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The phrase was not written by Supreme Court Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito. The line appears in the opinion draft as a footnote and came from a 2008 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document about adoption data.
The draft says the opinion was authored by Alito. It does not list Barrett as an author.
Following the Supreme Court draft opinion leak on Roe v. Wade, some social media users zeroed in on the document’s inclusion of an eyebrow-raising phrase: "domestic supply of infants."
Many falsely attributed the words to Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito, claiming that the two said the U.S. needed this "supply" of babies to meet the needs of people seeking to adopt.
"BREAKING: In a brief re abortion, Supreme court Justices Amy Coney Barrett/Alito's Draft, said US needs a ‘domestic supply of infants’ to meet needs of parents seeking to adopt — that those who would otherwise abort must be made to carry to term — giving children up for adoption," reads one post that’s been shared over 21,000 times on Twitter.
"Two judges on the highest bench in the land actually wrote this line ‘domestic supply of infants for adoption’ as justification for taking away a woman's right to control her own body," another post on Facebook said. "Actually wrote that line down, on paper, like it wasn't some insane Orwellian dystopia."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The draft opinion was authored by Alito, not Barrett, according to the document, which was first published by Politico. But the phrase referenced in the Facebook post appears in the opinion as a footnote and wasn’t written by either justice. It was a quote from a 2008 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention document about adoption data.
The line, as it appears in the footnote, reads:
"Nearly 1 million women were seeking to adopt children in 2002 (i.e., they were in demand of a child), whereas the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted had become virtually nonexistent."
The CDC quote is cited on the page 34 of the leaked draft in a paragraph that lists arguments from those opposed to abortion. The citation is made after a sentence that reads that "a woman who puts her new- born up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home." It followed another paragraph on page 33 that summed up the beliefs of people who support abortion rights.
The opinion ends the section with this paragraph:
"Both sides make important policy arguments, but supporters of Roe and Casey must show that this Court has the authority to weigh those arguments and decide how abortion may be regulated in the States. They have failed to make that showing, and we thus return the power to weigh those arguments to the people and their elected representatives."
Viewing the CDC’s quote about infant supply in its full context shows that the line is emphasizing that babies put up for adoption will likely find families. It’s not claiming that birth rates need to increase, or that abortion should be outlawed, in order to meet high adoption demands.
Social media posts claim that Justices Alito and Barrett said the U.S. needs a "domestic supply of infants" for adoptive parents in their justification to overturn Roe v. Wade.
These aren’t the justices’ words. The line appears in the leaked opinion draft as a footnote and came from a 2008 CDC document about adoption data.
We rate these posts False.
Twitter post, May 7, 2022
Facebook post, May 7, 2022
Supreme Court Roe v. Wade draft opinion obtained by Politico, accessed May 10, 2022
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adoption Experiences of Women and Men and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women 18–44 Years of Age in the United States, 2002, Accessed May 10, 2022
Boston Globe, Amy Coney Barrett’s focus on ‘safe haven’ laws during Supreme Court abortion arguments draws attention, scrutiny, Dec. 3, 2021
Associated Press, Posts misattribute CDC quote in Supreme Court draft on abortion, May 9, 2022
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