WOMEN’S Forum Australia research committee member Dr Joanna Howe said Australian politicians needed to focus on developing efficient adoption laws.
These comments were made in support of a new research project and education campaign conducted by WFA into the barriers towards adoption in Australia.
Dr Howe said WFA needed to raise $30,000 to continue their research into adoption.
She said Australia had the second-lowest adoption rate among developed countries.
“The impetus for this research project is the fact that Australia has some of the worst statistics on adoption in the world,” she said.
In 2011-2012 there were only 333 adoptions in Australia, but 149 of these were overseas adoptions, 129 were “known” adoptions, when the adoption formalises a pre-existing parental relationship, and only 55 were local adoptions.
This is a 78 per cent drop in the last 25 years.
The waiting list for adoptions is around three to seven years and can cost up to $30,000.
Dr Howe said adoption processes should take no more than one year.
“There are so many children needing stable, loving homes, and parents who cannot biologically conceive children,” she said.
Dr Howe said the reforming abortion laws had been slow in recent years because politicians “are afraid of making a mistake”.
She said WFA found 25 per cent of pregnancies ended in abortion and that adoption was clearly not seen as a viable option.
She said adoption is “unequivocally a more positive option to abortion”.
“We know that abortion adversely effects a women mentally, physically, and emotionally, and we know that through an abortion a baby also dies,” she said.
“It’s about support for pregnant mothers, as any pregnancy puts a woman in a vulnerable situation.”