Testimony on Tax Payer Funding of Abortion to Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee

February 25, 2017, Jason Adkins

Madame Chair and Members of the Committee:

My name is Jason Adkins and I am executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.  I am here today in support of SF 702.  In my testimony today, I want to highlight the story Nathan John.  Nathan John is the little boy who was left inside the Cathedral of Saint Paul after the 5:15 Mass on January 4.

The story of finding Nathan John gained significant local and national attention.  The interest in Nathan John highlights the reality that every single life matters, and everyone has a story, even if it is not the subject of the TV news.

Nathan’s story resulted in an absolute deluge of requests to the Cathedral’s rector, Fr. John Ubel, to adopt this baby, from both generous families and some from anguished couples unable to have children of their own.

Nathan’s story highlights two realities that make taxpayer funding of abortion so tragic.  First, that taxpayer funded abortion is unnecessary.  In fact, around 2.6 million American women were trying to adopt children as of 2002, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is more than the number of abortions that occur in the U.S. every year.[1]

And second, it ends the life of a child—a child who, under different circumstances would warm the hearts of many who hear his story, and who has no shortage of families willing to lovingly raise him.

As we as a state consider whether to continue spending almost one million dollars per year on abortion assistance, here are some figures to ponder in light of what we just heard about the enormous number of requests to adopt Nathan John.

In 1971, almost 90,000 American newborns were placed for adoption each year. In 2007, just 18,078 domestic newborn, non-relative adoptions were registered.[2]  The percentage of infants given up for adoption has declined from 9 percent of those born before 1973 to just 1 percent of those born between 1996 and 2002.[3]

That is a significant drop. Why has adoption become the forgotten option?

It is certainly the case that the decline in the adoption numbers are due, in part, to the availability of abortion.  In the past decade, abortions outnumber adoptions by a 12 to 1 ratio.  And if one removes the older children from the equation, and focus on newborns only, the ratio is far greater than that. Still, as Nathan’s story illustrates, the interest in newborn adoption remains substantial.

Although the reasons for choosing abortion may be diverse, what we DO know from the data is that in many instances, the opportunity to receive support makes a big difference in choosing to carry a child to term.  For example, data in one study from 1,160 pregnancy resource centers shows that after receiving help from a pregnancy center, 8 out of 10 women chose to carry their baby to term.[4]  And even if we assume that more significant financial reasons preclude some women from either bringing a child to term or raising the child, we know there are other ways to address that problem, such as increasing the cash grant in the Minnesota Family Investment Program or increasing the working family credit.

The bottom line is that the almost one million dollars spent on taxpayer funded abortions is better spent on assisting women who in difficult financial circumstances who choose adoption for their baby, increasing positive alternatives grants, or putting the money into programs that can address some of the main the reasons why women choose abortion other than the inconvenience of pregnancy.

The story of Nathan John is an important reminder that taxpayer money is best spent to help women in need bring their child to term and provide adoption opportunities to so many people who seek them.  The Catholic community, and the vast array of services, resource centers, and organizations in which Catholics volunteer and play a leading role, stands ready to assist women in unplanned pregnancies and generously embrace children in need of new homes.  Let’s choose life.

Thanks for your consideration.

[1] Child Welfare Information Gateway, US Department of Health and Human Services, “Persons Seeking to Adopt,” childwelfare.gov, Feb. 2011

[2] Wendy Koch, “USA Faces Critical Adoption Shortage,” usatoday.com, Jan. 10, 2013

[3] National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Who Adopts? Characteristics of Women and Men Who Have Adopted Children”, NCHS Data Brief, dc.gov, Jan. 2009

[4] https://www.care-net.org/abundant-life-blog/care-net-impact-report