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Five Alternatives to Abortion When Faced with an Unplanned Pregnancy

There are Other Options to Consider

When faced with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, many women feel overwhelmed by their circumstances. Desperate for a “quick fix,” these women sometimes rush into an abortion decision before they’ve had an opportunity to fully explore all of their options. In fact, for every 149 women who choose abortion, only one woman chooses adoption.

While there’s nothing wrong with choosing abortion if it’s truly the best choice for you, these numbers suggest that some women may be unaware that other options besides abortion even exist. It demonstrates the need for more women to be aware of their options other than abortion.

In this article, learn more about some of the alternative options to abortion so you can make a fully informed decision when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

The Facts About Abortion

It is up to each expectant mother to determine what is best for her and her baby. However, many women who choose abortion believe that this is their best option based on false assumptions: that it is a quick, painless solution to an unplanned pregnancy, or worse — that they have no other choice. Because it is such a sensationalized and talked-about topic, it is natural for women to first think of abortion when considering what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. Often, women don’t even realize that they have options for unwanted pregnancies that are not abortion.

Before making an abortion decision, it is important to realistically consider some of the challenges of this option:

  • Abortion costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on a woman’s circumstances, the stage of her pregnancy, the clinic she uses, her insurance policy and a number of other factors.

  • Some women struggle to come to terms with their abortion decision after the procedure is complete; if you are not 100 percent confident in your abortion decision, you might experience feelings of grief, loss, guilt, regret and, in rare cases, even depression following abortion.

  • Abortion is a medical procedure, and while complications are rare, there are some health risks associated with this process.

  • Abortion is a time-sensitive decision; because most abortions must be completed very early in the pregnancy, some women are forced into an abortion decision before they are truly ready — and before they’ve had a chance to consider their alternative pregnancy options. Other times, a woman learns of her pregnancy too late, and must consider other options instead of abortion.

  • In many states, women younger than 18 must obtain parental consent for abortion.

  • Abortions may be difficult to access for many women, as there may be only one or two abortion clinics in a given state. In many cases, women are forced to travel several hours to find safe and legal abortion services. Additionally, women should be careful when choosing an abortion provider to avoid working with a fake abortion clinic.  

  • Abortion is permanent. Once the abortion procedure has started, a woman cannot change her mind.

These challenges lead many women to wonder: What are some alternatives to abortion? Are there other ways besides abortion to deal with an unplanned pregnancy?

5 Choices Other Than Abortion

Abortion can be the right decision for some women. There are many women who carefully consider all their alternatives to abortion and ultimately decide that abortion is the best path forward for them. As long as you are making an informed decision and doing what you feel is best for you, that’s all that matters.

However, if abortion doesn’t quite feel right to you, or if you are still in the process of considering your options, you might be wondering, “What are some alternatives to abortion? Instead of abortion, what are other options I could consider?”

In general, there are two alternatives to abortion: adoption and parenting. However, within each of these categories, there are many arrangements that a woman can make to ensure the best possible outcome for her baby.

If you are facing an unintended pregnancy and thinking, "I don't want to be pregnant but I don't want an abortion," here are five abortion alternatives you may consider:

Option 1: Becoming a single parent. 

Many women consider abortion because they are not in a relationship with their baby’s father and do not feel ready for the challenges of raising a baby alone. But while single parenting can be challenging, it is one of the most common options besides abortion. In fact, this option is becoming increasingly common and accepted in society. Before deciding to become a single parent, however, it is important to develop a strong support system and consider the many practical and financial challenges of raising a baby on your own.

Option 2: Co-parenting with the baby’s father. 

If you are married, in a committed relationship, or otherwise on good terms with your baby’s father, raising your child together may be one of your other options besides abortion. However, if you choose this option, know that you will be forever connected — and it is important that you are not forced into a long-term relationship that isn’t right for you.

Option 3: Placing the baby in a temporary guardianship. 

You may be considering abortion because it would be difficult for you to raise your baby in your current circumstances. However, if you believe that your situation may change in the near future, there are other options instead of abortion. For example, you may choose to place your baby in a temporary guardianship with a close friend or family member. These legal arrangements allow you to ensure your baby is safe and cared for while you finish school, find more stable housing, or make other changes to your life that will allow you to successfully parent. Remember, abortion is a permanent decision, so it’s important to know that there are choices other than abortion if you need a temporary solution for yourself and your baby. But, if you are not certain that you will be able to parent in the future, you may need to consider a more permanent placement for your child.

Option 4: Placing the baby with a family member. 

Sometimes, a family member may step in and offer to help an expectant mother raise her baby through a kinship adoption placement. While this may seem like an ideal alternative to abortion, there are many important challenges to consider before choosing relative adoption. For example, parenting disagreements and shifts in post-placement contact could cause serious damage to your relationship with your child and the adoptive family members.

Option 5: Placing the baby for adoption. 

Finally, some women consider adoption as an alternative to abortion. While adoption is rarely an easy choice to make, women often find that this option helps address many of the challenges of abortion. For example, while abortion and adoption may both involve grief and loss, many women find that by maintaining an open relationship with their child, they are better able to process these difficult feelings in a healthy way. In addition, adoption services are always provided at no cost to expectant mothers, and many women even receive help with their living and medical expenses during pregnancy. Unlike abortion, adoption is an option no matter how far along in your pregnancy you are, or even if your baby has already been born. Finally, of all your abortion alternatives, adoption arguably has the most potential to benefit the greatest number of people — you, your child and a hopeful couple that has been desperately waiting to become parents.

Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide what’s best for you and your baby — whether that’s abortion or one of the alternatives of abortion.

It is never too late to begin considering adoption or your other alternatives to abortion. To learn more about all of your unplanned pregnancy options, or to get help deciding to abort or put a baby up for adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a licensed options counselor. Your call is confidential and does not obligate you in any way to proceed with an adoption plan. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

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