Ayuso plans to "link" women who want to abort with families that they adopt as a way to "sensitize"

Ayuso has a plan to increase the birth rate and is willing to carry it out to the last consequences. When this Tuesday she affirmed in the Assembly of Madrid that "It cannot be that we are right now in Spain with figures of 100,000 abortions a year, while there are so many families who want to adopt, who have needs", this was not an on-the-fly occurrence. The strategy with which the Madrid president intends to reverse the demographic winter in the region involves "linking" pregnant women who have decided to abort with adoptive families, in foster care or who are considering resorting to surrogacy to rethink their decision. A measure that, according to experts, seeks to blame women who freely decide to interrupt their pregnancy and that has a complicated legal framework.

At the beginning of the year, the Madrid Executive presented “the most ambitious birth strategy in our history”. It has 80 measures. Among them, one of “support for the life of the unborn”. In this section, Ayuso announces the implementation of "all measures" aimed at giving "alternatives to pregnant mothers". Among them, he includes "linking" women who want to abort with people who cannot find children for adoption or foster care or who are considering resorting to surrogacy abroad, since the technique is not allowed in Spain.

Sources from the Ministry of Youth, Family and Social Policy tell this newsroom that the department is studying how to start these links, that they would be voluntary and that they aim to give women who want to abort “all options”. The meetings between these women and families who have already adopted or fostered minors or who are in the process of doing so are "a kind of awareness raising", point out these same sources, with which they intend that the latter tell their difficulties to the former and these Evaluate the possibility of carrying your pregnancy to term and then delivering the baby. In no case would the adoption be carried out by these same families.

The plan of the Madrid administration has a complicated legal framework. Even more so if Congress approves, as planned, the new Abortion Law prepared by the Ministry of Equality, which has already passed through the Council of Ministers and is in parliamentary process. With the reform, the requirement that women receive a sealed envelope with information on rights, benefits and public aid to support motherhood, which in some communities had been used to try to refer to anti-abortion associations, will be eliminated.

The president of the Association of Accredited Clinics for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (ACAI), Francisca García, describes Ayuso's proposal as "more contempt for women." "It is nonsense that demonstrates a lack of knowledge of what it means to interrupt a pregnancy. Women who have an unplanned pregnancy want to interrupt it now and end an unwanted process as soon as possible," she explains. The vast majority of women who go to a center to terminate their pregnancy, he continues, have a clear decision. Only a small minority comes with an "ambivalent situation", that is, with doubts about whether to interrupt it or continue it but, if it is the second case, "to have it, not to give it up for adoption".

Proposals that seek to "sensitize" women who want to abort are not new. From forcing them to listen to the fetal heartbeat to putting them in contact with those who want to adopt or have already done so. "Raise awareness, for what? To blame, to create a bad conscience, to create more stigma. We are told that being a mother is very good and not being one or having an abortion, which is a responsible option, is wrong," criticizes García. That stigma, that negative social evaluation, is what is behind the suffering of many women who abort. The president of ACAI points out that, although they are clear about their decision, the stigma instigates guilt.

While President Ayuso referred on Tuesday to "families who want to adopt, who have needs", both the Community of Madrid itself and Spanish legislation recognize that adoption is "a measure to protect children". In other words, it seeks to cover the needs of minors who do not have a family and not the other way around.

"Reading the document [la estrategia de natalidad]the point is clearly misfocused, because it is based on the interest of families in having children and not in the interest of the minor in having a family, which is the only one that matters", explains the vice president of the adoption association and welcome of the Community of Madrid Atlas, Benedicto García, who has been working in this area for 24 years. García also sees doubts regarding the development of this idea. "It would be necessary to see how this type of 'link' is going to materialize, but , from the outset, putting one party (the surrogate mother), who is the most vulnerable, in contact with another party (the adoptive or foster families), who have a series of very different interests, is to confront positions and we think that it can induce to coerce a woman's own individual freedom", she develops.

García also explains that the child protection mechanisms – adoption, open adoption and the different types of foster care – do not cover the unborn and that, while the decision to abort is exclusive to the gestator, the decision to give a baby in adoption is not. In other words, if a woman decides to give birth and give her son or daughter up for adoption, a process begins in which social services monitor her and study her biological environment, which is a priority, to analyze the child's adoptability. . "The implications are very extensive," she clarifies.

Despite Ayuso's figures, according to the latest data available from the Ministry of Health, in Spain a total of 88,269 voluntary terminations of pregnancy were performed in 2020, the lowest figure in the last decade. This, despite the speech of the Madrid president who accuses the left: "What you are doing with the youth is nonsense, to whom you say 'Alone, drunk and abort as many times as you want'".

In an initial draft of Ayuso's birth strategy, the Madrid executive also spoke of linking women who wanted an abortion with couples who "are considering surrogacy abroad." That wording remains on some official pages. This is a practice by which, through a contract, a woman receives money for gestating a baby without her genetic makeup, which, at birth, is given to another family. In Spain, the Law on Human Reproduction Techniques declares these contracts null and void and the Supreme Court considers that “they violate the fundamental rights of both the pregnant woman and the child and are therefore manifestly contrary to our public order”.

The general coordinator of the Coordinator of Adoption and Foster Care Associations (CORA) –which brings together some twenty organizations throughout the territory–, Ana María Linares, points out that these meetings proposed by the Community can encourage an unofficial or covert surrogacy. "If they put in contact a family that wants it or longs for it, it can encourage baby trafficking," she warns. In addition, he explains that situations "very violent for all parties" can arise: "How does that woman feel? And those families? In what sense is it going to be done? How would it be regulated? What emotional implications can it have for the parts?" he asks. What she is clear about is that "there is a legal reality, rights that are guaranteed" and that this type of measure "influences the individual freedom of the person" who wants an abortion. "Direct adoption is a protection measure for children who have already been born, who are already here," she recalls.

The theory that preventing women who want to voluntarily interrupt their pregnancies would reduce the lists of families who want to adopt to the one that the Madrid president seems to subscribe to is not new. It was verbalized by Judge Samuel A. Alito, one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States who overthrew the right to abortion in that country, but is opposed by a good part of the scientific community. “Adoption doesn't do what abortion does. It does not put an end to a pregnancy, it does not alleviate its burden, it does not avoid risks to the woman's health, nor does it alleviate the psychosocial damage of giving up the adoption. in this report University of Texas professor Malinda Seymore, who researches the right to adoption.

The sociologist and researcher on abortion and adoption at the University of California Gretchen Sisson stated that “what we are going to see is that many people will raise the children they did not intend to have”, collected Washington Post. A study by the same center, based on a thousand women who wanted an abortion, showed that of the 150 who were denied this right, only 13 gave their babies up for adoption, 9% of the total. The study further establishes that “giving birth is related to more serious health problems than having an abortion” and that “women who receive a wanted abortion have more economic stability, can set more ambitious goals, raise children (which they already have) under more stable conditions and are more likely to have a desired child in the future.”

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