Thinking Big in Texas: Raising the Stakes of the "Adoption Incentive Program"

By Christine Cupaiuolo — March 26, 2007

Jill Filipovic (of Feministe) has an interesting write-up over at The Huffington Post about a bill introduced by Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick (SB1567) that calls for the creation of an “adoption incentive program.”

Indeed, the “incentive” — $500 payment to each woman who places a child for adoption rather than have an abortion, so long as she is a Texas resident and American citizen — is picking up more currency online as the Texas Baby Purchasing Act.

“It does not apply to women who choose to keep their children or to women who choose adoption without first visiting an abortion provider, and it’s being billed as an anti-abortion measure,” writes Filipovic. “Talk about commodifying women’s bodies.”

Filipovic sums up the issue nicely here:

Adoption can be a wonderful thing for both pregnant women and people who want to adopt children — but not when it’s coercive (and especially when that coercion is insultingly low-balled). Pregnancy is no walk in the park. Neither is childbirth. If, as a society, we’re going to decide that these things are worth financial compensation, then we need to compensate women who give birth for their labor (no pun intended) regardless of whether they keep the child or put it up for adoption.

Or we need to decide that pregnancy, childbirth and adoption should be a completely voluntary and non-coercive process — in which case we need to make sure that women have the widest variety of choices possible by increasing access to contraception, medically accurate sexual health information, secular adoption services and abortion; recognizing that infringements on our reproductive freedom are inexcusable violations of our most basic human rights to bodily integrity and autonomy; and making it possible for women to choose to give birth by promoting universal health care, more flexible work and education policies, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, better relief for low-income women with children, and an improved social safety net.

This bill is unlikely to go anywhere, but it’s always good to review what great minds in Texas are thinking.

3 responses to “Thinking Big in Texas: Raising the Stakes of the “Adoption Incentive Program””

  1. If they want to commodify my body, the better raise the price significantly. I am not sure putting my body through labor and delivery for someone else is worth $500.00. It seems a little chintzy to me. This is mostly written in jest, but I do think it gets to the point.

  2. I love the fact that even my legislators view me as being a commodity. Yep I am a female adoptee. They better not touch my womb or my daughters’ wombs. I hope it doesn’t go anywhere. It is baby selling. Many adoption agencies sell that baby for $50,000 here in Texas. I hope that this man gets voted out of office soon.

  3. Exactly, it does nothing to actually help women prevent pregnancies or support families. Meanwhile, egg donors and surrogate mothers can receive 10x that $500 sum, which wouldn’t even pay for delivery

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