Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest Adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full access for all adopted persons to their original birth certificates (OBC) without restriction.. HB 1137 is not an unrestricted bill and we oppose it.
Under current Missouri law, the original birth certificates of all Missouri Adoptees are sealed and cannot be released to the adoptee without a court order.
HB 1137 reinforces outdated adoption secrecy present in the current law. It includes the misnamed “contact preference form”which enables biological parents, upon request, to prohibit the state from releasing to the OBC. A genuine “contact preference form”as Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island have enacted permits a biological parent to state a preference regarding contact, with the adoptee, with no legal ramifications. The “contract preference form “in HB1137, is simply a softer name for the “affidavit of nondisclosure form” in current law, and continues to let third parties legally bar the adoptee from receiving the OBC—a privilege or “special right” that no third party, not even a parent, can evoke against the not-adopted.
Adopted adults, especially since 9/11, are increasingly denied passports, driver’s licenses, pensions, Social Security benefits, professional certifications, security clearances and other entitlements due to discrepancies on their amended birth certificates, and their inability to produce an original birth certificate to answer the problems.
Adoptees without a genuine original birth record could soon be barred from running for public office. At least 10 states, including Missouri (HB 283; ss Lyle Rowland, Mike Kelly) have introduced legislation requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to present their original birth certificates to appropriate authorities to prove citizenship eligibility for office. Some of these bills go farther, mandating anyone running for office to prove citizenship through an original birth certificate. It is no stretch to think that someday soon adoptees could be barred from voting due to lack of “legal” identity over problematical amended birth certificates, and the perpetual sealing of the originals.
Kansas and Alaska have never sealed original birth certificates. Since 1999 five states have restored to adoptees the unrestricted right to records and identity access: Oregon through ballot initiative, and Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island through legislation. No statistics are available for Kansas and Alaska, but approximately 17,000 OBCs in the former states have been released with no reported consequences. (Rhode Island won't open until July 1, 2012)
Rights are for all citizens, not favors doled out to some. Missouri does not segregate rights by religion, ethnicity, age, or gender. It should not segregate rights by birth, adoptive status, or third party “preference.”
Submitted by Marley Greiner
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee rights organization
January 25, 2012