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.

Rachel:
I’m not ready. You know, and it wouldn’t be fair. It’s selfish of me to keep a baby that I can’t take care of. This is my first child. All I could think about was needing to save my son. And maybe this will be an opportunity for you to change your life, get off the street and turn your life around and help somebody else in the process.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I’m Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the Co-Founder of Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and the developer of the You Before Me campaign. I have been in the adoption field for 15 years. I have both personal and professional experience in adoption. I was adopted myself and I also have been a social worker my entire career. 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.

Ron Reigns:
I’ve been looking forward to this one, honestly.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I have too.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Okay. Here we go. Might be controversial, but we’re going to broach the subject.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
We’re going to go there.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, we’re doing it.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
We’re going to go there. I will tell you upfront, I have never lost an abortion debate ever.

Ron Reigns:
Ever?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Ever.

Ron Reigns:
Not with anybody?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Never.

Ron Reigns:
And you’ve been on TV about this.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I have been on TV. I have been on TV and you can actually go to our campaigns website, which we’ll give you at the end of this podcast, and you can see it.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
As I was stating, I have never lost an abortion debate and part of that is because I was born seven days prior to Roe v. Wade becoming legal.

Ron Reigns:
And it’s made such a difference in your life.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I’m here.

Ron Reigns:
Obviously not being aborted for instance, but also being adopted and knowing what that means-

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I do.

Ron Reigns:
to a human life.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Absolutely. I don’t know whether or not my mother would have chosen abortion as a route to go. Again, she didn’t know that she was pregnant with me until three weeks before, but I think maybe that may have been a little bit of denial and not sure. I mean, she was 15 when she became pregnant. And had just turned 16 when she had me. And that’s a little bit of a funny story, actually, that I will share in another podcast.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
All right.

Ron Reigns:
I Can’t wait.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes. All right. So the You Before Me campaign was developed because Busy Philipps had come up with a campaign called, You Know Me, this campaign was to let women know that one out of four women, by the time they turned 45, have had an abortion. I couldn’t believe the numbers. One in four women. And so, what she was doing, the goal of the campaign was to let women know, “Hey, you’re not alone. You know me, I’ve had one.” And I thought, “Well, wait a minute. I haven’t had one. I’ve known people that have had one,” but it’s not something that people normally celebrate or it’s not something that they look at and they say, “Hey, I had a cheeseburger today. You know me.”

Kelly Rourke-S.:
And so I thought we’re desensitizing people to what abortion really is and we’re not sensitizing people to what adoption is. And who’s the real hero here? It’s the birth mothers who are making that choice. Who are making that sacrifice, who are living what other people are choosing not to. They’re taking the nine months and they’re going through all of the weight gain and the hormone changes and they’re feeling the baby kick inside and they’re going through labor and delivery and they’re making this unbelievable choice where we’ve got another person out there who’s rallying people to say, “Hey, you know me, this is what I did. I did the quick and easy fix.” And it’s not quick and it’s not easy. And many people who have had an abortion will say there are long-term life consequences of it.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. Lasting impacts that just don’t go away when the baby goes away.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Right. You know, in the future, I want to have some guests on here that I know personally that have had an abortion. There’s a woman, who I spoke with, and she had one about almost 30 years ago and she said it’s still something she thinks about every day. She said it’s, she looks at her two sons and she thinks, “Is one missing? Should I have done something differently? Would they still be here if I hadn’t had an abortion?” And so there are so many questions that are left unanswered.

Ron Reigns:
And I’ve actually gone through that myself. My first wife had two abortions, one of them was with my potential child. And I do, I look at my own son and I think, “You could have had a brother or a sister had it not been for a poor choice when I was young and stupid.”

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Well, I don’t know if it’s being young and stupid or just being young and maybe not as knowledgeable.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah and scared.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Right, absolutely. And I think that if you’d had more information, which was not readily available.

Ron Reigns:
No, absolutely not. I mean, I’d obvious, everybody’s heard of adoption, but it doesn’t have the press agents that the abortion option seems to have.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Or the money funding the publicity.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Certainly, especially back then.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
And even today we have spoken with couple after couple who said, “I didn’t even know where to find you guys. I didn’t even know where to start.” And so campaigns like the You Know Me need to be combated with You Before Me because in the You Before Me campaign, a mother is putting her baby before herself and she’s recognizing that this is a child. And it’s not just our agency or people here and there or the Pro Life Movement, it’s now becoming huge. We see it in the news every day. The States that are signing the Heartbeat laws, which I think are incredible, because it’s bringing more attention to what adoption is, what parenting can look like for people who are struggling and what abortion really is. And I think a lot of those facts are unknown. And that’s why I went to Georgia and I went on a TV show, was to talk about the You Before Me campaign.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
So some of the information that I want to convey that I have not only instructed our staff, all of our adoption workers, but I try to educate everybody that I come into contact with that has questions about abortion. And I think that with some facts you can really see why people who were so vested in anti-abortion conversations and debates is because they have the information. And if you don’t have the information, then how can you understand really what’s happening. Right?

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. So what do you got for us?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
All right, so depending on your personal beliefs, some people believe that it is a baby at conception. I’m one of those people just to put it out there. I believe it’s a baby at conception, the Heartbeat Law, it States that it is a viable baby when the heart starts beating, which happens anywhere between, they say five to six weeks, six to seven weeks. So in the five to seven week range.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
That happens actually 18 days after the sperm meets the egg. 18 days.

Ron Reigns:
That soon?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
That soon. That soon.

Ron Reigns:
Less than three weeks.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes. Two weeks and four days. Crazy, right? Crazy, crazy early. At seven weeks and three days, spontaneous movement begins. So the baby starts to hiccup, frown, squint. The baby can move his or her arms or legs. By eight weeks, all of the organs can fully function and it’s now a small scale baby, and this is at eight weeks. We’re still in the first trimester. More than likely, if you’re pregnant, you’re not showing at that point. If you’ve had children before, you may have a little pooch starting out because your body remembers. At eight and a half weeks, your unborn baby has fingerprints.

Ron Reigns:
Fingerprints?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Fingerprints.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
So it is actually what we often consider an individual? Because-

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
… no two people have the same fingerprints.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes. Your baby has fingerprints. At nine weeks, thumb sucking can occur.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yeah, so it’s, yeah, we’re talking about-

Ron Reigns:
These facts blow you away when you actually look at them-

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Absolutely, I have chills, I literally have chills talking about it.

Ron Reigns:
And think of how short a period nine weeks is.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
At 10 weeks, the unborn baby’s body is sensitive to touch. And so, like I said, he has fingerprints, fingernails, eyelids. At 10 weeks, the baby can feel pain.

Ron Reigns:
That’s a hard one right there to think about.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
That’s a hard one. Yeah. At 11 weeks, the baby practices breathing, smiles are evident, there’s facial expressions. At 12 weeks, the baby can officially smile and you can visibly see the sex at 12 weeks. Now that’s not always-

Ron Reigns:
100% accurate.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
But the baby at 12 weeks is about three inches long and weighs approximately two ounces. We’re talking about a human being and that is where we go into the next aspect.

Ron Reigns:
Trimester.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes, yeah, both. I was going for aspect of this and yes, the next trimester. So when people are talking about first trimester abortions, they’re talking about a baby that we just described.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Fingerprints, feels pain, can smile.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Can suck his thumb.

Ron Reigns:
Can suck his thumb. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
So when people are talking about abortion, they often use the term fetus. A fetus in Latin means little one.

Ron Reigns:
I had read that and I was like, that is, I don’t know. It made me smile.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yeah, it’s darling, right?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Unfortunately, because it is used in medical jargon, it has become a way to distance yourself.

Ron Reigns:
Right? It doesn’t sound human.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
No, it doesn’t.

Ron Reigns:
Start saying little one every time you think fetus now.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Yes. Yes. I’m going to go have an abortion with a little one. I’m going to abort a little one. Like it’s not, whereas if you say fetus rather than baby, it doesn’t make it real.

Ron Reigns:
Right. It’s a medical term to us.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:
But when you think about what fetus really is, meaning little one, it does change your perspective and it does hurt more. So, when you have time and you go to our campaign page, there’s so much you can do. You can donate, you can share the link. We’re on all social media, all the tags are on our website. You can link us. You can let people know we’re not here to judge. If you’ve had an abortion, you know better for next time.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Moving forward, right?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
Absolutely. And if you have a friend that is contemplating abortion, adoption, what do I do? Talk to her. Show her the website. Educating people is the best way to make sure that people understand what’s really happening and how they can save lives.

Ron Reigns:
According to the CDC’s report, in 2015 there were 188 abortions for every 1000 live births in the United States. For that same year, 638,169 reported abortions were performed. By contrast, the CDC reports that less than 1% of US women ages 18 to 44 have adopted a child. The National Council For Adoptions 2017 report states that approximately 18,000 US infants are adopted each year. Think about that. Over 638,000 abortions compared to only 18,000 newborn adoptions. The contrast in choice is staggering. Research from the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, illustrates that 73% of women choosing abortion cited the inability to financially provide for a baby.

Ron Reigns:
How many women choosing abortion because of financial reasons are unaware that adoption services are free for women who choose adoption for their unborn child. Additionally, did they know that living expenses, including food, clothing, housing, transportation, a cell phone and medical care and counseling is all free of charge for the birth mother who chooses adoption? According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the cost of an abortion at a health center ranges from $350 to $950 for an abortion in the first trimester. And that cost is higher for a second trimester abortion. So at an average cost of $500 and 332,757 abortions performed, Planned Parenthood brought in over $166 billion from performing abortions last fiscal year alone.

Ron Reigns:
So is it any surprise that more than 73% of women seeking abortion for financial reasons are not referred to an adoption agency? Or why there’s only one referral for every 117 abortions?

Kelly Rourke-S.:
I told you that we were doing this because of that campaign, because we don’t want people to do an abortion.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. And it was like, I always thought it was like so underground because we had to like talk to a lot of people before it was like, we were comfortable enough to even come in and take a look at what it was.

Speaker 5:
It was weeks, we were talking to each other about adoption and they’re very judged against the adoption process. People looked at us down, we still don’t tell random people that we meet, that we’re giving her baby up for adoption because they look at us like it’s a bad thing.

Speaker 4:
It’s a really hard thing to do. But this actually makes it really cool, like not cool. I mean it is good.

Speaker 5:
No, it’s a gift. It’s a blessing. It should be celebrated.

Speaker 4:
But it’s like a real transition that goes through, you know, and it’s like, and it is us giving a gift to somebody else and I can’t take care of my kids.

Speaker 4:
And so, I’d rather have somebody that can, and will give it a good life.

Ron Reigns:
If you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption. We are a local Arizona adoption agency. All the information provided in this blog regarding birth mother services are offered by our agency as we cannot speak for another agency and what they may or may not offer. We’re available 24/7 by phone or text at 623-695-4112 that’s 623-695-4112. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or just give you more information. Be educated about your unplanned pregnancy choice. Your baby’s counting on you with adoption. You are never alone. Choose life #YouBeforeMe. You can find the video we talked about earlier in the podcast of Kelly being interviewed on live TV concerning adoption versus abortion at Azpregnancyhelp.com. You can also go there to look at our blogs and find out more about your options. It’s Azpregnancyhelp.com.

Rachel:
My name is Rachel and I’m six and a half months pregnant and kind of the reason I chose adoption is I’ve had six abortions in the past. I was planning on having an abortion with this child and a friend of mine, she was like, “You know what? I know this agency called Building Arizona Families. Why don’t you go through them? Don’t have an abortion, give this child a chance and maybe this’ll be an opportunity for you to change your life, get off the street and turn your life around and help somebody else in the process.” So I decided to do that. And I have two other children. I have a 19 year old son that I was going to have an abortion with. I told my mom when I was seven months pregnant with him, I went to the abortion clinic and they told me I was too far along.

Rachel:
My other child. My rights were severed four and a half years ago. So I don’t have them either. When I came to Building Arizona Families, it just seemed like a really great place and everybody’s really nice and you know, people have asked me, “Why don’t you keep this baby? Why are you giving this baby up? It’s your child. How could you do that?” And I just, I’m not ready. You know. And it wouldn’t be fair. It’s selfish of me to keep a baby that I can’t take care of. I’m very happy with my decision and I don’t listen to what people say about me being selfish, or you know, “Oh that’s not right. That’s your child. How can you give away your child?” Why would you not want to give your child an opportunity to have a better life?

Ron Reigns:
You can find out more about #YouBeforeMe and the You Before Me campaign as well as the Donna K. Evans foundation at DKEfoundation.com. That’s DKEfoundation.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by Ron Reigns. We also want to thank Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and the You Before Me campaign. A special thanks goes out to Grapes for letting us use their song, I don’t know, as our theme song. We also want to thank Jason Shaw for letting us use the song Clouds. You can find Jason at audionautix.com. Check out our blogs on our website, AZpregnancyhelp.com. Next time we’ll be talking about the benefits of adoption for the birth mother. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns. We’ll see you then.

 

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