Debunking OBC Access Myths and Fears; Abortion Rates Will Go Up

abortion rates in the USA to 2008

State Legislators Fear that the “Lack of Birthmother Privacy” Will Cause Abortions Rates to Rise

Ah, making a decision based on fear is never a good idea, but it is fear that often allows state legislators to continue to deny adult adoptees access to their legal identity. Now granted this is fear based on mythology which is even more ludicrous, but still, it is a very common and often heard cause for concern.

Protecting the Poor Birthmothers Who Are Afraid!

Seriously, I am getting tired of writing about this.

  1. The historical  date and research does not hold up that the majority of mother fear contact with adult adoptees. The number is less than 1% when given the choice to allow adoptees OBC access.
  2. The “promises” that were given by adoption attorneys were in fact, lies.
  3. The actual surrender documents prove that there were no legal promises and in truth, the BIRTHMOTHERS  were told to stay away.
  4. DNA and social media searches both make any concept of privacy null anyway .

But then, even with all that we still have the big deep fear of all fears: allowing a group of already alive people receiving access to their legal documents will somehow increase abortions.

The so Called “Logic” Behind the Abortion Adoption Privacy Scare

Just so we understand the thought process here, allow me to explain.  I think every freaking politician is scared to death of the upsetting the pro-life folks and getting labeled “pro-abortion” or some such nonsense.  Now granted, we can talk all we want until we are blue in the face that adoption is NOT an alternative to abortion, but the fear or something just refuses to allow these facts to register. Hence, I am willing to “go there”. Let’s confront t those fears head on.

The bases of this fear is that IF adoption was not “confidential” then a woman would turn to abortion to keep her dirty little secret. We’ll continue ignore the facts that most women seem to be way more open with their sexuality these days and aren’t trying  to convince the world they are virgins. We’ll also ignore the fact that of the roughly 14,000 to 18,000 infant adoptions each year, about 55 percent are fully open and another 40 percent are “mediated” adoptions with updates. We’ll also ignore the fact that most adoption agencies use promises of open adoption as enticement for relinquishment and there is also research by the adoption industry proving that most mothers WANT contact  and that contact, not confidentially, is what makes adoption appealing to them .

Yes, ignore all that and perhaps you could still be very afraid that if a women know that someday her relinquished child will be an adult and could access his or her original birth certificate with her name on it, and so she will abort the pregnancy rather than give birth.

This is what many state legislators fear.

So, let’s look at the actual numbers and statics for abortions in the USA and in Open OBC Access States!

Abortion Statistics in the USA

Now to begin with, I am pulling all these stats from Johnston Achieves. Why? Because as far as I know it is a completely neutral, highly geeky, consistently updated website that pulls from national sources.

Now first off, I will acknowledge that overall abortions rates in the USA have decreased. All the numbers show that abortions maxed out in the 1980’s and have decreased since then. Whether that is a direct result of politicians and legislation making it way more difficult for women to obtain abortions is another story; the fact is they have decreased overall.  It is also worthwhile to note that it looks from about 2004 on, they have also somewhat leveled out.

abortion rates in the USA to 2008

Now, there is a heck of a lot of information available at the sources here and many ways to measure this. I do not pretend to be a statistical analyst by any means, but to assuage this OBC Access fear of state legislators, what must be looked at is the rates of abortions in states AFTER they have restored the adult adoptees access to their OBC.   I am only looking at the states that have really had OBC long enough  to be able to see the reported abortions stats and I really do not care if these states are following national trends, or if ALL states are also showing decreases.

There is one thing and one thing only that needs to be proved or disproved really: Have the abortion rates in those states gone up since OBC access was restored which would indicate that women fear this lack of mythological privacy in adoption?

Abortion Rates in States with Adult Adoptee OBC Access

I have pulled the charts for Maine, Oregon,  New Hampshire, and  Alabama.  The abortions stats for RI and IL were not updated enough to compare to the OBC access years of 2012 and 2011 respectfully.   For comparison sake, I grabbed the state chart data for a full five years BEFORE OBC access legislation went into effect and have colorized the years that have resorted access.

Definition of table data:

  • Live births includes data from the Centers for Disease Control and from state health departments.
  • Abortions, reported includes data from the Centers for Disease Control and from state health departments.
  • Abortions includes estimates from Alan Guttmacher Institute surveys.
  • Abortion ratio is abortions per 1000 live births.
  • Abortion % is abortions as percentage of pregnancies (excluding fetal deaths/miscarriages)
  • Abortion rate is abortions per 1000 women ages 15-44

Here’s the Abortion Data:


restored OBC access on 1/1/2009

Abortions in the state of Maine have DECREASED since OBC access was restored.

  • Abortion ratio  from 205.7 to 178.2
  • Abortion %  from 17.1% to 15.1 %
  • Abortion rate  from 10.3 to 9.9

maine abortions rates


Restored OBC access on 5/31/2000

Abortions in the state of Oregon have DECREASED since OBC access was restored.

  • Abortion ratio  from 369.4 to 189
  • Abortion %  from 27% to 15.9 %
  • Abortion rate  from 21.3 to 12.3

oregon abortion rates

New Hampshire:

Restored OBC access on 1/1/2005;

Abortions in the state of New Hampshire have Not DECREASED since OBC access was restored, however their data is lacking in comparison to other states. Not sure what is happening here, but I am including since I  do not doctor facts.However I was told that a  1% swing in either direction isn’t a significant indication of anything since its within the % of error. % of error is normally considered to be between 1%-2%… unless proven to be higher. So with that additional information I’m going to label that baby “not a significant % of change”

  • Abortion ratio  from 217 to 233.9
  • Abortion %  from 17.8% to 19%
  • Abortion rate not enough data

new hampshire abortions


Restored OBC access on 8/1/2000

Abortions in the state of Alabama have DECREASED since OBC access was restored.

  • Abortion ratio  from 230.2 to 156.4
  • Abortion %  from 18.7% to 13.5 %
  • Abortion rate  from 13.8 to 10

alabama abortions rates

Now I did think to take ONE measurement; in this case the percentage of abortions per pregnancies for ALL states from the last 20 years and make a nice chart of that.  I was thinking that it would be interesting to see where the OBC access states fall into that, but after spending about 2 hours moving data, I have to say that it is NOT a nice chart. It looks like a ball of string that my cat got into. I have the master chart saved, if anyone would like to see it, but it’s useless for making any points or showing anything significant here.

Adoptee Equality Proves  to be NO Threat  to Unborn Babies

However, OVERALL, I can say that it does seem that the fear that allowing adult adoptee access to their original birth certificates and having the name of the mother’s who gave birth to them does NOT seem increase the numbers of abortions.

There. Fear Debunked!

Now please stop worrying and stop denying Adult Adoptees access to their own legal documents the unborn are NOT in danger.


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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

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