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Few Jewish Children Are Born out of Wedlock, New York Survey Shows

October 11, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jewish couples wishing to adopt children in the New York area face more difficulties than prospective adoptive parents who are Catholic or Protestants, according to a New York Times survey published today, dealing with religious laws and other factors influencing adoptions.

For each Jewish baby available for adoption, there are seven to eight Jewish applicants, the survey shows. However, that ratio applies only to white children. There is greater difficulty, the survey shows, in placing for adoption children born of a Jewish mother and a Negro father.

There are fewer Jewish white children offered for adoption, according to the survey, because "compared with Catholic and Protestant women, relatively few Jewish women give birth to children out of wedlock. An increasing number of childless Jewish couples are turning away from adoptive agencies to private adoption, because the agencies observe the State law which forbids a child to be placed with a family of a religion different from the child’s parents or different from that of the child’s mother.

New York law holds that, when practicable, a child must be placed only with persons of the religious faith preferred by its natural parents if they are married, or by its natural mother if the baby is born out of wedlock. Catholics insist on strict observance of that law. Some prospective adoptive parents who are Jewish object to that law, as do persons who practice Ethical Culture. Jewish law, however, also upholds the principle of the child belonging to the faith of the mother.

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