Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Second Verse: Not The Same As The First

There are striking differences between the experiences of BSE mothers and newer era surrendering mothers. Sweeping social change in the ways Americans viewed women and their roles, technological advances in gynecological and obstetrical care, the explosion in the availablity of information previously hidden from public view, the growth of psychological understanding, and a more open, tolerant society have all contributed to these changes. The foundation was laid in the early and mid 1970s, with the Supreme Court of the land striking blow after blow for the protection of women's Constitutional rights. Congress also contributed landmark legislation in the same time frame. Among the most important change making decisions and federal laws are the following:

In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time ever that women enjoyed Constitutional protection from discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment, in Reed v. Reed.

Pregnant women were permitted to stay in school after the 1971 Supreme Court decision Ordway v. Hargraves. Before then, pregnant high school students were not permitted to attend regular classes.

The 1971 Supreme Court case Phillips v. Martin Marietta established a mother's right to be free from discrimination in hiring practices because she has children.

In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments. It bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." A direct result of Title IX is that professional schools (medicine, law) saw their population of women students increase dramatically for the first time in history.

Birth control methods were readily available to unmarried women after 1973. The Supreme Court did not strike down state law prohibiting contraceptive use by married couples until 1965 (Griswold v Connecticut.) It was not until 1972 that the Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people have the right to contraception ( Eisenstadt v. Baird )
Safe, legal, abortion on demand was not readily available to unmarried women until Roe v Wade, 1973.

There was little to no way to enforce child support payments prior to the Social Security Amendments of 1974.

1974 was a banner year for women's rights. Congress also passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. It prohibits discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance. As a result of being able to establish their own lines of credit, women can now get credit cards, take out auto loans, and rent apartments independently.

Finally, in 1974, sex was added to the list of protected classes in the Fair Housing Act, which was first enacted by Congress in 1968. Before that time, women could be, and were, discriminated against by sellers or renters of housing properties.

In 1975, the Supreme Court decided in Cleveland Board of Education v LeFleur, that employers can not force pregnant women to take unpaid maternity leave after the first trimester because it impinges upon women's due process rights.

1978 saw Congress pass The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It bans employment discrimination against pregnant women. Under the act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant Further, she can not be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work.

These rapid changes in the legal standing of American women between 1971 and 1978 ushered in an era of increasing economic, social and educational independence for them. With this independence came changes in women's personal power. Practices and attitudes towards women that had been the norm for a century or more were swept away in a tidal wave of social change. Advances in reproductive medicine were also occurring during the 1970s with widespread acceptance and use of the birth control pill. Coupled with the new legal standing of women, practices which had been unremarkable, everyday and "normal" before and during the Baby Scoop Era, became unthinkable.

Can anyone really imagine taking away a contemporary young woman's clothing, name, money, cell phone, Ipod, computer and access to any and all media except that which you allow her, triple locking her away behind a tall fence, reading her mail as it comes and goes, keeping her friends away, and actively brainwashing her until she gives that little baby up?

They wouldn't dare.

Can you imagine hospitals allowing women who are giving birth (usually for the first time) to labor alone, drugging a woman up until she has no strength to push, and then withholding the baby immediately after birth?

Neither can I. And I imagine that neither can any insurance companies.

The fact of the matter is that adoption practices of the Baby Scoop Era are gone. No sane person is going to open themselves up to a civil/human/ Constitutional/malpractice lawsuit brought by a young woman robbed of her baby.

The fact is that in 2008, adoption is marketed to young women and their families using the latest discoveries of consumer psychology. The concept of disallowing one's own motherhood in order to become a "Good Mother" is a logical fallacy. This is good old fashioned, garden variety, nuts and bolts style mind twisting, yet another chorus of "If you love him, you will let him go."

People have bought into it since Gibran first wrote it. And they will continue to buy into it. It's doubtful that Gibran was thinking about the separation of mother and newborn when he wrote that. But that's what the marketing gurus have made of it.

And that is finally the point.

Failure to grasp the fact that there are major cultural, psychological and historical differences between THEN and NOW and an insistence on lumping the two eras together as if they were one is much more than an academic error. It's a fundamental error. It is a failure to identify the tactics your enemy uses against you. It obscures and does not illuminate. It only adds to the fog on the battlefield of AdoptionLand.

Adoptionists of all varities are no longer stripping women of their Constitutional rights. Instead, they are appealing to women's open-heartedness, their idealism, and their guilt and loneliness. That's what's happening. And, it's working; women are responding.

Women and their families are succumbing to adoption marketing.

Pregnant women are the first consumers of adoption services. Any natural family preservation strategy that ignores, overlooks or fails to grasp this basic fact is doomed to fail.

You go to war with the enemy you have, not the enemy you wish you had.

Failure to address this most basic of facts because of a stubborn insistence on lumping together apples and oranges, or a refusal to recognize that past practices are indeed gone, or a failure to grasp that the dynamics of obtaining newborns for profit adoption have shifted into another universe entirely, can only lead to more failure.



Robin said...

Wow, irrefutable facts, logically presented! What a concept. While I understand that mothers younger than us BSE moms cannot visualize the overt oppression to which we were subjected, they cannot help but recognize that it happened just that way and that it is important to the cause.

I cannot visualize the carnage of WWII, but I recognize that it happened and the impact it had. We learn nothing if we are not willing to address the wrongs that went unrecognized and the injustice that was never corrected.

The BSE gave the power and impetus to the adoption industry so that they became a learning entity...what was done, overtly, to us, they now do, covertly and with subtlety, to our younger sisters. We cannot blend the eras without losing the massive impact of the message.

....for BSERI said...

I think it's important to make the distinction between the tactics used then and now.

You don't bring a knife to a gun fight. You don't bring a rock to a nuke fight, but that is what is happening.

If you do not correctly identify the tactics and the weapons being used against you... you are doomed.


Anonymous said...

I have to whole heartedly agree with the 'second verse' and would gladly conduct the choir for this portion of the song.
If we don't learn from history then history is doomed to repeat itself, and that is exactly what adoption is hoping on. That us ole BSA mothers will lay down and give it up so the system can covertly continue to accomplish it's agenda. Its a war out there and the tactics have changed from a more corpral punishment to a more subtle, coercive brain washing technique but the results are none the less horrendous.

....for BSERI said...

I don't agree that it's a more subtle form of brainwashing, Anon. The NCFA and the FRC hired a marketing guru to help them write BMGM... not a dungeon master.

These folks are trying to market adoption the way the auto industry markets cars, or Caribbean resorts market honeymoon vacations - by identifying the consumer's unconscious resistances to the product (and in adoption, they are substantial) and by
the appealing to the underlying, semi-conscious needs of the consumer. The first consumer of adoption services ....is a pregnant woman.

BMGM is not subtle brainwashing - it's an ad campaign.

For quite some time now there have been references to the adoption industry. People speak about "the industry" when trying to get the point across that adoption is not an altruistic institution, but a business. The point being made in remarks such as these is that there is a lot of money involved in the adoption transaction.

What's being missed in claims of brainwashing and coercion in the new era is that the industrialists have chosen to utilize a tried and true business technique - marketing! Not brainwashing, not coercion - marketing.

Women are being marketed into adoption, just as surely as Americans are marketed into diet plans, tooth whiteners and a myriad of other products that cater to our need to feel good about ourselves.

People who claim that adoption is an industry should perhaps take their claims a bit more seriously, and not be surprised when the industry turns around uses standard business practices.

Shadow said...

I agree...How can the in your face, public adverts ad nauseum (billboards, radio, TV, newspapers ads, and the internet adverts)be called 'subtle brainwashing'??!! You are absolutely right on the money! This is a major marketing stragedy..no different like you say..in the marketing stragedies used by the Auto Industry, shoes, clothing, etc. Adoption is Big Business..and Big Business so depends on good marketing stragedies. Adoption Big Business has been doing their homework for a long time. Adoption is marketed like anything else in this day and age. Kind of sad though...they are utilizing business marketing stragedies for little human beings, the same as they would for any new car or something bought at the grocery store.