SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade and some states proposing stricter abortion laws, adoption agencies could see an influx in interest.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of kids put up for adoption declined in the decades after Roe was passed. Now that it’s overturned, local agencies are expecting that number to rise.
Carrie Murray Nellis is an adoption attorney and the executive director of Abiding Love Adoptions. The St. Simon’s Island-based agency serves women in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
“For us, we are doing the same thing today that we did two weeks ago and we plan to be doing the same thing in four months,” Nellis said. “Our big job is to love expectant moms and to make sure they know their options and that they’re walking into parenting or making an adoption plan with their eyes wide open.”
In an average year, Nellis said the agency facilitates as many as 40 adoptions, but consults with far more women than that. She is now predicting that number will rise without federal abortion protection.
“Adoption is not the answer to abortion,” Nellis said. “There’s a lot of people out there that just think ‘oh, if they’re not going to be able to abort, let’s adopt.’ And it is not the answer to abortion. Adoption should not be walked into easily or with just a little forethought. You’ve got to really look into what does this look like, what is the grief involved in this, what is the loss involved in this.”
To prepare for greater interest, Nellis is trying to grow her staff to make sure expectant mothers get the resources they need before deciding to put a baby up for adoption.
“One of the big things I want any woman to know that is facing an unplanned or unexpected pregnancy is to take a moment to breathe and just think through, talk through all of the options,” she said. “Talk to someone who has parented, what that’s going to look like. Talk to a mom who is a birth mother who has placed for adoption.”
Meanwhile, abortion providers are also getting more calls since Roe’s overturn.
“We’ve certainly had an increased number of callers calling into our patient access center,” said Vivienne Kerley-de la Cruz, Georgia campaigns director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates.
With the potential of stricter abortion laws on the horizon, Planned Parenthood said their doors in Savannah are still open.
“We will continue to provide care for as long as we possibly can, specifically around abortion services until the laws change we will be providing care,” Kerley-de la Cruz said.
As of now, abortion is still legal in Georgia. But the state’s “heartbeat bill” — which would ban the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected — is likely to go into effect.