Sunday, May 8, 2022

Happy Domestic Infant Supplier Day?

Yeah. It's about abortion. 

Today is Mother's Day in the United States. This past Monday, somebody at the Supreme Court revealed the high court's take on motherhood by leaking to Politico a draft of the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The final opinion isn't due out until June or so. But this draft makes it clear that a majority of justices voted initially to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that made abortion legal across the country. 

Written by Justice Samuel Alito, the draft states that "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start." It goes on to say: "It is time... to return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives." Many pundits have interpreted that to mean that the Supremes want to kick the issue back to the states; in other words, state legislatures would be able to restrict, or end, access to abortion for their residents. And legislatures in conservative states are champing at the bit to do it.

But perhaps the most inflammatory statement in the draft -- other than that it would overturn Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe -- is a footnote that contains a quotation from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. If you've been wondering what that tweet in the screengrab above is about, here you go:

Nearly 1 million women were seeking to adopt children in 2002 (i.e., they were in demand for a child), whereas the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted had become virtually nonexistent.

Yes, that's right: the Supreme Court appears set to champion the business of forcing women to bear babies they don't want so that others can adopt them.

Here's a link to the CDC report, which was released in 2008. The quote in the Supreme Court draft brief  can be found in the conclusion on page 16. The report is a statistical survey of adoption in America. What it doesn't do is suggest that women who can bear children ought to get cranking.

In fact, there are adoptable kids in America right now. Of the 400,000 or so kids in foster care on any given day, about a quarter of them are available for adoption. Why aren't those million women taking any of those kids? Well, as the CDC report states, women looking to adopt want a kid younger than two who is not disabled and isn't part of a sibling group. Note, please, that the average age of kids entering foster care is eight. 

Moreover, one-third of the available-to-adopt kids are of color. Now, I know there are white folks who would adopt a child of color; I know a few of them myself, and kudos to them. But the fact remains that a lot of people looking to adopt are in the market for cute white babies.

In any case, ending legal abortion isn't going to produce enough babies for every person looking to adopt to have one. The CDC says about 630,000 legal induced abortions occurred in the United States in 2019. But not all of them would have resulted in a live birth if they been carried to term. Women decide to abort for a multitude of reasons, after all.

Moreover, the Guttmacher Institute says there are fewer abortions now than there were when the decision in Roe was handed down. That's partly because fewer young women are becoming pregnant; in 2017, there were just 87 pregnancies per 1,000 American women between the ages of 15 and 44 -- the lowest level ever recorded.

Ending abortion isn't going to solve the adoption supply chain issue. Women will still end unwanted pregnancies; they did it before Roe, and they'll do it again if Roe is overturned. They just won't be able to do it as safely as they can do it now. Which ought to piss off every American woman, particularly those who claim to be pro-life.

One other thing: I saw a comment this week that the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought Roe was a bad decision. I had trouble believing it, so I looked it up. What Ginsburg thought was that Roe was decided on the wrong grounds. Instead of making it a privacy issue (that is, the decision on abortion ought to be between a woman and her doctor), Ginsburg thought it should have been based on the idea that women have the same rights as men.

I understand why she thought so. But here are two things to ponder: 1) the Supreme Court at the time Roe was decided was comprised of nine men (eight of them white) and zero women -- the likelihood that they'd accept an equal rights argument was probably vanishingly small; and 2) the right to privacy established by Roe was used later in a whole host of cases -- everything from the availability of contraception to interracial marriage to gay marriage. Would those decisions have broken the same way without Roe as precedent? It's hard to say. But with Roe gone, it's not outside the realm of possibility that these other rights could be in danger, too.

Anyway, getting back to the draft opinion in Dobbs: The leaker may have done us a favor. Assuming the vote doesn't change between now and when the final opinion is handed down, we have more time to remind everyone about the rights we're losing. The best way to fix this is for Congress to legalize abortion across the country -- and the only chance we have of that, given the current mess in Congress, will be to increase the percentage of Democrats in both the House and Senate. Keep that in mind when you get ready to vote this November.

Oh, right -- and happy Mother's Day.


These moments of righteous blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed! And remember to vote!


Anonymous said...

Regarding the leaked opinion attributed to Alito, I had not heard that it necessarily represented a majority opinion.

Lynne Cantwell said...

The first line of the opinion says, "Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court." That means he's writing for the majority.

Anonymous said...

Remember when TFG started separating infants and toddlers from parents crossing the border? With no paperwork? And thousands disappeared? Huh..

Lynne Cantwell said...

So I've been thinking about what you wrote, Anon (I am pretty sure I know who you are :) ). Yesterday, Interior released that report about graveyards of Native American children who were forced to attend boarding schools in the US (there was one here in Santa Fe). Anyway, the point of those schools was to kill Native culture -- to take the kids out of their horribly backward family culture (ahem) and train them up to be good Christian Americans. Right?

Then, under TFG's administration, we had that barbaric policy of separating kids from their horrible family culture (I mean, what kind of parent would drag their kid all that way and illegally cross a border, amirite?) and... You see where I'm going with this.

It's plausible, anyway.