Is adoption a realistic alternative to abortion post-Roe?

Five decades ago, Kathy Aderhold was told to keep a secret. 

The nursing student hid the reason for her monthslong absence from siblings and friends. She couldn’t bring a camera where she went, she says, let alone her full name. The other girls called her Kathy H. 

The secret weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces when she opened her eyes to the world in the hospital wing of a Salvation Army maternity home in Omaha, Nebraska, in January 1972. For a few days after the birth of her daughter, Ms. Aderhold recalls being allowed to sit in a storeroom for one hour, away from the other mothers, and hold the soft-haired wonder she named Jessica Ann.  

Why We Wrote This

Infant adoption in the U.S. has evolved over the past half-century, with significant progress in dismantling legacies of secrecy. Is that enough to make adoption a first-choice alternative to abortion?

“Every day I told her I would find her again,” says Ms. Aderhold, who knew what came next.

Facing pressure from her Catholic family as an unwed 20-year-old, and without counseling about alternatives, Ms. Aderhold says she felt she had no choice but to “surrender” her baby to a Catholic organization for adoption. 

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