How will Supreme Court abortion decision impact adoption?


(NewsNation) — The Supreme Court’s landmark abortion ruling may have implications for the nation’s adoption system, which has long been tasked with securing care for children who are given up by their biological parents.

According to the Adoption Network, about 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. And while the impact of the higher court’s decision will be tough to estimate, one adoption facility owner says they’re already doubling down on ensuring women, even now, are aware of the choices they still have.

“Before Roe v. Wade, the staff that we have, we’ve always been told, that 80% of people were forced into closed adoption situations and after Roe v. Wade, only one percent of women choose adoption,” said Molly Thomas said to NewsNation’s “Rush Hour”.

Thomas is the founder of Choice Network — a nonprofit adoption agency out of Ohio offering access to adoption options, as well as all options counseling, including abortions and parenting.

She said says she anticipates the Roe v. Wade decision will have three distinct implications: initially overwhelming the healthcare system with women in search of legal abortion, a subsequent overflow of children in foster care and potentially more closed adoptions, where the adoptive family and birth mother remain confidential.

“In that space, it was not good for the people choosing adoption, it was not good for their children, it was not good for families — it’s all those horrific stories we hear about closed adoption,” said Thomas.

However, University of California, San Francisco sociologist Gretchen Sisson, who studies pregnancy issues, told the Journal that she does expect to see an increase in adoptions.

In a study she conducted several years ago, she estimated that nine out of 10 women who are denied the ability to get an abortion end up parenting the resulting child themselves. Sisson now expects that the number of private adoptions could increase by 10,000 a year over the next two or three years after the demise of Roe v. Wade, up from the 18,000 to 22,000 that occur now.

Because African American and Hispanic women are disproportionately represented among women who have had abortions, racial and ethnic disparities in adoption may present an additional challenge. Black children in particular on average spend a longer amount of time in foster care before adoption.

In Alabama, where most abortions are now illegal, foster and adoption services provider Lifeline Children Services told NewsNation’s partner local news affiliate WHNT that it believes there will be enough families to care for any increase in a need for adoption.

“To families that have been willing to foster, to adopt and to support women and children, I can’t imagine that in North Alabama we’re not going to have an overabundance of families willing to help meet the need of women in crisis,” said the organization’s president, Herbie Newell.

Thomas says she’s hopeful the Supreme Court decision will lead to changes in family planning services, including providing women with access to all of their options early, giving mothers more resources to parent their own children and creating laws that will make adoption what she calls a true option.

“What my fear is, is that pregnant people will be forced into a decision they would have never made if they had access to all of their options,” Thomas said.

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