Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #58 – Adoption & Abortion in the News

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 the issues of adoption from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself, because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
I know that 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 Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and creator of the You Before Me Campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling. I was adopted at the age of 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 who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoption and abortion in the medi and the news is something that we talk about every now and then, we really dive into some of the issues and happenings in the world and with the pending presidential election I think we’re going to see more and more, especially on abortion. I know that abortion does affect adoption and vice versa. And so I think it’s important when we’re looking at adoption in the news to also understand and really comprehend what the laws are regarding abortion and what’s trying to be passed and where people are going. And rather than just taking a pro-life pro-choice side, which obviously we both have disclosed over and over again to our listeners that we are pro-life.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That being said, I think it’s really important to understand. I always say that you can have the best argument if you understand both sides.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. It should be how you pursue argumentation anyway.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed. Mother Teresa said it best, “Abortion is anti-woman. Three quarters of its victims are women, half the babies and all the mothers.” I think that is incredibly powerful because it’s not looked at in that perspective by everybody. Where I think that this is so important and again, I really want to focus for a moment on this quote is you hear people in society, regardless of what stand they have on abortion. Talk about what an amazing woman Mother Teresa was, how incredible she was, all the good that she did for humankind, how she raised the bar in terms of charity and kindness and her acts of faith. And this statement is not anything that can be ignored by anybody.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Regardless of the stance that you have on abortion, regardless of what your opinion is.

Ron Reigns:
It should give you pause.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It should, and it should make you really evaluate. This is somebody that you admire and that you have put on a pedestal, which a lot of people have. You have this woman on a pedestal, listen to her it’s not like it’s an a la carte, picking and choosing. Rather if this woman is someone that you follow and you respect and you admire and you Revere that statement, “Abortion is anti-woman. “Three quarters of its victims are women, half the babies and all of the mothers.” I think that’s incredible.

Ron Reigns:
Well and I think that a lot of people approach life and for instance, religion and things like that as an a la carte thing, “I’ll pick this.” Which in some areas of life, I agree with that you pick the things that work and you kind of discard the things that you find are not working, but I don’t think you can do that with certain things like religion, for instance. I think if you’re going to be in, you need to be all in. And same thing with somebody like Mother Teresa, if you hold her up to such a high standard you at least need to consider what she’s saying and why she’s saying it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And, how she got to the place to make this statement and make it so global. She would be somebody… I was watching Oprah, gosh, maybe 10 years ago, and Oprah had this one saying that she would always ask her guests if she had extra time. And she would say, “If you were going to have a dinner and you could invite X amount of people, who would you have at that table?” And I can tell you that Mother Teresa is one of the people that I would choose to have at that table.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. Living or dead, is what she says that you can choose. Because I think that this was a woman that had such an incredible life experience and we, as a society learned so much from her. And she had so much influence in people’s lives and I don’t think that she herself even understood the, I guess, overwhelming-

Ron Reigns:
Impact that she had.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, absolutely. And, so I think that she-

Ron Reigns:
She’d be fascinating to meet and get to know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Who else is on your list?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I have loved her stories since I was a little kid. I have gone to Mansfield, Missouri to go visit her home when she was married to Almonzo. Laura Ingalls Wilder would be one.

Ron Reigns:
Good one.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Ironically, Oprah would be another one.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. I’m sure that you’ve been a big fan.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m a huge fan. Who would be on your list?

Ron Reigns:
Oh, wow. See, I knew you were going to ask me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Living or dead.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. First of all, I’ve got to say my wife, because if she hears this and finds out, I didn’t invite-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Those are granted, but those are given. Obviously, the spouses are always present.

Ron Reigns:
Honestly, maybe a Lincoln would be fascinating to get a perspective-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My husband would love to be at that table too.

Ron Reigns:
I’m a big fan of Ronald Reagan, that would be another one that I would like to just learn from.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Pick his brain?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, pick his brain and also just try and learn from observing him, watching him because they called him the great communicator. And see, I would like to see that about Lincoln. See if he was as effective because we don’t have recordings of Lincoln and you know what I mean?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I do.

Ron Reigns:
I am interested in communication and getting ideas across and I like to see other people do that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So last person that I would like… Well, not the last person I’d like at the table, because it would probably be a pretty big table. And this kind of goes back in my heart, adoption, is I would love to have Harriet Tubman there.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I would love to talk to her about what her fears were and where she found strength when it didn’t seem like there was any left. And how she started and everything that she went through. I would love to have her at the table as well. Moving on to Ohio where I was born.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, for some reason I don’t know why I didn’t realize you were born in Ohio.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m a Buckeye.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. O-H.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
You’re supposed to say I-O. You don’t know that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
O-H? I-O.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For all you Ohio fans. I apologize and especially those that are-

Ron Reigns:
She has dropped the ball.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I have.

Ron Reigns:
All right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I dropped the Buckeye.

Ron Reigns:
You dropped the Buckeye.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. A Republican State Representative in Ohio has introduced legislation that would ban abortion in nearly all cases in the state in the event that the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Ron Reigns:
So under House Bill 538, abortions would be outlawed in the state if the landmark decision were to be reversed, except in cases where the procedure’s necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it says also this legislation does not include exceptions in the cases of rape or incest.

Ron Reigns:
Which I find interesting because usually that’s one of the big arguments.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. I think that again, we have to have those brave states that step forward and take a stand. And I think that when you’re dealing with a topic like abortion, you almost have to have a pendulum swing pretty hard in order to come back in the middle.

Ron Reigns:
Somewhere in the center.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that with Ohio taking a stand, for me I’m getting chills, literally, as I’m saying this. It’s so interesting to me because I was born so close to Roe v. Wade days before it became legal. And so the fact that I was born in Ohio and Ohio has stood up for women and children and men, as we’ve learned.

Ron Reigns:
Yes, thank you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That I’m proud that they would take the stand. That makes me proud.

Ron Reigns:
And I hope that this is something that other states will look at and decide to be strong as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Republican John Becker stated that Ohio is a pro-life state. I think that that is a powerful statement. I worry that by making such a powerful statement, that it will give others a platform of attacking. In other words, if we divide two camps, then it’s me against you, you against me. Whereas if we can all come together for the greater good and not have a division, because I think that when we do say we’re pro-life or pro-choice, that’s really just causing conflict. I’m proud of him for standing up for Ohio and saying that Ohio is a pro-life state. And that means the world to me. I just hope it doesn’t become a target so that’s a concern.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
He also stated, “If and when the Supreme Court decides to return the issue of abortion back to the states, we want to be prepared for what happens next.” I think that that would be an incredible decision if the Supreme Court decided to turn the issue of abortion back to the state and make it a state law, rather than a federal law. I’m speechless, that would to me be incredible because I think that that would clearly… People would move.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, I believe you’re right. Some of the more pro-choice states would start losing populous, because I think by and large people don’t agree with abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m in complete agreement. I think that when people… You hear this statement all the time, “I am pro-choice, but…” And then there’s the caveats. However, if this situation occurred, this situation-

Ron Reigns:
Or this or that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And what’s so powerful about understanding that we’ve talked about the a la carte, picking and choosing and the pendulum swinging. I think we really have to have… Those who know about, and in a future episode, I would really like to take an entire episode and really break down the Roe v. Wade case, because a lot of people are very misinformed that she admitted that she had lied and has now spent the rest of her life-

Ron Reigns:
She never even got an abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, she did not. She placed for adoption. And she has spent the rest of her life. I’ve chilled again, spent the rest of her life, trying to educate people and trying to right her wrong. So I think that it would be important for a future episode, if you’re an agreement, to really dive into that case.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And really look at what the public understands and their interpretation of it.

Ron Reigns:
As well as the reality.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As well as the reality of what really happened, because people say, “Oh yeah, Roe v. Wade. I mean, abortion is legal.” Well, even she, in this hallmark case says it it’s wrong. Powerful. All right, let’s move on to Jackson, Mississippi.

Ron Reigns:
I’m going to Jackson? I like it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. A bill has been introduced to the Mississippi legislature to prohibit abortions performed because of race, sex, or genetic abnormality, citing anti-discrimination laws and a recent opinion of Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas.

Ron Reigns:
And this one did confuse me a little bit. I was surprised. I mean, I think it’s a good bill, but are there abortions being performed? I understand the genetic thing, but are there abortions being performed because of race?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, I can tell you a story.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, please.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Early on in our journey of our adoption agency, I would say it was probably four to five years in. We had a woman who had a little girl and she and her husband came to us and they wanted to adopt a boy. I’m sorry, another girl. And she was able to have children and she said that she absolutely did not want to have a son, that under no circumstances would she have a son. And it was at the time where we had decided that we were no longer having gender preferences within our agency, because it had bottlenecked our program. And in explaining this to her, she said, “I’m capable of having a child myself, but I will have an abortion if the gender turns out to be a boy.”

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And remember, now we can do testing and you can find out as early as eight weeks, if you do a blood test. And so there’s ways to find out the gender much sooner than 10 years ago when you had to wait until you were 18, 19, 20 weeks.

Ron Reigns:
And sometimes not even then, my brother was surprised.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They weren’t able to tell?

Ron Reigns:
They thought it was a boy the whole time. And it turned out it wasn’t.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You just siad your brother.

Ron Reigns:
Well, no, my brother’s daughter. So when his wife was pregnant, they thought it was a boy the whole time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you know what?

Ron Reigns:
Something else to know about my brother.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sweet. And I will say, because I do oversee adoptions within our agency, it happens. We have women that we are told early on that it’s just gender and it turns out to be this gender. And so do people abort based upon gender? They do.

Ron Reigns:
And race as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I have not had any experience with anybody doing that.

Ron Reigns:
See, that was the part that I was confused by or surprised by that’s even a thing today.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was hurt by all of it.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. It’s heartbreaking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you think about it, it’s unbelievable. A story about myself regarding that when I, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on air, when I was born, obviously I’m Caucasian, I’m white. When I was born, they thought that I was actually half African-American and so the nurses went to my mom and said is, I was being put up for adoption, “Is there a chance that you have slept with a black man and that your baby is as mixed?” And my mom had said no, and they didn’t believe her. So there had to be a black nurse from another hospital that had to come over to the hospital to look at me to determine whether or not I was actually half Black or not.

Ron Reigns:
So, were you that dark as a baby?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I only have pictures from three days on. I don’t think I look that dark. Maybe I was darker in those first couple days then I appeared, but then again, mixed babies, don’t always come out with colors.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. They’re mixed race and I understand that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I first heard this story, I questioned my mom and I said, “Are you serious?” And she said, “Yes.” And so the attorney that did our adoption, we actually did a three-way phone call with him. I wanted to hear if it was true, not that I didn’t believe her, it had been many years since that happened and I really wanted clarity, like, “Was that really the case?” And, he got on the phone and he was very nice and you could hear, there was some tension in his voice. And, I asked if it was true and he said it was 100% true. And he said, in 1973, yes, I’m dating myself, that was something that they felt that they needed to know. And it just blew my mind that a nurse from another hospital needed to come over to confirm whether or not I was a mixed baby or not.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it’s incredible. Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
That is a crazy story.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, it is. So that hits home to me in terms of, because again, I was so close to the decision of Roe v. Wade. And the fact that people are terminating the life of a child because of race, sex or if there’s something that may be wrong with the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Right. The genetic.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that just seems so hard to understand. I know that when I had my son, I was 37 when I was pregnant and I had him at 38. And my doctor had said to me when I first found out I was pregnant, he said, “What happens if the baby’s Down syndrome?” And I remember looking at him and I didn’t understand the question.

Ron Reigns:
Right. What do you mean what happens? I have the baby and-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I said, “Well, I guess there’s resources to help us and we learn how to live a life with a child that has a special need.” And he said, “Do you want to continue with the pregnancy?” And I remember thinking, “That would never enter my mind.” I would never, if that’s what my baby was, then that’s what my baby was. And again, these are my own sentiments. It doesn’t mean they have to be everybody else’s, but it’s still hard to hear that… I think all lives matter. And I think that again, when a state is taking a stand, I think that’s so brave. And I commend them for doing that.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. And again, I reiterate this all the time, because it really does mean a lot to me. You don’t hear about it in the media so much when the abortion debate is being discussed. So few people seem to understand that adoption is a beautiful option and there is somebody out there that even if you’re not willing to raise a child, that for instance has Down syndrome, somebody is out there just praying for the opportunity to do so.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There is actually an adoption agency that specializes solely in Down syndrome adoptions. And, no chills, no waiting list.

Ron Reigns:
It is beautiful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They have a waiting list of families that are looking for a Down syndrome child. I think that’s incredible. They say over a dozen states have passed a similar bill or portion of the bill that’s been introduced in Mississippi. Nine states have banned abortions based on sex, two states have prohibited the procedure based on race and two states have outlawed abortions on the basis of fetal abnormalities. The only state with a ban on all three is Missouri. Ironically, I also lived in Missouri for eight years.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, that’s right. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Hence Laura Ingalls Wilder. There’s the connection. Kentucky has also passed a ban on all three, but the law has been put on hold by a court.

Ron Reigns:
In Utah, a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound to hear the sound of their fetuses heartbeat prior to an abortion earned the approval of the Utah House recently.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s interesting about this is that the bill sponsor West Jordan Republican Steve Christiansen said the bill is meant to provide would be mothers with the best medical information possible while they decide whether to terminate a pregnancy. He suggested it is common for women to be told they’re developing fetus, little one, as we…

Ron Reigns:
Thank you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s a little more than a clump of cells, despite the baby having a discernible hands, feet and other human characteristics. I can, again, I have a story on this as well. So we have a woman that came in and did an adoption intake with us, and she had had a previous abortions and one of them was a very late term abortion. And she said that they did have her turn and look at the screen and see the baby on the screen. And she didn’t want to look, but she did look. Unfortunately she still had…

Ron Reigns:
She went through with it?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
But did it change her outlook on the whole experience afterward?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, she came to us the next time.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. So it apparently did.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think it did.

Ron Reigns:
Now I obviously agree with this law as well. Have you researched a lot of this?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I have not researched a lot of this particular section of abortion.

Ron Reigns:
All right. What I’m curious about is the pro-abortion “pro choice side” what their argument is against this, because I feel this would be hard to argue against. I mean, I know why they do because, in my opinion, I feel like-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’d be a hard counter argument.

Ron Reigns:
To make or to have more abortions. That’s their push, it seems like. What is the argument, less information for people?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s a good point because you and I have substantiated over and over through the podcast that education is paramount and the more you know, the better decision you can make. And so looking at an ultrasound and seeing what is really living inside of you rather than moving-

Ron Reigns:
Fingers and toes and arms and legs.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And finger nails and the baby may be smiling and maybe sucking his or her thumb. I think that that’s amazing. Well, I’m thinking about this, you’re right. What would be the counterargument?

Ron Reigns:
I mean a logical one, obviously. Well, not obviously, but it seems there’s a business on the other side of this issue.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed.

Ron Reigns:
And I feel like they want to drum up business.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed.

Ron Reigns:
I just don’t see how they can-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
At the expense of human lives?

Ron Reigns:
Right. I don’t see how they can morally say, “No, these women shouldn’t see this.” I’m blown away, I want to know what their argument is against this particular bill, where they would be shown the ultrasound and shown what this is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think what we should do in addition to doing a podcast just on the Roe v. Wade court case, I think if we ever had somebody who was staunch pro choice and would be willing to talk with us and explain where they’re coming from. I’m not saying it wouldn’t wind up being a debate because-

Ron Reigns:
It kind of always does. Right. But I think it can be, if it’s with the right person, it can be respectful on both sides. And hopefully we’ll work out some issues from both sides of the perspectives.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And, if it happens. I promise Ron, I will not throw down.

Ron Reigns:
Are you sure you can make that promise? I’ve seen you get heated up…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I promise.

Ron Reigns:
It may have to be a phone interview just in case.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think it should be a phone interview and I’ll let you hold the phone so I can’t hit the…

Ron Reigns:
My phone. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. Looking at adoption in the media and in the news and, again, with all of the political aspects, events going around, I think there’s lots of exciting things that are coming up and some things that are different and new and people don’t like change. I’m one of them, I’m not a huge person that likes change.

Ron Reigns:
Hard to face it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As long as it’s in the right direction, I’m going. When it’s going my way, I’m fine. If it’s not going my way then I don’t like change.

Ron Reigns:
If you got a raise, for instance, that’s good change?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s a good change, right? Absolutely, but if taxes are higher.

Ron Reigns:
Then that’s not a change I like.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Then I’m going to struggle a little bit.

Ron Reigns:
We’ll have more adoption and abortion in the news and media on the next episode of Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text 623-695-4112 or you can call our toll free number 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts and as always thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Dunno as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron reigns and we’ll see you then.

Leave a Reply