By Nancy Flanders
A study published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that the number of children in foster care is higher in pro-life states compared to pro-abortion states. Study authors are using the data to promote the false notion that these children are better off dead than living in foster care.
The data revealed an 11% increase in the overall number of children placed in foster care in states that have laws protecting children from abortion relative to pro-abortion states, and the authors noted that for Black and minority children, that number rose 15%. The data used in the study dates to before Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Researchers looked at the number of children conceived between 1990 and 2011 and placed in foster care between 2000 and 2020 in both pro-life and pro-abortion states. Study co-author Savannah Adkins, a lecturer in economics at Bentley University, claimed that the overturning of Roe will cause foster care placement numbers to rise higher.
“Now, with a total restriction of abortion in certain states, we’re obviously going to see this being exacerbated,” Atkins told CNN. “We need to take into account these effects when we’re thinking of these, you know, sweeping legislations that regulate abortion.”
Ashley O’Donoghue, an economist in the Center for Healthcare Delivery Science at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said, “With the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and many states already facing overburdened foster care systems, it is important to study the impact that restricted abortion access has on the foster care system to help inform future policy changes.”
She added (emphasis added):
Our findings highlight the complex interplay between race, socio-economic status and abortion, noting that those who are less able to provide for their children may be the most vulnerable when denied an abortion. Policies that restrict abortion may contribute to the overrepresentation of racial and ethnic minority children in the foster care system, perpetuating inequities and further straining vulnerable populations.
But racial and ethnic minorities are also “overrepresented” when it comes to abortion statistics. According to a report by Live Action research fellow Carole Novielli, “Black Americans made up 12.4% of all people living in the United States in 2020 but accounted for 39.2% of abortions. Hispanic Americans made up 18.7% of the U.S. population in 2020 but accounted for 21.1% of abortions.” White Americans, in contrast, “made up 61.6% of all people living in the United States in 2020 but accounted for 32.7% of abortions.”
What researchers did not report is how many of the mothers of the children placed in foster care would have actually had an abortion if they had easier access to it. They may have chosen life regardless of the law, because children in foster care are not “unwanted.” They are in foster care while their families work to overcome challenges that are preventing them from providing a stable or safe home for their children. The goal of the foster care system is the reunification of the biological family.
Victoria Petersen won the title of Mrs. Universe 2022 and she was 12 years old when she entered foster care. In a 2020 video for Students for Life, Petersen explained:
My mom always said when she saw me with my hands resting beneath my head as a baby on the ultrasound, she knew she loved me and would give birth to me. To say that growing up in the foster care system was adverse seems like an understatement. But my mom heroically and bravely chose not to eliminate the potential sufferer — me — and because of her choices, I am now a woman who spends her time passionately advocating to eliminate the suffering of those in the womb and in foster care.
In addition, people living in poverty statistically support abortion less than the wealthy do. According to a previous article from Live Action News, of households making under $40,000 a year, “only 30% agree with the official Democratic position: taxpayer abortion available on-demand, through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason, with no restrictions. Abortion support is seen to rise with a person’s income.” Women of low income are more likely to be against unrestricted abortion, but they are also more likely to be pressured into abortions they don’t want.
The study authors are essentially making a bold claim: that it is better to be dead than to live in a foster home. It appears they would rather the children in their study were killed by abortion than be alive today and in foster homes. It’s a common pro-abortion argument, but it’s a deeply flawed argument based on the elite‘s discriminatory attitudes toward children who spend time in foster care.