Image - speakers and detail from book cover
Past Event

Gretchen Sisson with Sen. Laphonza Butler: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood

Abortion and adoption are twinned in the minds of many Americans who have endured the never-ending heated debates over abortion. Now, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, sociologist Dr. Gretchen Sisson releases the results of her decade-long study of adoption, revealing what she says is the grief of American mothers for whom the choice to parent was never real.

Adoption has long been viewed as a beloved institution for building families, as well as mutually agreed common ground in the abortion debate. But little attention has been paid to the lives of mothers who relinquish infants for private adoption. For her book Relinquished, Sisson draws upon hundreds of interviews with mothers who placed their children for domestic adoption. She finds their voices to be powerful and heartrending, deserving to be heard.

Join us for a timely and provocative look at the flip side of the fight over abortion, adoption, rights and the American family.


Attendees subject to search. No large bags, backpacks, etc.

Photo by Liz Corman.

February 20, 2024

Commonwealth Club World Affairs of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Gretchen Sisson

Gretchen Sisson

Ph.D., Qualitative Sociologist at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco; Author, Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood; X @gesisson

Image - Laphonza Butler

In conversation with Laphonza Butler

U.S. Senator (D-CA); X @Senlaphonza