A PRO-LIFE CONSERVATIVE ENDORSES OPEN RECORDS
Opening birth records does not cause a rise in abortion rates. We have often heard the opposite argument coming from those involved in the adoption industry and from a few pro-life proponents. When questioned, their position is explained by stating that they have counseled birth mothers who would rather abort than face the possibility that their child may, one day, come looking for them. They state that it is better to save one child than to risk causing the abortion by opening birth records. This reasoning is, at the very least, one-sided and narrow. The argument is, at the most, extreme and haphazard.
Birth mothers have also stated that they would rather abort than face the possibility that their adoptees would not have the right to choose contact. Some past birth mothers have traveled to states where birth records were not sealed so that their child would have the right to choose. One must agree, then, that those who demand to seal the birth records also place potential adoptees in danger. They sensationalize their argument to stir up emotion without considering that their position, in some cases, also leads to abortion.
Kansas and Alaska have long enjoyed the status of being open records states and also have some of the lowest abortion rates in the nation. When my home state, Alabama, opened their birth records to adoptees. Women have not run screaming to the abortion clinics. In fact, there has been very little opposition or even notice that the birth records were opened. It would seem that whether or not a state has unsealed their birth records to adoptees has very little bearing on a woman’s decision about abortion.
The current trend in America is for unwed mothers to keep their babies, or to opt for open adoption. Society has changed and the social stigmas once attached to unwed mothers are lifting. The result is a fall in the rate of traditional adoptions. We believe that the adoption industry is more upset about this fact than they are about abortion. The fact that open adoptions have become so popular with young birth mothers seems to prove that these women wish to be more involved in the adoption process, not to join some fictional birth mother witness protection program.
If one thinks logically through the argument of whether or not open records lead to abortions, one must conclude that the truth does not exist in the extreme. The truth does not exist in the scare tactics used by those who are only concerned with producing more adoptable children. The truth abides in the fact that adoptees who have already grown into responsible adults are treated as though they are dangerous criminals and are denied the simple right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificates.
The Reverend Jeff Gilbreath
Ordained Southern Baptist Minister,
Pro-life advocate, conservative Repubican voter,
and husband of an adoptee.