6 Months After

It’s still too early to know all of the ramifications of overturning Roe. My state of Missouri was quick to claim the first out of the gate to overturn any right to have one. It is said the decision had a definite effect on the midterm elections. Kansas was an early surprise.

What impact has the overturning had on adoption ? After all, more than one Supreme Court Justice covered their decision by praising adoption. LINK>Good Morning America has a piece that takes a look at this.

Research on abortion and adoption shows that, in reality, there is not a clear line between adoption and abortion as equal options. “The idea that adoption is going to be an alternative [to abortion], that’s not borne out in what we see people already deciding. That’s not what they want for their lives, and their children’s lives,” according to Gretchen Sisson, a sociologist and researchers at the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health program at the University of California San Francisco. Among women who are denied abortion services, over 90% of them choose to parent versus choosing adoption, according to data from LINK>The Turnaway Study, which tracked nearly 1,000 women for five years.

According to Sisson, the data shows that adoption is a “rare decision to make,” while abortion is by comparison a “far more common” decision women make. In 2020, 620,327 abortions were reported in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which collected data on every state aside from California, Maryland and New Hampshire. That same year, there were an estimated 19,685 non-stepparent, private domestic adoptions in the US, according to the National Council for Adoption, an adoption advocacy organization. “Adoption is almost always a constraint. It’s what happens when people feel they don’t have another option, when parenting is so impossible, so untenable, so unsupported, that people will turn to adoption purely as a way of surviving and ensuring their child’s well-being,” said Sisson. “And if you remove abortion as a legal option, more people will relinquish when they feel that they can’t parent.”

Exploiting the poor to increase the supply of adoptable babies ? That has seemed to be the intent from the Supreme Court Justices. Sisson estimates that new abortion bans enacted post-Roe will increase the number of infants available to adopt each year by as many as 10,000. “You’re talking about a relatively small number compared to the number of people that are going to be parenting children that they didn’t intend to parent,” said Sisson. “But you’re talking about a massive number when looking at the overall rate of adoption.”

Rory Hall, executive director of Adoption Advocates, a Texas-based adoption agency, said the agency has not yet seen a noticeable increase in women opting for adoption amid heightened abortion restrictions in the state. She said that while she believes infant adoptions will increase, she does not believe they will increase as much as anticipated because adoption is such a “hard” option. “Our biology tells us not to do it, and emotionally it’s just so hard to do that,” Hall said of adoption. “I think most people, if they would terminate the pregnancy but can’t, are going to try to find a way to parent.” She continued, “With that said, there’s going to be some that are just in a position where they can’t no matter what, and will choose adoption.” Hall said of increased abortion restrictions, “I think it’s going to weigh even more on our foster care system. My concern is we already have so many kids in [foster] care … and that will increase, probably exponentially, as each year goes by, and so I worry about those kids.”

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