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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption – Two Lives, One Choice – Part 2 of 3

Ron Reigns:

Welcome and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and me, Ron Reigns, where we delve into adoption issues from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:

Do what’s best for your kid and yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’ll not be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:

And I know my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:

Don’t have an abortion; give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:

All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the executive director, president, and co-founder of Building Arizona Family’s adoption agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies in human development and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling. I was adopted at three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:

And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife, an adoption attorney, and I can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Ron Reigns:

In this episode of birth mother matters and adoption, part two of our three-part series, Two lives, One choice.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Abortion represents death, finality, and loss. How can the ends justify the means when discussing a baby? How often have you heard people taking a stand for or against abortion? Birth Mother need to know both sides of the abortion coin are fiercely defensive of their opinion, justifying their position in rationale. But if we take a step back to look at both sides, positions, and rationales, that will help us clarify and educate ourselves on the opposing side. It is my belief, and I believe yours too, that the more abortion is understood, the more one accepts that abortion is anti-human, anti-life, and anti-woman. The more people will gravitate away from believing it should be legalized and towards understanding that life needs preservation.

Ron Reigns:

I agree a hundred percent. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

In preparing for this podcast, I spent a lot of time going through article after article because I wanted to dig deeper into the pro-choice side. Because I believe that by doing that, I could understand where they’re coming from. If you don’t understand where somebody is on the opposing side, it’s tough to reach that. In other words, how will you communicate if you are a birth mother on one side of a border or a birth mother on the other side, and you don’t speak the same language? So this will help the communication flow and develop an understanding. In the last 25 years, the Guttmacher Institute has conducted two significant studies asking women why they chose abortion. 7% of women stated they chose abortion for a health reason or possible health problem with the baby, and less than a half percent stated that they chose to abort because they became pregnant due to rape.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Healthy women choose 92% of abortions in America to terminate healthy babies’ lives. Again, to clarify, this is just this Institute’s findings. You will find numbers that will be slightly different depending on the study that you’re looking at. They’re all in the same ballpark but may be slightly different. This, to me, is astounding, absolutely astounding that we have based law on a meager percentage of what initially people who are pro-choice will say, “I’m not pro-abortion, I’m pro a woman’s right to choose. I’m pro the government not being able to place restrictions or laws on what we’re able to do with our bodies.” Giving that leeway, 92% of abortions are done on healthy women and babies.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And it is only a matter of choice. It’s not because of somebody’s health. And I also want to go back to the rape argument you raised. So, we’re talking one-half of 1%, and invariably, anytime you discuss abortion with somebody, they say, “Well, what if a moment was raped?” And even if you concede that and say, “Okay, in cases of rape, there should be legalized abortion.” Even if you concede that I’m on the fence with that one, you’re still talking about half of a percent of actual abortions. Can we please take that off the table? Stop making that your big argument. Because if you say, “Okay, if a woman is raped, she can have an abortion. Nobody else can.” Then, does their argument fall apart? No, it doesn’t. They still have their argument. But they’re just trying to use that some sort of a strongman argument that isn’t the real issue. I don’t even know if that makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That makes perfect sense, and I agree. I think that I, even when it is a situation of rape, still believe that optimism can come from harmful and it’s not the child’s fault. But, we’ll talk a little bit about that as we get further into the podcast. But, I understand and respect differing opinions regarding a rape situation that is very traumatizing for the parties involved. And again, no judgment. But, the fact that we’re talking, like you said, less than a half a percent, if the storm team in Arizona got on the news today and said, there is a half a percent, it is going to rain tomorrow, we would not carry an umbrella.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Examining the philosophies and arguments believers support in the right to have abortion legalized can further educate society.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What they’re doing is, on both sides, pro-life and pro-choice, are using catchy slogans as a marketing tool, like a trigger. So that you can remember what you’re trying to promote. The pro-life side uses it’s a child, not a choice. Some babies die by chance. No babies should die by choice. And then, the choice is just another pretty word for murder. On the pro-choice side, the most common ones are that it’s a woman’s right to choose. It’s her body. It’s her choice. I am a woman, not a womb. And what I found interesting in the pro-choice versus the pro-life is that the focus on the pro-life side is all about the child being murdered. Like, we don’t want that child to die. We don’t want the child to die. And the pro-choice side is all about women and their right to make a decision. So somebody’s decision, somebody’s life.

Ron Reigns:

I think one far outweighs the other. But again, that’s just my opinion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. There’s a belief that women should have a right to choose what happens to their bodies rather than the government making laws prohibiting them from doing things. This dance falls underneath the feminist viewpoint or belief system that men should not have the right to tell them what to do. In hindsight, I do not think that having the Supreme Court be comprised of nine men that ruled on Roe V. Wade did any favors to this argument. The other counterargument is that 50% of unborn babies are little girls. The unborn baby girl has her own body separate from her mother’s. So, by being pro-choice, you’re negating 50% of your argument because 50% of abortions take away the rights of 50% of the female population. Another argument often made by the pro-choice campus is that women will resort to back alley abortions if abortion is no longer legal, and they will die at the hands of butchers. We’ve heard this for years and years.

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

This is a perfect example of where the ends don’t justify the means.

Ron Reigns:

Well, as an example, for instance, murder is illegal. It still happens. People are still doing it. Does that mean we should make murder legal tomorrow, so there won’t be illegal murders? I don’t think it justifies the means. I think you’re right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. And Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, admits that he and other abortion industry leaders invented figures to claim that thousands of women die annually from unsafe abortions. In 1960, Dr. Mary Calderone, a former medical director for Planned Parenthood, estimated that licensed doctors did 9 out of 10 illegal abortions. There are physicians trained as such. Abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is may-no-longer-dangerous because it is done well by physicians. So basically, the back alley is hyped. Were there back alley abortions? I’m sure there were. Were there awful ones? Absolutely. But was that the majority? According to the research, it wasn’t.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Research has suggested that other countries demonstrate that restricting abortion does not cause a rise in maternal deaths.

Ron Reigns:

Ireland has the lowest maternal mortality rate in the world. According to a study by several agencies at the United Nations, despite its tight abortion restrictions. In Ireland, it is very, very difficult to get an abortion, and they have the lowest maternal mortality rate. So that argument is not supported either, factually. Another argument the pro-choice side uses is about the young women whose lives will be ruined by an unwanted pregnancy. In the olden days, they sent women off to maternity homes to have the babies and then placed them for adoption. Then they would come home, and nobody would know they’d had a child. When you look at it well, when does the murder of convenience become acceptable? If you have too many children at home, you don’t murder them when they’re not convenient. The right to life shouldn’t be trumped by the right to be unencumbered.

Ron Reigns:

Additionally, it’s incorrect to assume that future and educational career goals must end due to a pregnancy. We have an aftercare program that explicitly helps women after they have a baby and that child for adoption to get back on their feet and get the education they need and help them in their career field. So that’s something to look at as well. And like you had said earlier, what about rape? Because that’s a central argument that is used by the pro-choice side. And the Supreme Court stated the death penalty is considered cruel and unusual punishment for the perpetrator, for a rapist, and they do not deserve it. But then, why does the child? So, that’s something to think about. And then some research shows that 15% to 25% of rape victims elect to abort their baby; the remainder, 75% to 80, 85% do not.

Ron Reigns:

And carry it to term.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

They carry a term and either choose to place for adoption or focus on remembering that that child is still 50% part of them. And just because an unfortunate individual raped them does not mean they have to co-parent with that person. And again, I am not downplaying rape by any stretch of the imagination. I think it’s horrific. I think that it is one of the worst things that can happen. That being said, I don’t think adding murder on top of a crime against a woman will improve the situation. I think that the pro-choice dance wants to focus on rape. Again, we’re talking about very few cases that result from rape in abortion. And when we’re looking at a child’s life, there was some discussion about whether or not I am the result of a rape.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My mom had told me at one point that she had been raped, and she didn’t know if that was the result of my conception or not. And she went back and forth. She didn’t want to talk about it, so she’d bring it up. And then she would say, “No, that wasn’t it.” And then, she would bring it back up and indicate it was. But then, she would say, “No.” I don’t know whether it was or not. I don’t. But, I know that as a person, if for some reason it was, it doesn’t change who I am.

Ron Reigns:

And I think that’s very important and powerful what you’re saying. Because, just assuming that you were a product of rape, think of the blessing that you’ve become to your family, to all the people around you and your circle, to these birth mothers who needed somebody to help them through a difficult situation. And it may even include a rape situation. I think you bless all these people you’ve affected in your life. And if you were the product of a rape, I don’t think that discounts you in any way. It makes it almost more of a blessing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Thank you. That I don’t know, and unfortunately, with her gone, I don’t know that I’ll ever know.

Ron Reigns:

And I guess in the end, it doesn’t even matter. It shouldn’t matter.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It doesn’t change you. I guess I could take the stand that my conception doesn’t change who I am.

Ron Reigns:

Exactly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

The circumstances of it don’t. Yeah, and I think that regardless, speaking for the children that were conceived out of rape. I don’t think that that makes them any less than. I don’t think that it makes… They’re not cursed. They’re not any. Again, they… It’s a terrible situation, one I wouldn’t wish on anybody. But again, when you’re thinking about a baby as a whole, If you saw two babies and were presented with them, one of them had been conceived in love, and one of them had been conceived in rape. By looking at the babies, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So, does that mean it’s harder on the mother as she’s carrying? Yes. Does that mean she would need more support, resources, and services to help her through this? Because this may be a constant reminder, she may not want or be emotionally able to parent that child. And that’s okay. That’s where adoption becomes an incredible blessing because it’s an option where it can be a win for the child and a win for an adoptive family. Maybe it’s not a win for the birth mother, but two out of three people win in that situation. And again, with the right services and support, some of the bad can be changed into good.

Ron Reigns:

I have another question. You have a background in psychology, so you would know the answer to this more than I do. You say it may not be a win for the birth mother. But with the benefit of hindsight, do you think in 20 years, 30 years from now, she can look back and even look at that child as it grows, whether she raises it or an adoptive family raises it, and see what that child grows into. Don’t you think that could be a net benefit for the birth mother as well, psychologically?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes, I do. I do. Some women I’ve spoken with are birth mothers who will tell me the look on the face of the adoptive mother when I hand her the baby for the first time. Or, she’s in the delivery room, and they’re cutting the cord, and they’re handing her the baby. The look on her face is worth everything I’ve been through and the journey I’ve taken to get to this moment. And as hard as that nine months may be, and again, it may be challenging. It may require a lot of counseling and therapy to get through that. But at the same time, abortion has a lot of aftermaths that aren’t easy either. And the trauma that could create on top of rape could be severe and long-term.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s more adding insult to injury if you will. And so, I think that it is challenging. We are on a very sticky subject where people say, “Well, if you haven’t walked in my shoes and you haven’t walked in my shoes.” I haven’t. I may have been in your baby’s shoes, but I haven’t walked in yours. And then the other question that I get asked because I have four girls is, “Well, what if this was your daughter? Well, what if this was your daughter.” I am not saying anything when I talk to you on the podcast. I don’t preach to my girls. And would it be hard? Yeah, it would be incredibly hard. But that’s where you get through it together. And that’s where you’re not alone. And that’s where the community steps up. If we’re not going to say that it’s not worthy of a death sentence for the perpetrator, why would it be a death sentence for the baby?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s the way that I was looking at things. When you look at Roe v. Wade as a whole, and you look at it in context, I think that as a society, we have taken one court case and reestablished belief systems and morals and values because of what seven men decided. Men who have never given birth to a baby, never been pregnant, never had to nurse the baby or read a pregnancy test for themselves the first time. And giving that decision to somebody, to nine men who have never been in that situation, I think is not really.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Maybe it wasn’t the right audience, the correct Supreme Court to make those judgment calls. The fact that we haven’t, as a continent, almost revisited this in Supreme Court, trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, is incredible. I think that as we learn more and educate ourselves and learn more about little ones in the womb, we need to take what we know and do better. They say, when you know better, do better. Well, we know better now than we knew back in 1973. So, we need to know and do better. And I don’t know, what’s your thought?

Ron Reigns:

Okay, honestly, I’m going to disagree with you weirdly. Now you say that maybe those men weren’t the right people to make this choice because they’re men.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

There was no woman on the panel.

Ron Reigns:

Right. But, I’ve never subscribed to the idea that if you are not of a specific gender, a certain race, or a particular demographic, you are not allowed to speak on or understand a situation. Do you see what I’m saying?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. I do.

Ron Reigns:

So, I don’t like the argument that these men shouldn’t make this decision because they’re men. I think that as humans, we can empathize, even if we’ve never literally walked in someone’s shoes. We can understand it and make an informed decision. Do I agree with their decision? No. But, I think it’s a slippery slope to start saying, “Well, those men can’t make that decision. They’re men. What do they know?”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. I will retract that. It would’ve carried more weight had some women on the panel.

Ron Reigns:

Present. Okay, that’s a fair point.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It doesn’t have to. I don’t think it should have been seven or nine women, but I think the fact that it was all.

Ron Reigns:

Only men.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

On the panel. That’s the issue that I have because it is a susceptible and touchy subject. It gives the pro-choice side a leg up on their stance. Because when they’re saying, our uterus our choice, that type of thing.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

They’re saying that to men. So, I see where you’re coming from. I think that if you have a panel of nine women and they are deciding whether it should become a law that after three children, men should have a vasectomy, and you’re only looking at that. And men are like, “No, no, we want to right to choose. We want the right to state whether or not we have this.” We are giving you the upper hand to come back by not having any men on the panel. We are stating that. That’s kind of a slam dunk. That’s the first argument you have.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s why when you have an extreme, which nine men on a panel is extreme, meaning no women on it, you will come back with an extreme response. Because again, there’s no equity, there’s no equality. Women, especially in the ’70s, were protesting. They had just come out of protesting. They’re burning their bras. This is prior, but they’re doing all these things to substantiate their rights as gender and equality was a big deal. So if you’re looking at it contextually, nine men on a panel telling a woman what she can and cannot do, I think, added insult to injury.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

When I had Ava, so number three, and I was in the middle of delivery, I think it was right before she crowned right before she came out. I was saying, “Ow.” I don’t remember what was happening, but I wasn’t screaming at that moment. I was just like, “Ow, ow, ow.” And the nurse is like, “That doesn’t hurt. And my doctor is a male. And I remember him looking at her and saying, “How do you know?” I thought that was the right attitude.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Because he didn’t assume that he knew anything, he didn’t insult and said, “Well, yes, it does.” It was, “Well, how do you know?” And to me, that was powerful because he didn’t try to pretend like he knew or that she was right and she knew. Because neither of them did. They weren’t at that moment with that baby at that position. Do you know what I mean? And anyway, I think that having nine men on a panel, just making a decision that affects both men and women, but physically affecting only women, opens you up.

Ron Reigns:
I think that’s a fair argument. And I think that’s important for us to do this. This is precisely what I have told my son to do a million times, listen to both sides and try and not just listen but understand where they’re coming from.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes.

Ron Reigns:

And maybe, we will find some common ground.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I do understand where they’re coming from. I do think that men can speak on behalf of women. But, when you are making a humongous decision and one that solely physically impacts and affects one gender, not to have anybody on that panel of that gender, I think, is a misrepresentation.

Ron Reigns:

That’s a fair point.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

At least have one or two on there. Even if they haven’t had an abortion or they haven’t been pregnant. But that just seems like that gives pro-choice so much power.

Ron Reigns:

I understand what you’re saying. I still think I disagree, but it’s given me something to ponder.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s the point, right? We can agree to disagree.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely. Tune to birth mother matters and adoption next time for part three of our three-part series, Two Lives, One choice. We’ll discuss the new FX documentary, Jane Rowe; if you are listening and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption, Building Arizona Families as a local Arizona adoption agency is available 24×7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112. That’s 623 695 4112. We can make an immediate appointment with you to start creating an Arizona adoption plan or just give you more information. You can also find more information about Building Arizona Families at azpregnancyhelp.com. We also have a website for this podcast at birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Thanks to Grapes for allowing us to use their song ‘I don’t know’ as our theme song. And as always, we thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me. Please wait and review this podcast wherever you’re listening to us. Tune in next time to Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns.

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