From the NY Times: “In South Korea, an Effort to Defend Unwed Mothers”

Nearly 90 percent of the 1,250 South Korean children adopted abroad last year, most of them by American couples, were born to unmarried women, according to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs.

Of unmarried women who give birth, about 70 percent are believed to give up their babies for adoption, according to a government-financed survey. In the United States, the figure is 1 percent, the Health and Human Services Department reports.

For years, the South Korean government has worked to reduce overseas adoptions, which peaked at 8,837 in 1985. To increase adoptions at home, it provides subsidies and extra health care benefits for families that adopt, and it designated May 11 as Adoption Day.

It also spends billions of dollars a year to try to reverse the declining birthrate, subsidizing fertility treatments for married couples, for example.

“But we don’t see a campaign for unmarried mothers to raise our own children,” said Lee Mee-kyong, a 33-year-old unwed mother. “Once you become an unwed mom, you’re branded as immoral and a failure. People treat you as if you had committed a crime. You fall to the bottom rung of society.”

The government pays a monthly allowance of $85 per child to those who adopt children. It offers half that for single mothers of dependent children.

Read the rest of the article here.

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