$500 not to have an abortion?

A Texas State Senator has been ridiculed for his proposal to pay women $500 if they show up at an abortion clinic, elect not to have an abortion, and then give the baby up for adoption.

Honestly, though, is it really such a bad idea? What if he left out the part about visiting an abortion clinic? Does it make sense to subsidize women who were going to give up babies for adoption? I think maybe it does. There are large numbers of parents who want to adopt, and a shortage of mothers willing to put healthy babies up for adoption. There are laws restricting what prospective adoptive parents can pay the birth mother. Providing a subsidy to birth mothers (perhaps conditioned on testing negative for drugs and doing a full set of prenatal hospital visits) sounds like a pretty sensible thing to do.

The part about visiting the abortion clinic is just a waste of time. Any woman who knew she was going to give her child up for adoption would have an incentive to make an appearance at the abortion clinic just to qualify under this guy’s law. So why not just scrap that part of it and debate whether we should be subsidizing women who give their babies up for adoption.

I find it amusing that one of the criticisms of the proposed law is as follows:

Heather Paffe, political director of Planned Parenthood of Texas, said Patrick’s proposal “is very cynical and insulting to women and their families.”

“It’s insulting to think women would make that kind of decision so easily,” she said.

It sounds to me like the crux of Heather Paffe’s argument is that $500 just isn’t a high enough price!

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  1. egretman says:

    If this incentive would give pause and change the mind of 5 percent of those woman, that’s 3,000 lives. That’s almost as many people as we’ve lost in Iraq,” Patrick said.

    Just think of it as an 18 year replacement plan.

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  2. egretman says:

    If this incentive would give pause and change the mind of 5 percent of those woman, that’s 3,000 lives. That’s almost as many people as we’ve lost in Iraq,” Patrick said.

    Just think of it as an 18 year replacement plan.

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  3. snubgodtoh says:

    I wonder about issues of race. What is the current state of supply and demand in the adoption market for say, black children? Continuing with the hypothetical: what would be the consequences of this policy if an already saturated supply grew unmet by growth in demand? I would forecast some relatively dubious outcomes for these children.

    And I assume you meant “…testing negative for drugs…”

    Apologies if this idea is overly un-pc.

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  4. snubgodtoh says:

    I wonder about issues of race. What is the current state of supply and demand in the adoption market for say, black children? Continuing with the hypothetical: what would be the consequences of this policy if an already saturated supply grew unmet by growth in demand? I would forecast some relatively dubious outcomes for these children.

    And I assume you meant “…testing negative for drugs…”

    Apologies if this idea is overly un-pc.

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  5. sguerra says:

    Exactly EGRETMAN,

    What If the proportion of womans that consider this proposal is greater enough to generate a baby boom? Sorry Steven, but I strongly disagree with you.

    Sergio Guerra,
    Caracas/Venezuela

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  6. sguerra says:

    Exactly EGRETMAN,

    What If the proportion of womans that consider this proposal is greater enough to generate a baby boom? Sorry Steven, but I strongly disagree with you.

    Sergio Guerra,
    Caracas/Venezuela

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  7. cthayler says:

    Clearly $500 is not enough to significantly offset the cost of raising the child. However, if you increased that amount, it would turn into a type of upfront welfare, where there would be little incentive to protect against unwanted pregnancies. I think the better approach is to continue educating young adults about the costs and consequences of raising a child, rather than paying them off.

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  8. cthayler says:

    Clearly $500 is not enough to significantly offset the cost of raising the child. However, if you increased that amount, it would turn into a type of upfront welfare, where there would be little incentive to protect against unwanted pregnancies. I think the better approach is to continue educating young adults about the costs and consequences of raising a child, rather than paying them off.

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