Tuesday 5 July 2011

New adoption czar says women with unwanted pregnancies should give their babies up for adoption

It’s not every day that you hear someone official say something profoundly politically incorrect but true and have it reported by the Times.

The Times front page today carried photographs of a whole host of well known celebrities and personalities who were adopted and ran an in depth feature on the issue highlighting a report commissioned from the new adoption czar Martin Narey.

You won’t be able to access it without a subscription (but for those who do the link is here). However I wasn’t surprised to see that Steve Doughty at the Daily Mail had picked up one of Narey’s statements and had run a whole article on it this evening with the provocative title ‘Pregnant women who don't want a child “should shun abortions and give babies up for adoption”’.

Doughty writes:

Women who are pregnant with unwanted babies should be advised to have the child and give it away for adoption, the Government’s new adoption czar said today.

They should be offered adoption as a routine ‘third option’ alongside abortion or struggling to raise the baby themselves, he said.

The call from former Barnardo’s chief Martin Narey (pictured) will pile fresh pressure on social workers to end three decades of hostility to adoption as a means of finding homes for children with troubled mothers.

Mr Narey’s plan would mean a return to the practices of the 1970s, when mothers who could not keep their children regularly offered them for adoption.

Since then, adoption has gone out of fashion with social workers, and the numbers of children and babies adopted from state care have dropped from over 20,000 a year to around 3,000.

Narey told the Times that adoption was ‘the golden option’ and said it was wrong to tell teenagers that they would make good mothers.

‘For six months we are all over her telling her how well she is doing and then she is on her own,’ he said. ‘What we are doing is cowardly.

'Adoption should be a third option to abortion or keeping the child. It is an attitude that must be allowed to grow. In the US mothers who give their children up for adoption believe they are giving them a great start.

‘Here it is viewed as a success if we talk them out of it.’

I noticed that Doughty didn’t quote exact adoption figures so I checked them out to see if he was right. He was. On the Office for National Statistics website historic adoption figures are readily available in an excel spreadsheet going back to 1974.

The overview page on adoption gives the historical background.

Longer term trends based on the date of entry in the Adopted Children Register show that the number of adoptions in England and Wales fell rapidly during the 1970s (there were 21,495 adoptions in 1971) and continued to fall steadily over the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1970s, there was a rapid decline in the number of children available for adoption following the introduction of legal abortion in the Abortion Act 1967 and the implementation of the Children Act 1975. This latter Act gave the court power to treat an adoption application as an application for a custodianship order if the court considered this to be in the child’s best interests.

On 30 December 2005, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was fully implemented. It replaced the Adoption Act 1976 and modernised the legal framework for adoption in England and Wales. The Act provides for an adoption order to be made in favour of single people, married couples and, for the first time, civil partners, same-sex couples and unmarried couples.

A more in depth examination of the data reveals the following:

Total adoptions in England and Wales fell steadily from 22,502 in 1974 to 4,725 in 2009. Adoptions involving babies under one year fell from 5,172 in 1974 (23% of all adoptions) to just 91 in 2009 (2%). That is a huge reduction in baby adoption.

During the same period abortions on UK residents rose from 119,123 in 1974 to 203,444 in 2009.

The number of abortions on UK residents in 1968, the first full year after legalisation was 23,991. I can’t find an adoption number for that year but suspect it was considerably higher than 22,000..

So Narey is right about the numbers. One of the main reasons there are no babies to adopt is because they are being aborted. If some single women were to embrace adoption as a ‘golden third option’ there would indeed be many more babies to adopt, far fewer childless couples and less need for the emotionally and financially expensive option of IVF.

Narey is definitely on to something. But will the government have the courage to do anything about it? It will be interesting to see the response.


  1. Perhaps our new adoption czar can be further politically incorrect and suggest that Christians may adopt these children and bring them up in accord with their faith in Father God as revealed by Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit

  2. To suggest anything as intelligent and practical like putting the children up for adoption instead of having an abortion would be far to much like common sense, which unfortunately seems to be lacking in most people who are in politics.Perhaps we ought to appeal to the money it might save by not having to perform operations to abort babies and also the beds that could be saved for people who really are ill and cannot get beds because of the thousands who are aborting their babies.

  3. Unfortunately the women in the pro-abortion lobby will not go for it - they are already screaming that it is their right to kill their babies, and they will regard this suggestion as "forcing" them to carry an unwanted child just to provide a baby for a childless couple. The pro-choice lobby are as thoroughly selfish as they are heartless. It will not be much use appealing to their sense of decency, as they have none. Offering adoption as a third choice is the first sensible thing I have heard in a long time, but no doubt the women will be screaming about their right to kill soon enough.

    Btw, David T. Atkinson, adopted babies do not have to go exclusively to christians. Let's not get silly. It should be enough that they are saved from the abortionist's knife, we can worry about their religion later. At least this way you will have the choice to try and convert them when they are old enough, which you will not get if they are butchered in the operating theatre as fetuses!


  4. Another great blog, Peter!

    I know just such a Christian couple who were approved for adoption some six months ago and who are still waiting for a child...

  5. It's not that Adoption has "gone out of fashion" with Social Workers, it's that someone did the sums....cost of abortion or cost of supporting a troubled single mum...mmmmm.....lets gently counsel the service-user to select abortion as being in "their" best interests. Abortion, in a corporate society, is merely expedient - nothing more or less.

  6. How many of those, Christian or otherwise, who condemn a mother who kills her baby, are willing to stand up to the plate and support that same mother through her pregnancy and on into the early years of th childs life (financially, emotionally and physically)???? That's the problem. We are consumate sanctimonious judges but immature self-centred people.

  7. what about the time in a London borough that the social workers went on strike. It was six months before anyone noticed! We could save billions by cutting back on social work posts. Encouraging adoptions by married couples and discouraging abortions. One of the great advances which followed the Christian take over of the Roman Empire was an immediate improvement in the position of women and the abolition of legal infanticide. There was and is still a lot to do but it looks like we shall have to meet some challenges again.

  8. >> How many of those... who condemn a mother who kills her baby, are willing to...support that same mother through her pregnancy and on into the early years of th childs life

    Actually, in the days when serious social stigma existed (the days that preceded legal abortion), there were several centres, mostly run by Catholic nuns, where unmarried mums were helped and supported through their pregnancies and afterwards (if they wished to give the child up for adoption, this was arranged - otherwise they were helped to bring up the baby). These sorts of centres still exist in my own country. They do sterling service, and it is probably far cheaper for the taxpayer to fund them than to spend millions on endless cycles of fruitless (no pun) IVF for the childless. People keep hinting at the terrible lot of the "unwanted" child, brought into a hostile world - however, most of the children being abused and exploited today were not necessarily "unwanted" - had they been, they would have been aborted. Neglect and abuse have nothing to do with whether the child was wanted or unwanted.

    And seeing that one person's unwanted is always another person's wanted, adoption would be a good way to go - hope the option doesn't get derailed by all the PC posturing that politicians indulge in.

    Btw, I don't think anyone is "condemning mothers who kill their babies" - people are just decrying abortion as the worst option available. It doesn't mean *condemnation* of the mother, just the act.


  9. We could save billions by cutting back on social work posts.

  10. I'm currently pregnant and it's a bloody nightmare. I was constantly sick for the first three months and haven't been allowed to travel, work, exercise, or even stand up or walk for more than a minute or two for the last few, so I've had to rely on my lovely partner for everything. I'm lucky though; my pregnancy wasn't life-threatening, and also planned.

    To pretend that women are 'selfish' because we retain the right not to go through all this just to act as incubators for someone else who wants a child is as ludicrous as it is misogynistic. I can only thank 'Anonymous' above for flagging his comment as impotent, angry hate speech from the start by using the phrase 'the right to kill their babies'.

    Call it what you want, sunshine. It's our right and they are our bodies, and you're not about to change that.

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