' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoption tax credit doesn't strengthen families, it destroys them; nor does it reduce abortions

Monday, November 13, 2017

Adoption tax credit doesn't strengthen families, it destroys them; nor does it reduce abortions

Couples and singles whose incomes are under $203,540 who adopt a child, domestic or foreign, currently receive an adoption tax credit of $13,570. The credit reduces their federal income taxes dollar for dollar for every dollar the spend on adopting a child. The credit is estimated to reduce federal revenues $3.8 billion over ten years. Adopting a spouse's child does not qualify for the credit. In their tax bill--otherwise laden with benefits for the rich--House Republicans sensibly proposed eliminating this credit because it primarily benefited wealthier Americans.

Religious conservatives in the Senate, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and John Hoeven of North Dakota, demanded the credit be restored. Joining them were House conservatives and religious groups who argued that by eliminating the credit, the bill went against the GOP's anti-abortion platform. The assumption being that the credit reduces abortions by increasing adoptions. "The adoption tax credit is pro-life and pro-family" said Rep. Mark Walker, a pastor from North Carolina.

Republican fanaticism over fetuses extends to another section of the tax code; that which allows families to put away tax-free money for their children's college education. The House bill allows expectant parents to designate a "child in utero" as the beneficiary, which is defined as "a member of the species Homo sapiens at any stage of development." This new language enshrines for the first time into law federal recognition of the unborn. Staunch anti-abortion groups such as the Susan B. Anthony List, is thrilled with this inclusion of the "unborn" into federal legalese. If this language stays, it is another step in the march to turn back Roe V. Wade and usher into another era of illegal, and dangerous, abortions.

In truth, the adoption tax credit does nothing to reduce abortions and it is most assuredly not pro-family. In her presentation at the Concerned United Birthparents Retreat in October, University of California at San Francisco research sociologist Gretchen Sisson, Ph.D. demonstrated that women who have abortions do not choose between abortion and adoption. They do not want to be pregnant. They do not want to have a child and give it up for adoption.

The actual conflict for women who want to deliver a child but lack resources is between parenting, and adoption. Many more couples and singles are anxious to adopt newborn infants than there are babies available. If the tax credit went away, more pregnant women would not be forced to abort.

While the tax credit may make adoption possible for a wider range of people, it doesn't make a dent in the over 600,000 abortions performed each year, considering that only 14,000 infants are adopted in the same period. It's also unlikely that any of the 5,370 mothers in foreign countries who lost their children to American adopters last year would have opted for abortion--if adoption was unavailable. Many of these parents didn't choose adoption, but were scammed and otherwise guided making an "adoption plan," that is--giving up their children.

The tax credit does not benefit the 50,000 parents who adopt from foster care each year because all or almost all of their expenses are paid by state child welfare agencies. The tax credit has only minimal benefit for the 50,000 children adopted each year by family members because it excludes step-parent adoptions which are the majority of these adoptions. The costs for other relative adoptions are small.

The credit benefits those parents who adopt 14,000 unrelated infants and 5,370 foreign children where costs range between $30,000 to $40,000. The credit may allow some of these parents to adopt who otherwise could not afford to do so, but that does not mean that without the tax credit, children would be aborted or languishing in orphanages. There's no shortage of wealthy people wanting to adopt, e. g. Hollywood personalities.

Adopting an unrelated infant or foreign child costs tens of thousands for a number of reasons: $100,000+ salaries for agency executives, expensive marketing to both expectant mothers and the infertile, home studies, expenses for pregnant women, "counseling" for these women, travel to foreign countries, bribes to foreign officials, attorneys, lobbying legislators and Congress for "adoption-friendly" laws and tax credits, and sundry other expenses. Rather than reduce abortions, the adoption tax credit helps finance an industry which fractures families. The $3.8 billion cost to tax payers over the next ten years would be far better spent helping mothers keep and nurture their children.--jane
IRS No. 607: Adoption Tax Credit
Adoption Tax Credit Restored
Senate Tax bill keeps adoption tax credit, breaking with the House
Tax Overhaul Bears Gifts for Conservatives, Including Rights for the 'Unborn'
Abortion Fast Facts -- CNN
The Donaldson Adoption Institute: Safeguarding the Rights and Well-Being of Birthparents (2006)
U. S. State Department: Intercountry Adoptions 2016
Child Welfare Information Gateway: Trends in U. S. Adoptions: 2008-2012
Child Information Gateway: The Cost of Adoption
Adoption Agency Executive Salaries

By Gretchen Sisson
Choosing Life: Birth Mothers on Abortion and Reproductive Choice
Adoption Decision Making among Women Seeking Abortion

From FMF:
President Obama: Adoption is not only available, it's being crammed down our throats
Advertising for a baby and other gripes
Choice is largely a myth when it comes to relinquishing a child
How the Internet is changing adoption
Good news: Intercountry adoption down again

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption
on May 1, 2017
This book def highlights the "white savior complex" "Evangelical Christian complex" of so many well intended 
actions. Just the fact that so many so-called "orphans" aren't in fact orphans was enlightening. How would 
Americans react if citizens of other nations sought to adopt our "orphans"? With outrage and horror, no doubt. 
This book is highly recommended.


  1. You have some really good points about the adoption tax credit. Getting rid of this would address several problems at once - where to get some of the money for tax relief as well as reducing incentives for unnecessary adoptions. The problem is how to implement this since adoption is so entrenched in the system. The research you cite would certainly back up any lawmaker who wanted to challenge the tax credit.

    I have to disagree with you, though, about the education tax bill about a "child in utero." In the first place, U.S. Code defines a person or human being as a person who is born alive, not before. I don't know if that education credit bill was enacted whether the code would also have to be changed or if it would have to be challenged in court. However, my opinion is that the code is wrong and the child in utero is a human being. This isn't religious fanaticism. It is biology. And a civilized society has a right and obligation to protect all of its citizens, including that child. The idea that a human being starts at birth is a pernicious idea that goes back to the blank slate theory which was the justification for adoption for many of us - "the child won't know the difference" "you will forget" etc. - all that crap. The legal definition in the US Code is just not true and we found that out too late.

    I do think you made a good point that the real decision is not between abortion and adoption but between adoption and parenting. I think that is true and the goal needs to be to keep the mother and the child together.

  2. As a commodity a baby desired by those who can pay and benefit financially is a win for them and an unconscionable loss for mother and child. Obscene and cruel.

  3. As a birth mom, I never thought about abortion. I couldn't afford one. Imagined if they gave a tax credit to birth moms. Why do adoptive parents need a tax credit ?

  4. Literally THE ONLY thing I can agree with in that entire tax proposal (speaking as an AP). Unfortunately, the vast amount of bad stuff means I don't support it overall.

  5. My son and his wife get some kind of subsidy from the state for adopting older siblings out of foster care. They were considered "special needs" not because they have any sort of disability but simply because they were older, Black, and a sibling group. My son does not touch the money but puts it straight into a fund for their college. No, they did not need a tax subsidy to be able to adopt.

    Such a tax break for those who pay many thousands for a healthy white newborn is just obscene. And no, it will not decrease abortions. However I have no problem with expectant biological parents being able to start a fund for their expected baby. I do not see that as a terrible thing. Many people believe that abortions after the first couple of months are morally questionable, except for extreme medical reasons, and not just for religious reasons.

    1. I agree, maryanne that families should be able to begin a college savings account before a child is born. I should have been clearer. Current law does allows these savings accounts.

      What the House bill does which is new is to use the phrase "An unborn child means a child in utero. A child in utero means a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb." This language is totally unnecessary to the bill; it's purpose is to establish in federal statute recognition of the unborn as a person.

    2. Only humorously related: One of my GFs dated a cheap lawyer who would ask them out on a date and then proceed to say they had to share all the costs because...he was saving for his children's college fund. At that point...they were just casually dating, he had not only no children, no one in sight to have his child! This is the same creep who once told me (in 1979, when Birthmark came out) that he knew people who would like to kill me....I asked who they were, they were adoptive parents who lived in his building.

      Jane is spot on about the language: it was only a ploy to get the language into a federal statute and to use as a battering ram against abortion rights.



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