Friday, January 29, 2021

A Pro-life Democrat Reviews THE BABY SCOOP ERA by Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh


This book focuses on the period called the Baby Scoop Era. This is the time after World War II to Roe vs. Wade. The author faced the trauma of being separated by her baby in a crisis pregnancy and was forced to "give up" her baby for adoption. Thoroughly researched and documented, Wilson-Buterbaugh covers this era when thousands of girls and women, also facing crisis pregnancies, likewise faced coercion to "give up" their babies for adoption. Families, social workers, and other adoption professionals bullied and shamed these girls and women into forced infant adoptions as a response to crisis pregnancies.

In the front of this book, advocates for adoptees and biological mothers writes endorsements for this book. Wilson-Buterbaugh opens this volume with Acknowledgements for those who made THE BABY SCOOP ERA possible. She follows this with a Preface, a Mother's Story, and an Introduction. Then the author spreads her actual content across 26 chapters. She wraps up this volume with six appendices which she rans by letter. One of them defines terms she used throughout this book. The she finishes it all with References (A Bibiography) and an Author Bio. Quotes and anecdotes abound in this book. 

From the very title of this book, I could determine that the author wrote this book from the perspective of biological parents (particularly the mom) and the adoptee. The thrust of this book does not line up with the rose-colored glasses view of adoption that the Christian community and the pro-life community so often espouse. When I read one pro-life book (reviewed on this blog) and that author's take on adoption, I was put off when the author claimed that adoptees rarely search for their biological parents. That author, who brands herself as a "pro-life feminist," makes the case for why adoptions should be closed and single motherhood discouraged, strongly. That author wrote as a Catholic. This book, written from a secular perspective, is the answer to that pro-life book I reviewed earlier on this blog. 

Wilson-Buterbaugh uses anecdotes and documentation to make a powerful case against closed adoption, particularly when that adoption is forced and against the biological mother's will. The author's argument is that single motherhood or teen marriage are the "lesser of two evils" in contrast to the forced adoptions that so many biological moms and their babies had to endure for decades prior to Roe vs. Wade. Despite this subject matter and her position on it, Wilson-Buterbaugh does not see the alternatives as abortion vs. adoption. No, she clearly views the alternatives as parenting vs. adoption. In fact, the author rarely mentions the word abortion throughout the entire book. Too often, the pro-life movement oversell the positives about adoption and seldom address its complexities. 

Yes, I am fully aware that advocates for the unborn will not find this a pleasurable read. To those whose work depends on presenting women in crisis options, including adoption, it is tempting to present a rosy picture of adoption without pointing to adoption's realities. It is NOT an ideal option. This book may come off as anti-adoption because it describes an era where the practice was abused. But no one, even if her pregnancy is unplanned or even unwanted, should feel coerced into adoption. Placing a child in adoption should be free and voluntary. The abuses of the past, as described in this book, were cruel and vile and should be strongly denounced by any pro-lifer.

Those in the Christian community and in the pro-life movement, especially their leaders, ought to read this book. It would give them insight as to why so many women facing crisis pregnancies choose abortion over adoption. Christians and pro-lifers need to understand that while adoption is a "Godsend" and lifesaver for many biological parents and children, it carries the potential to hurt and harm many others when they feel even the appearance of pressure to turn to adoption. Every social worker and every other adoption professional ought to read this book. This book, however, may prove too "triggering" for many biological mothers and adoptees.

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