As the wave of pro-life legislation continues to roll across the United States—nine states have passed significant abortion restrictions already this year—adoption inevitably comes up as an alternative. But it’s not a popular one.

Chuck Johnson, president of the National Council For Adoption, told The Atlanticin May that both pro-life and pro-choice pregnancy centers fail to adequately promote adoption as a viable option.

Among each, the rate at which women are referred to adoption agencies hovers around 1 percent.

As of 2018, Planned Parenthood performed 118 abortions for every adoption referral. And among the pro-life crowd, adoption comes up as a talking point, but usually on the other side of the equation: “We’ve done a great job of conveying that adoption is a good option for the family adopting, but not for the birth mother,” Johnson said.

But fewer moms are in the position to choose adoption to begin with. The birthrate hit a historic low last year. Plus, there’s far more support around single motherhood.

Prior to 1973, 9 percent of babies born to never-married women were relinquished for adoption. By the ’80s, 2 percent. And since the mid-’90s, fewer than 1 percent, per National Adoption Data.

The Invisible Option

These days, expectant mothers see their choices as parent or terminate—and have a decision in mind by the time they make it to a crisis pregnancy center or abortion clinic.

“Generally, it’s an either/or,” said Laura Echevarria, director of communications for the pro-life National Right to Life Committee. “We really try to present [adoption] . . . as a real option.”

Many Christian advocates favor efforts to promote family unity ...

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