I recently found this video clip on the NY Times website.
I think it brings up some interesting ideas, unfortunately I don't think either of these two have a clue. Having adopted twice, once successfully and once not successfully, I feel that I can bring a bit more experience to the table.
Firstly, we may as well start before pregnancy on this issue...I was a big supporter of the group that offers cash for women addicts to get deprovera. There are very good reasons why reason drug addicts should get an incentive to get themselves a long term, easy method of birth control (which can be removed at any time).
I'll save that argument for another day.
As far as incentives to get a woman to carry a baby to term, let's examine some of the scenarios...
A woman with a history of drug abuse, whose living situation is unstable (perhaps she lives with relatives, friends, occasional boyfriend) finds herself pregnant. If she carries this baby to term the baby will almost certainly be prenatally exposed to drugs. OK, so perhaps this situation is acceptable to some. Maybe she will straighten her life out, or give the baby up for adoption to a family who can cope with possible long term effects (learning disabilities, hyperactivity, behavior issues). In fact, THAT family was US. We adopted a baby with this scenario two and a half years ago and our toddler is the light of our lives... (this was the successful adoption)
Let's up the ante though. Say this woman is over 35, at this point her risk of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome is 1/365 and by age 45, the risk is 1/30. You can check it out at this website.
Taking care of a Down's Syndrome baby is tough work. If the woman was considering abortion (maybe she has enough children or is is single and overwhelmed at the thought of parenting alone), it certainly makes sense that once giving birth to a high needs infant, she is likely going to put the baby up for adoption. However, if we pay women money to carry these babies with Down Syndrome to term, we will be adding more kids to the ranks of the many Down Syndrome kids who are already waiting to be adopted. (It takes special people to knowingly adopt a Down Syndrome baby, and there are not always enough of these special people available.)
I'll be honest, I had a hard time finding statistics on families who are waiting to adopt down's syndrome babies, but I looked at several agency websites, who posted notices that they were looking for families to adopt babies already born with Down Syndrome, so I think that indicates that the "supply is greater than demand" at this time.
Back to prenatal drug exposure... a lot of drug addicted pregnant women may be self medicating their own mental health issues. People with schizophrenia and bipolar disease who are not taking proper medication will likely have troubles parenting (assuming they wish to) and I am pretty sure that families aren't lining up to adopt babies who may have be carrying the genes for disorders of this kind.
OK, one more scenario, the mom to be is in her 20s. She doesn't take drugs and she has no mental health issues. Sounds perfect right? Wrong. Does she like to drink? Does she drink daily? Enjoy a drunken night out? According to the CDC, this drinking is considered risk drinking that can lead to a child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects (most easily refered to as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, FASD). One in 300 babies born in the US are on this spectrum (and that number is likely underreported. The thing about FASD is that its not always obvious what the underlying problem is, its often misdiagnosed, and there is a likely great deal of shame preventing mothers from acknowledging the issue.)
What does that a kid with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects look like?
Well, besides this picture, let me tell you. It's your worst nightmare. It involves mental retardation, heart issues, stunted growth, limb deformities.. you can check out this page to hear more of this 100% preventable disease.
It's bascially child abuse in the womb. Isn't it better to let the woman choose to abort this fetus, than paying a woman to maim it before it is even born?
Again, there may be some people willing to adopt these kids but they aren't easy to find. I know, because I had to find new parents for our child.