A woman who has experienced an unintended pregnancy and chooses to place the child for adoption is known as a birthmother. When faced with an unintended pregnancy, women typically have three courses of action. They may choose to parent the child, terminate the pregnancy, or place the child for adoption. There is limited research on birthmothers themselves or societal perceptions of them.

When it comes to societal perceptions of abortion, religiosity is a significant factor. Contrary to popular belief, many of the women who choose to abort do so in order to preserve the lives of their families. Single mothers are judged as poor workers due to their devotion to their children, a viewpoint that is compounded if the mother is black. This indicates that race may also play a role in perceptions of birthmothers.

This research aimed to discover public perceptions of birthmothers and test factors that might contribute to those perceptions namely, abortion opinions. This study utilized data collected from a previous study with an online survey of 501 students from a university population conducted in the spring of 2015. Survey questions were open ended, multiple choice, and Likert scale. This study discovered that opinions of birthmothers are largely positive and that opinions on abortion may have a link with opinions of birthmothers. The findings of this study are important because there is minimal research on birthmothers and it helps shed light on public perceptions of this marginalized group. Research has shown that many birthmothers experience a lack of social support that could be remedied from programming that helps these women cope within society and efforts to educate the public about them.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Carter, Shannon


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program



Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2016