Rudy Adopts New Shtick

Records put the lie to Giuliani's new claims that he used adoption to cut down on abortions

But records show that Giuliani's claims are bogus.

Adoptions only increased by 17 percent if you measure them the same way that Giuliani measured the 16 percent decline in abortions. But Giuliani is comparing something else: the adoption total for his eight years versus the total for the eight years that immediately preceded them, contrasting the very different historical epochs of 1986 and 2001—a statistical non sequitur.

In fact, adoptions went up and abortions went down in only one of Giuliani's eight years as mayor. Otherwise, they moved in unison, either up or down—clearly demonstrating that an increase in adoptions did not produce a decrease in abortions. In 1997, for example, the final year of Giuliani's first term, adoptions peaked at 4,009. But that was also when abortions peaked in the Giuliani era, at 104,344 (adoptions are calculated on a fiscal-year basis and abortions on a calendar year). The only year that abortions declined and adoptions went up was 1995, which was the year before Giuliani created the Administration for Children Services, the agency he claims prompted the adoption-over-abortion revolution. Both abortions and adoptions then dropped for every year of his second term—as they have ever since, under the proudly pro-abortion Michael Bloomberg.

Neither Giuliani nor anyone in his administration ever claimed at the time to have a program designed to encourage adoption as an alternative to abortion. In 2001, for example, the Mayor's Management Report stated that the purpose of ACS was "to expedite permanent families for children by reducing the length of time children remain in foster care prior to family reunification or adoption." Fran Reiter, the Giuliani deputy mayor and campaign manager who was also his key adviser on abortion policy, says: "Nick Scoppetta, the ACS commissioner, was at the morning cabinet meetings. No one said that the policies had anything to do with abortion. He was trying to get kids out of foster care. It was never tied to the lessening of the number of abortions." Lilliam Paoli, who was the Human Resources Administrator under Giuliani, adds: "The increase in adoptions had to do with all the kids backed up in the foster-care system. There was a huge push to move them out. It had absolutely nothing to do with choice." Given an opportunity to support his friend of 40 years, Scoppetta declined to comment on Giuliani's current claims.

The most telling rebuttal of Giuliani comes from a New York University professor, Trudy Festinger, who studied the children adopted in 1997 and 1998. The median age of the children was 8.1 years in 1997 and 8.4 years in 1998. Most had been in foster care for years, with only eight percent spending "three years or less in care prior to being adopted." The kids were typically almost four years old before the city even formally decided that they should be targeted for adoption.

In other words, not exactly newborns.

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