Saturday, February 19, 2011

RHODE ISLAND: Good News! Clean OBC Bill Introduced

While Indiana piddles along the road to adoptee serfdom (apologies to Friedrich Hayek!) Rhode Island activists tread the road to liberty. On February 16, Representatives Carnevale, Mattiello, Hearn,Ucci, and Marcello introduced H5453, a short and sweet bill to restore OBC access to all Rhode Island's adoptees with no restriction. The bill is backed by long-time Rhode Island activists, Rhode Island Access. RIA is not to be confused with the amateur muck-abouts who created last year's deformist debaclethat ended in the passage of the fox in the hen house H7877 which took the veto where no man has gone before, and consideration of S2759 which took man even further. Don't remember the details? Here's a refresher from my May 13 2010 blog:

The bill (H7877), framed in deformer NewSpeak as a records access and adoptee rights measure, creates a " do not release" option (a nice name for disclosure veto) for families of origin--in this case not only a parent, but a parent or sibling of a deceased parent-- to keep their Family Bastard de-identied and at bay. The Senate's close companion SB2759 extends the veto to the parent or sibling of a "permanently disabled " parent (no mention of proof or definition of "permanently disabled"). That is, to people who may have pressured the parent to surrender their shameful secret into the secret adoption mill to start with. Hen meet Fox.

Fortunately, the legislature ended before any more harm could be done.

You can read more about last year's clusterfuck here and here.

Longtime Rhode Island Access activist Nancy Horgan is optimistic about the H5453 passage. She wrote on Facebook:

We are very optimistic for 2011 House support. The 75 member RI House passed an unrestricted access bill in 2009 and we'll be seeking their continued support on this issue. Positive letters to our sponsor Rep-Carnevale@rilin.state.

The organization is currently looking for Senate sponsors.

In a legislative season overrun with compromise, mendacity, and gutlessness, we are delighted to find this gem of a bill that has a fighting chance to restore the Free State of Rhode Island.

Cross posted to Bastard Nation blog

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

INDIANA: SB 469 More Compromise

Currently, Indiana has two access bills in the hopper. HB 1201 is a convoluted, incomprehensible eye-burning mess that must have been written by a random bill generator. It seems to have something to do with access, but the several of us who have read it are not sure what. SB 469 is a different story. The bill seeks to expand backwards the state's OBC access law to cover pre-1994 adoptees. The only problem is that (1) the current law, although it allows many adoptees to access their OBCs, contains a disclosure veto, and (2) the new bill expands that veto backwards; thus, creating a significant pool of potential unworthies to be blacklisted by the state.

HB 469 is backed by the American Adoption Congress and other compromisers. Pam Kroskie, AAC Midwest Director wrote a glowing report on "our legislation," (HB 469) in the January 29, 2011 Bloomington Adoptive Families Examiner. She thanked deformers Adam Pertman (director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute), Mary Mason, Donnie Davis, Wendy Rowney (all AAC) and Judy Foster (president NJCares and AAC NJ State Rep) for their "terrific help." The February 2 Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University) included Kroskie and the AAC. AAC North Carolina State Rep Roberta McDonald, writing in the comments section, urged passage. Bastard Nation's Maya Lama, Toff Phillipo, and I urged defeat in the same section. On February 17, WTHR-TV (Indianapolis) broadcast a virtual commercial for adoption lawyer Steve Kirsch, who opposes HB 469, because it's not fair to "ruin one life." Kirsch, however, supports HB 1201 because is offers better "protection for all the parties"--though he doesnt explain how or why adoptees are protected from their their own information. For poor bastards unable to divvy up the $700 state CI fee, Kirsh generously offers to work pro bono and charge only the $140 court costs.

The Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee, on February 9, heard testimony on SB 469. Bastard Nation submitted testimony opposed to the bill, posted below. I decided not to post it until after the hearing because I did not want proponents to see what we had submitted before the hearing. According to Indiana Legislative Update, the bill is on hold until HB 1201 comes over from the House for a hearing.

Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee, February 9, 2011

SB 469: access to identifying information
for adoptees original birth certificate access


Privilege is the opposite of right

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted access for all adopted persons, upon request, of their own true, unaltered original birth certificates (OBC). We oppose HB 469.

Under current Indiana law, the original birth certificates* of those adopted before January 1, 1994 are sealed and cannot be released to the adoptee without a court order. Those adopted after that date can receive their OBCs without a court order-- unless a birthparent files a disclosure veto with the state. This disclosure veto carves out a special "right" for birthparents that no other parent has-- the "right" to bar the state from releasing the birth certificate to his or her own offspring.

This veto provision gives those birthparents who choose to use it, a vested right in state-guaranteed anonymity where none existed before and makes them immune from future changes in the law that would unseal all the state's OBCs.

This vested right for the few does not exist for pre-1994 birthparents. Unfortunately, HB 469 expands this onerous veto provision to cover pre-1994 adoptees whose records could be otherwise unsealed if this law passes. The bill does nothing to restore the absolute right of OBC access that Indiana adoptees, once enjoyed. Instead, the bill will continue to make adoptee access to their own birth certificates a state/birthparent conditioned privilege separate and unequal from the right enjoyed by Indiana's not adopted to receive their birth certificates without restriction. As long as a veto provision exists in Indiana law, Indiana adoptees will only receive favors, not rights.

For decades individuals and special interest groups opposed to adoptee OBC access have claimed that biological parents have been promised anonymity from their own offspring who were placed for adoption. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Courts have found that “birthparents do not have any legal expectation of anonymity.” (Doe v Sundquist, 943 F. Supp. 886, 893-94 (M.D. Tenn. 1996)) (06 F.3d 703, 705 (6th Cir. 1997)) (Does v Oregon, Summary Judgment Oregon State Court of Appeals) (Does v. State of Oregon, 164 Or.App. 543, 993 P.2d 833, 834 (1999)). Moreover, OBCs are sealed at the time of adoption finalization not surrender, and the birth certificate of any child not adopted is left unsealed and available to him or her. If an adoption is disrupted or overturned, the birth certificate is unsealed.

Adopted adults, especially since 9/11, are increasingly denied passports, drivers licenses, pensions, Social Security benefits, professional certifications, and security clearances due discrepancies on their amended birth certificates, and their inability to produce an original birth certificate to answer the problems. Indiana is one of 11 states currently considering a law to require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to present proof of citizenship through birth certificates. Indiana's proposal, SB 114, sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph and currently in the Elections Committee, requires that "a certified copy of each nominee's birth certificate, including any other documentation necessary to establish that the nominee meets qualifications" to appear on the ballot.

Kansas and Alaska have never sealed original birth certificates. Since 1999 four states have restored to adoptees the unrestricted right to records and identity access: Oregon through ballot initiative, and Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine through legislation. No statistics are available for Kansas and Alaska, but approximately 17,000 OBCs in the latter four states have been released with no reported ill consequences.

Rights are for all citizens, not favors doled out to some Indiana does not segregate rights by religion, ethnicity, age, or gender. It should not segregate rights by birth, adoptive status, or parental preference.

Vote DO NOT PASS on SB 469. All of Indiana's adoptees must enjoy equal protection, due process, and dignity. Indiana adoptees deserve better than SB 469!

Submitted by Marley Greiner
Submitted February 8, 2011
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: the adoptee rights organization

*We are unclear about the meaning of "adoption record" listed in SB 469. Bastard Nation supports to release of the OBC, adoption decree, and other court-held documents pertaining to the adoptee.

Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the adoptee's historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification, and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right. We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Bastard Nation does not support mandated mutual consent registries or intermediary systems in place of unconditional open records, nor any other system that is less than access on demand to the adult adoptee, without condition, and without qualification.

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Cross-posted from the Daily Bastardette

Monday, February 14, 2011

Oregon HB 2843: Great News from Oregon!

The best valentine ever!

Please spread the word!

Helen Hill posted this news about 5 minutes ago on Facebook:


I just got a call from the LA McGlone who told me they are NOT pursuing this bill. They did their research and are DROPPING THIS BILL! They are circling around to the Judiciary Committee to give them the heads up. The JC will NOT proceed without prompting from Hunt's office. McGLone said he was VERY GRATEFUL they didn't get slammed with emails, he sensed we were telling folks to hold off. He said thank you thank you thank you. They just wanted a little breathing room to see what this bill really meant, ramifications, etc. the info I brought in did that. They don't want to touch a hair on the head of this excellent piece of legislation!!!

In the last couple minutes Helen has added two more posts, which I'm including here:

THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR VIGILANCE AND FERVOR! Thanks especially to Ron Morgan who broke the story!!!

Back to your wonderful lives!
Helen Hill

In the last couple minutes Helen posted two new entries , which I'm including here.

It was great to know there was an army of excellent, schooled foot soldiers out there ready to go if we needed it! Thanks to all of you for letting this play out relatively peacefully.


If any of you wish, you can send position papers, stats, opinions of judges, legal precedence history, editorials, anything you wish for the file. Mark clearly: Information in favor of leaving Oregon's 1998 Measure 58 unchanged, or something like that. (There was a new M58 about a year ago, so be sure and specify the 1998 M58).


Thank you, Helen! Thank you, Ron! And thank you, all our wonderful Bastards and friends who were willing to fight for Measure 58. Thank you all for your positive work in this momentary"crisis." In a year of horrible compromise legislation our rights prevail!

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Important New Update on Oregon HB 2843: Clarification from Helen Hill.

Helen Hill has clarified what went down in Salem yesterday about HB 2843. (see blog directly below this). I'm quoting her entire post here so there are no questions:

TO BE CLEAR! I did not meet with Rep. Hunt... I had a very brief meeting with the outer office people, who told me Hunt (who is Speaker of the House, by the way) was floating this bill at the request of a constituent. Two of the office people said "you don't have to worry about this. it's not going anywhere" or something to that effect. I left some written info. I have a meeting at 1:45 this coming Tuesday with the legislative aid that is running with this. Ron Morgan is going to be there too, (YAY RON!) and any of you who are in the area and would like to come and discuss why this bill should be dropped, please do stop by Rep Hunt's office next Tuesday.

This is not the time for conspiracy theory. There is internet chatter that HB 2843 was induced by any number of factions: adoption agencies, intermediaries, searchers, churches, and money interests. Helen has been very clear that the bill, as far as she knows, came at the request, as do many bills, of a constituent.

Helen is the Measure 58 petitioner. Ron Morgan worked tirelessly on the ground during the M58 campaign. They know the political landscape well. Both are on the ground now to preserve our rights.

If you are an Oregon adoptee or have direct tie to Oregon feel free to contact Rep. Hunt and tell him how M58 has been good for you, your family, and for Oregon.

You can make comments on the bill here:

Read the Oregon Adoptee Rights Blog and join the list

Mary Hunt Peret's blog on the history original birth certificates is here.

The history of the M58 campaign is here.

Photo: by Bastardette taken in Portland, March 31, 2008, when I ran into her on the train.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Connecticut: Bastard Nation's Letter in Opposition to HB 890

Connecticut currently has two OBC access bills in the hopper. The first, HB 65 is a placeholder which has yet to be written. The second is HB 890 which would open OBCs prospectively for adoptees 21 years old and older adopted after January 2, 2012 contains a disclosure veto. HB 890 is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow before the legislature's Select Committee on Children. We sent this letter opposing the bill to committee members this afternoon:

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization, is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted access for all adopted persons, upon request, of their own true, unaltered original birth certificates (OBC). We oppose HB 890, a bill that would prospectively the OBC to adoptees, with disclosure veto restrictions, to persons 21 years of age or older, whose adoptions were finalized on or after October 12, 2012.

This bill is scheduled to be heard tomorrow, February 8, 2011 by the Select Committee on Children.

Bastard Nation. opposes HB 890, and urges you to vote Do Not Pass.

HB 890 creates a nonsensical tiered discriminatory system of OBC access for Connecticut adoptees based on their date of birth, date of their adoption finalization,and their birthparent consent.

HB 890 ignores thousands of the state's adopted population who will still be unable to acquire their OBC, while at the same time creates a new class of adoptees not even born yet, who can acquire their OBCs unless their birthparent(s) object.

HB 890 creates a prospective new special "right" for birthparents that enables them to bar their adult offspring from acquiring their own birth certificates, a right that no other parent has.

In sum, HB 890 reinforces out-dated adoption secrecy. It does nothing to restore the right of unrestricted OBC access that all Connecticut adoptees enjoyed until 1974. It makes adoptee access to their own birth certificates a state/birthparent conditioned privilege separate and unequal from the right enjoyed by Connecticut's not adopted who can acquire their own birth certificates unhindered.

Please vote DO NOT PASS on HB 890, and support a bill that mandates equal OBC access, without conditions, to all Connecticut adoptees, past, present, and future.

Sincerely yours,

Marley E. Greiner
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization