Can you sell a baby in the US?
February 5, 2014 5:44 PM   Subscribe

Researching for a story filter: Is there one federal US law that forbids selling babies/children? If so, can you point me to the law itself? Bonus points for information about which year this passed and what opposition the legislation faced. My story would concern a baby born in the 1950s, most likely.

If there is not one federal law, then are there multiple state laws? International law? Various laws that forbid other things without explicitly saying "you can't sell your kids"?

(please note I have no intention of selling my baby or any baby, even though a cursory look at my previous posts will tell you I am pregnant. Despite my extreme discomfort at being 8.5 months along, I say again: I have no intention of selling my baby but my curiosity was piqued by this story).
posted by mrfuga0 to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not a lawyer, but I would think the 13th amendment would cover it.
posted by tau_ceti at 5:52 PM on February 5, 2014 [5 favorites]

Here is someone answering the question as it pertains to North Carolina. The answer is, oddly, it depends on a few things what the crime is. According to Nolo, "it is illegal in any state to buy or sell a baby" but they do not go into specifics. There are also adoption fraud laws for people taking inappropriate adoption expenses which could also be a way to not allow people to sell their baby.
posted by jessamyn at 6:04 PM on February 5, 2014

AFAIK laws against baby selling are at the state level.
posted by BabeTheBlueOX at 6:05 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

See also Human trafficking in the United States and Child-selling.
posted by Aleyn at 6:06 PM on February 5, 2014

You may find useful material in (now-federal-judge) Richard Posner's (in)famous article, The Economics of the Baby Shortage.
posted by ewiar at 8:45 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you had some good sources for tabloids and trashy magazines from the 50s, you might find some tales of sketchy adoptions that were, effectively, baby selling. (Or, as in the case of Loretta Young and Clark Gable, concealing or at least creating a polite fiction to conceal illicit conception. )

Those could provide procedural ideas for your story.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 7:15 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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