This information should not be construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure to be followed. A Tool for Behavior Change Abstract:
January 1, DOI: The legalization of abortion in the United States led to well-known changes in reproductive behavior, but its effect on adoptions has not been investigated. Variation across states in the timing and extent of abortion legalization is used to identify the effects of changes in the legal status of abortion on adoption rates from to These effects are estimated in regression analyses that control for states' economic, demographic and political characteristics, as well as for health care availability within states.
The estimated effect of abortion legalization on adoption rates is sizable and can account for much of the decline in adoptions, particularly of children born to white women, during the early s.
These findings support previous studies' conclusions that abortion legalization led to a reduction in the number of "unwanted" children; such a reduction may have improved average infant health and children's living conditions.
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health,34 1: In a given year, children of any age may become available for adoption because their parents do not want to raise them or because the state has removed them from their parents' households. The number of children adopted in a given year is therefore a rough proxy for the number of newly available "unwanted" children.
Legal access to abortion would be expected to reduce the number of unwanted children and thus the supply of children available for adoption and the number of adoptions.
Previous research suggests that abortion restrictions less onerous than outright prohibition reduce the number of infants relinquished for adoption in the United States.
A study using state-level data from three years in the s found that restrictions on Medicaid funding of abortions and enforcement of laws mandating parental involvement when minors seek abortions are negatively associated with the number of infants relinquished relative to both the total number of pregnancies and the number of nonmarital pregnancies.
Using data fromwe test whether adoption rates declined in states that granted women access to abortion prior to the Roe v. Wade decision and whether they declined in other states after the U.
We use an empirical methodology that incorporates fixed effects and state-specific time trends to control for unobserved differences across states in adoption behavior. This approach has not been used before in studies of the linkage between adoption and abortion accessibility.
Wade decision, giving women across the country legal access to abortion, in January However, several states had already made abortion legally available Table 1. InAlaska, Hawaii, New York and Washington repealed laws declaring abortion illegal or had such laws struck down by their state supreme court; New Jersey and Vermont followed in Abortion did not become legally widely available in the other 29 states until after Roe.
The number of adoptions rose from 91, in tointhen fell toby ; the decline of the early s coincided with the legalization of abortion. Adoptions granted to unrelated petitioners generally represent unwanted or mistimed births, whereas adoptions granted to relatives often involve a child's stepparent in some states and therefore may not represent undesired children.
Because adoptions are infrequent, most individual-level data sets do not contain large enough samples for analysis of the factors that cause women to put their children up for adoption.
A study that used the and National Surveys of Family Growth, which together included only reports of children placed for adoption, found that unmarried white women were much less likely to place their children for adoption in the s than in the early s, when abortion was illegal in many states.
Black and Hispanic women were less likely than non-Hispanic white mothers to place their children for adoption prior to abortion legalization, and their rates of relinquishment changed little, if at all, over time.
They were collected by states from court records and were reported to the federal government on a voluntary basis.
In all, we analyze annual state-level observations that had data available on adoptions and on the determinants of adoptions. The data available on adoptions include the total number of adoptions in the state, the number of adoptions by the birth mother's race classified as white or nonwhite and marital status married or unmarriedand the relationship of the petitioner to the child related or unrelated.
Not all of these data are available in all years; the number of adoptions by marital status is available only for We focus on adoptions by the mother's race and the relationship status of the petitioner. Table 2 presents mean rates of adoptions per 1, women aged for the entire study period, for the peak year for adoptions and for The data are disaggregated by race; therefore, for each racial group, the denominator is the population of women aged in that group.
The number of adoptions by related petitioners per 1, nonwhite women was essentially unchanged.
Moreover, the number of adoptions per woman was lower for nonwhites than for whites before Previous research found similar differences across racial groups. Here the data by race are based on the number of births to women in a given racial group.
The data again suggest that adoptions of children born to white women declined between and When viewed relative to births, the decline occurred solely in adoptions by unrelated petitioners of children born to white women; all other rates of adoptions per 1, births were higher in than in The average ratio of adoptions to 1, live births was 38 among whites and 26 among nonwhites.
Each set of variables and its expected effect on adoptions is discussed below. We used three dummy variables to measure the legal status of abortion in states.
The first of these, repeal, applies to states where a law declaring abortion illegal was repealed by the legislature or invalidated by state courts prior to Roe v.In Adoption UK's view and from its work, we believe the decrease in adoption levels is down to fewer adoptive parents being available for the higher numbers of children in care.
Relampago Furioso is the creator of The New Modern ph-vs.com is a former member of the mainstream media turned dissident, with professional experience in both science and journalism.
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