The effect of abortion costs on adoption in the USA
Marshall H. Medoff
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to empirically estimate the effect the costs of an abortion have on the supply of infants relinquished for adoption in the USA. Design/methodology/approach – This paper, using pooled time-series cross-section state data, over the years 1982, 1992, and 2000, empirically estimates an adoption supply equation based on the rational choice economic model of fertility. Findings – The empirical results find that increases in the price of an abortion and the enforcement of a Parental Involvement Law decrease the number of infants available for adoption in a state. States that do not fund Medicaid abortions do not have higher rates of infant relinquishment. Research limitations/implications – One implication of the results in this paper is that to have an abortion or relinquish an infant for adoption are not considered to be substitutes by women with unwanted pregnancies and that for poor women with unwanted pregnancies either an abortion or raising an infant is preferable to relinquishing an infant for adoption. It would be of interest to see whether comparable results occur in other countries which have changed their abortion policies. Originality/value – If the goal of society is to increase the number of adoptable infants, the conclusions reached in this paper suggest ways to accomplish this goal.
Abortion, Child welfare, Infants, United States of America
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