernstein & Jones, 2019; Reardon, 2018). Choosing adoption over abortion can help mitigate any health risks and provide opportunities that the latter choice cannot offer.
Choosing adoption over abortion is a choice that would-be parents can consider during an unwanted pregnancy. Adoption and abortion both have benefits and disadvantages that affect the parents, children, and society. Adoption often takes the moral high ground, eliminating the ethical arguments against abortion. It allows would-be parents and adopted children opportunities that abortion cannot provide. Abortion and adoption are parents'–especially a woman’s - choices regarding their future and their child’s. Choosing adoption over abortion is a medically safer option for women that can also have detrimental effects on child development.
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Agbeno, E., Osarfo, J., Ofori, A., Achampong, E., Anane-Fenin, B., Azanu, W., Sarbeng, K., & Morhe, E. (2020). Resolving Unintended Pregnancy Crisis: Is Adoption a Viable Option? A Cross-Sectional Study in Kumasi, Ghana. Sage Open Med. Available at doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2050312120959181. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Americanadoptions.com. (n.d.). 24 Reasons for Choosing Adoption over Abortion [How Adoption Changes Lives]. American Adoptions. Available at https://www.americanadoptions.com/pregnant/reasons-for-adoption-instead-of-abortion . Accessed June 15, 2022.
Bernstein, A. & Jones, J. (2019). The Economic Effects of Abortion Access: A Review of the Evidence. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Available at https://iwpr.org/iwpr-issues/reproductive-health/the-economic-effects-of-abortion-access-a-review-of-the-evidence/. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Keil, M., Leahu, A., Rescigno, M., Myles, J., & Stratakis, C. (2021). Family Environment and Development in Children Adopted From Institutionalized Care. Pediatric Research, vol. 91. Available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-020-01325-1. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Khazan, O. (2019). Why So Many Women Choose Abortion Over Adoption. The Atlantic. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/05/why-more-women-dont-choose-adoption/589759/. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Orr, S. (2018). Human Trafficking Through International Adoption. Global Honors Theses. Available at https://digitalcommons.tacoma.uw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1058&context=gh_theses. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Reardon, D. (2018). The Abortion and Mental Health Controversy: A Comprehensive Literature Review of Common Ground Agreements, Disagreements, Actionable Recommendations, and Research Opportunities. Sage Open Med. Available at doi: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2050312118807624. Accessed June 15, 2022.
Umass.edu. (n.d.). Outcomes for Adopted Children and Adolescents. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rudd Adoption Research Program. Available at https://www.umass.edu/ruddchair/research/mtarp/key-findings/outcomes-adopted-children-and-adolescents. Accessed June 15, 2022.