Your Family and Friends
What to Do If You’re Being Pressured to Choose Adoption, Abortion or Parenting
When you work up the courage to tell the people in your life about your unplanned pregnancy, it can be disappointing and upsetting if they react by giving strong opinions about what you should do next. During this sensitive and scary moment in your life, the last thing you need is everyone else offering unsolicited opinions or advice.
The first step you’ll take in response to any unplanned pregnancy is always to learn about your three unplanned pregnancy options:
As you make this life-changing decision, you need support and unconditional love, regardless of which path you decide to take. It can be hurtful and confusing when someone important to you doesn’t give that to you, but instead tries to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
Pressure can come from different sources. You may feel like you’re being pressured by:
- The father of the baby
- Your friends
- Your family members
- Your religious leader
- A professional, like a doctor, counselor, or staff at an abortion clinic or adoption agency
- Or other factors or people
If you hold the opinions and respect of these people in high regard, it can be hard to hear that they disagree with your unplanned pregnancy preferences. But ultimately, this is your decision. You need to do what you feel is best for you, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Running the risk of upsetting certain people is scary, but it’s preferable to regretting a decision as big as this. We encourage you to listen to your own instincts, and to remove yourself from external pressures whenever possible.
Whether you’re feeling pressured to choose adoption, abortion or parenting, we’re here to offer some tips to help you navigate these pressures, so that you can make whatever choice you feel is right in your situation:
Feeling Pressured to Place Your Baby for Adoption
You wouldn’t be the first woman who has felt pressured to choose adoption, or whose loved ones tried to talk her out of placing her child for adoption. Many women have asked questions like:
- “Can I be forced to give up baby for adoption by my family?”
- “Do I have to put my baby up for adoption, even if I’m not in a good position to raise him or her?”
- “I’m being pressured to put baby up for adoption by my significant other — can I choose to parent or have an abortion regardless?”
You never have to choose adoption if you don’t feel that it’s the right path for you. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re feeling pressured to place your baby for adoption:
- If an adoption agency or professional ever pressures you to place your baby for adoption and you don’t feel comfortable with that decision, immediately cease contact with that professional. It’s unethical and unprofessional for an adoption agency to pressure a woman into adoption, and it violates the requirements that licensed agencies must meet.
- If you want to parent, reach out to resources that may help you with the physical, emotional and financial burdens of parenthood. Contact an unplanned pregnancy counselor may help you connect with those resources, if you aren’t sure where to start.
- If you want an abortion, reach out to an abortion provider for information. You can also ask them to refer you to a counselor who can help you navigate tough conversations with loved ones, if needed.
- If you want to place your baby for adoption, but are worried that the baby’s father won’t agree with that decision, remember that there are some situations in which you can choose this path without a birth father’s consent. You’ll need to contact an adoption professional to learn more.
Nobody but you gets to decide whether or not your baby is placed for adoption. If you’re not sure what you want to do and you’re facing pressure to choose adoption, an unplanned pregnancy counselor can offer you information about any or all of your pregnancy options and may be able to refer you to whatever services you feel that you need, whether you’re interested in resources to help you parent, receive an abortion or to place your baby for adoption.
Feeling Pressured into Abortion
A 2018 study revealed that almost three-quarters of women who had received an abortion felt that they were pressured into making that decision to some extent. Almost 60% of the women surveyed said they decided to abort in order to make someone else happy, and nearly 30% of the women said that they were afraid of losing their partner if they failed to terminate their pregnancy.
Abortion, like any of the three pregnancy choices, is a deeply personal choice. And, like all pregnancy options, it’s one that only the pregnant woman can make. However, that doesn’t stop women from experiencing pressure from others, which has led to many women asking questions like:
- “The baby’s father wants me to have an abortion, but I want to raise the baby. Are there resources to help me parent if he leaves me without support?”
- “I talked to an unplanned pregnancy counselor and I feel like they’re pushing me to have an abortion. Is that better than parenting or adoption?”
- “My parents want me to get an abortion, but I want to place my baby for adoption. Do I need their permission?”
Whether you feel pressured into receiving an abortion, or you feel as if someone is constantly trying to talk you out of choosing adoption or parenting, external pressure regarding your pregnancy only adds to an already stressful situation. You have the right to make whatever choice you feel is best, and you deserve to make that decision without any pressure from others.
While everyone’s situation is going to be unique, we can offer a few tips that may help with some of the pressure you’re facing:
- If you don’t want an abortion but you don’t feel that you would be able or willing to raise this baby, contact an adoption professional to receive some information. They may be able to help if you’re worried about losing financial support or housing as a result of your decision to not terminate your pregnancy.
- If you want to raise this baby but you’re feeling pressured to receive an abortion, contact an unplanned pregnancy counselor and ask for help finding resources that may help you parent.
- If you’re unsure about whether or not you want to receive an abortion, contact an unplanned pregnancy counselor. There, you can ask for information about any or all of your three unplanned pregnancy options, and they can offer advice about handling whatever pressure you’re currently facing. They’ll support you as you make whatever choice you feel is best for you.
- Remember that you often don’t need anyone’s permission to receive an abortion or to place your child for adoption, even if you’re a minor in some cases. It’s understandable that you may be worried about alienating someone important to you if you decide to receive an abortion, so we recommend speaking to an unplanned pregnancy counselor. They may be able to help you navigate tough conversations with this person, so you can hopefully preserve that relationship while still making the choice that you feel is best.
Feeling Pressured to Parent
The decision to become a parent is one that deserves a lot of thought and preparation, which is why many women don’t want to become a parent through an unplanned pregnancy. It’s understandable to want and need to be physically, emotionally and financially prepared for a baby.
However, when you’re facing pressure to raise a baby that you aren’t ready or willing to raise, you can feel angry and afraid. But you always have options, and before making their choice, women have often asked:
- “My parents don’t want me to give my baby up and they want to raise him/her — what should I do?”
- “I want to give my baby up, but my mother is forcing me to keep the baby. Is this legal?”
- “If I want to choose adoption can I be forced to keep my baby by my significant other?”
- “I’m feeling forced to keep unwanted pregnancy by my family — can I receive an abortion without their permission?”
No one can force you into motherhood if you feel unready or unexcited. You can choose adoption or abortion if you don’t want to parent, even if there are people in your life who are pressuring you to raise this baby. There are a few important things you should know if you’re feeling pressured toward parenthood:
- If you’re a minor and worried about parental permission to choose abortion or adoption, you should know that there are situations and states in which their consent is not required if you want to place your baby for adoption or receive an abortion. Contact an adoption agency or an abortion provider for more information, and to learn if parental consent is required in your situation.
- If you want an abortion but you’re feeling pressure to parent, contact an abortion provider. In addition to receiving information about abortion, ask for a referral to a counselor. They may be able to help if you’re worried about losing financial support or housing as a result of your decision to terminate your pregnancy.
- If you want to place your baby for adoption but you’re feeling pressure to parent, contact an adoption agency to receive some information. They may be able to help if you’re worried about losing financial support or housing as a result of your decision to not raise your baby.
- If the father wants you to raise the baby, but you want to choose adoption or abortion, you should know that there are situations and states in which his consent to abortion or adoption is not required. Contact an adoption agency or an abortion provider for more information, and to learn if birth father consent is required in your situation.
This Is Your Choice
When it comes to your unplanned pregnancy options, absolutely nobody can force you into making a choice that you’re not comfortable with. This decision belongs to you and you alone. Friends, family members, professionals and even the father of the baby may have their own opinions, but it’s still never their decision to make.
If you are feeling pressured into making a decision that you feel isn’t best, stay firm and seek support. An unplanned pregnancy is hard enough without having someone on “your side,” who supports you no matter what you decide.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.