In the post-Roe v. Wade era, adoption is still not substitute for abortion, experts say

Only 9% of women choose adoption over parenting their child if they’re denied an abortion. Adoption experts say the system needs to improve.
babies(DC Bureau)
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 10:07 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Data from the Turnaway Project, which studies women denied abortions, shows that just 9% of unplanned pregnancies result in the child being put up for adoption if the mother cannot have an abortion. That’s why experts believe adoption has a long way to go before it’s a viable substitution in states where abortion is now banned.

Gretchen Sisson, a sociologist at the University of California in San Francisco, studies how women make decisions about adoption when they’re denied access to an abortion. She said almost no women seek adoption as a first choice for an unplanned pregnancy.

“Adoption really only emerges as an outcome when people are denied access to almost every other choice,” Sisson said.

With more states enacting harsher abortion laws, Sisson expects the rate of adoptions will increase but Ryan Hanlon from the National Council for Adoption disagrees.

“It’s very possible that adoptions are going to stay around the same unless and until we start giving a better information about adoption,” Hanlon said.

He said the federal government can act to improve adoption by offering more education and post-adoption support, such as the passing the Adoption Credit Refundability Act, which would make adoption more accessible for low-income families.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is the latest lawmaker to co-sponsor the bipartisan bill, introduced in 2021. He sees improving adoption access as an issue that can stand independently of reproductive rights.

“Guaranteeing women health care choices protection is not at all in contradiction to also encouraging more adoption,” Warner said. “... We need to have a whole range of options.”

The bill still awaits a vote in both the House and the Senate.