June 2003 Vol.1 No. 3
GEORGIA - SOOO CLOSE!
Executive members Donna Martz and David Ansardi traveled to Atlanta the day before the Georgia House of Representatives was to vote on SB 192. Their trip was a culmination of Bastard Nation efforts aimed at helping pass Georgia SB 192, an adoption registry bill that contained a section that would give adopted adults unconditional access to their original birth certificates.
SB 192 had already unanimously passed the Senate and it moved successfully through the House Judicial and Rules Committees. The last hurdle would be a full vote by the House of Representatives.
After the bill was introduced in the House, Rep. Barry Fleming surprised nearly everyone when he rose to introduce an amendment calling for the deletion of the entire open records section. Six more representatives quickly took the floor to join Rep. Fleming in his opposition to the open records section of the bill. Their objections were right out of an NCFA plan book.
Rep. Fleming's amendment was put to a vote. The Georgia House of Representatives voted 117 - 47 to pass Rep. Fleming's amendment. The Senate sponsor of the bill was willing to take the issue to a conference committee to attempt to rescue the open records provisions, but the local reform group chose not to pursue that option. Instead, the open records section of SB-192 was completely removed, while sections enhancing the existing state registry program were retained. This bill was signed into law by the governor, thereby continuing the current system which requires the state of Georgia to broker personal contact for adopted adults who request their own vital information.
Georgia adoptees lost a hard fought battle for unconditional access to the government held documents about themselves. Equal rights for adopted men and women were stomped upon once again.
GEORGIA - AFTER THE VOTE
Marley Greiner, Bastard Nation Executive Chair, was a guest on the Linda Hammer Radio Show to discuss the disaster in the Georgia House of Representatives. Rep. Barry Fleming, R-GA, the legislator who introduced the last minute amendment to gut the open records section from Georgia's SB 192, was the other guest.
Rep. Fleming said he based his opposition to unsealing records on "promises" made to birth mothers. He also raised what he considered to be an acceptable alternate solution to unsealing original birth documents. If adoptees want their original birth certificates, all they have to do is go to court.
"Not so easy!" replied Marley Greiner. She outlined the requirements for petitioning the court, gathered from several judicial districts in Georgia. These requirements included petitions, special fees, waiting periods, and in most districts polled the adoptee would need to hire an attorney. And then there is no assurance that the judge will even decide in the adoptee's favor.
Marley repeatedly pointed out to Rep. Fleming that restrictions such as going to court hold adult adoptees to a different standard of rights than the non-adopted. But the lawmaker just didn't see it that way. He still believed that adult adoptees do not have "equal standing" in their own adoption because they were adopted.
It is important to mention that Rep. Fleming is an adoptive father and seems to be fearful that his children will go looking for their birth parents and he will be left in the past.
BATON ROUGE: Louisiana Adoption Advocates Report In
Louisiana's SB 941, a bill to unseal adult adoptees' original birth documents, died in the Senate Judiciary committee (4 votes to 1). Reports from LAA members prove their dedication to the cause and their optimism for next year!
Bastard National and LAA leader Kenny Tucker said, "We actually GOT one vote. We actually reached one of the senators who finally 'got it,' and grilled the @#?@! out of the opposition.
"Our attendance was 16: Three adoptees, one birthmother and one adoptive mother spoke. Opposition only had 3 speakers.
"The opposition's arguments (same ole, same ole -- no surprise there) did not necessarily fly with the committee. The senator who obviously got it kept the opposition squirming like live crabs stuck in a Kajun Kooker.
"Our sponsoring senator, Senator Lynn Dean, did a fine job, in general, and for a 79-year-old maverick, he outperformed men half his age. He was sincere, passionate, courteous to ALL of us. High marks for his sponsorship!
"Our next 2 times at bat are 2004 & 2006. We feel like we are continuing to chip away at this archaic ice sculpture (even if our tools are rusty little bottle openers). We'll keep plugging away."
Louisiana Adoption Advocates: http://laa.digimarkz.com/01/
"SHOW ME" STATE AGAIN FAILS ADULT ADOPTEES
The Missouri Legislature has once again voted down an open records bill. SB 322, sponsored by Senator Rita Days, failed to pass the Senate Financial and Governmental Organization, Veterans' Affairs & Election Committee. This bill would have allowed adult adoptees to unconditionally access their original birth certificates.
Bastard Nation commends Carol Kurtz, Lindsay Woodside, and all their supporters in Missouri for not accepting any restrictions to the bill in order to get it passed. They are valiantly fighting for unconditional access only and we salute them! Both Carol and Lindsay tell us they'll be back in 2004!
Missouri Open: http://www.bastards.org/alert/il-alert.html
NAME THAT BIRTH MOTHER! WIN A PRIZE!
TxCare, the Texas Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education, has supported Texas HB 2979, a most egregious bill that would give access to birth certificates to those adults who can name their birth parents as the names appear on the certificate. TxCare claims that this is one small step in the larger process of winning equal rights for all adult adoptees.
Bastard Nation knows this isn't true and vigorously opposes this bill. This restriction is denigrating to adoptees and is in complete violation of their civil and human right to access their own birth information held by the state. Adding new conditions to access will lengthen, not shorten, the path to securing adoptees' right to know.
ONTARIO ADOPTEES LOCATING BIRTH PARENTS COULD FACE $100,000 FINES
Legislators in Canada and the United States keep inventing new fun ways to denigrate adoptees. Ontario's Bill 60, a private member's bill, will reach second reading in the Ontario Legislature on June 12, 2003. This bill purports to open records to adoptees, but contains a disclosure veto, a $100,000 fine if adoptees do not comply with the contact veto outlined in the bill, and sets forth conditions which make current search and reunion methods ILLEGAL.
Bill 60 PROHIBITS the adoptee from making contact with birth parents unless they get their identifying information from the government, either under Bill 60 or through the Adoption Disclosure Registry. Both of these scenarios give the birth parent a disclosure veto. The maximum fine for contacting a birth parent without getting identifying information from the government is an OUTRAGEOUS $100,000.
JUST IMAGINE! Under Bill 60 adoptees could be fined up to $100,000 if their adoptive parents gave them the names of their birth parents and that was the only information they used to contact the birth parents. Adoptees could also be fined if they used only non-identifying information to complete a search and make contact.
Bastard Nation Executive Member Natalie Proctor Servant, together with members of The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers, will be in the capital on June 12th to lobby against Bill 60.
MOTHER, MAY I??!!??
In Alberta, Canada, a broad child welfare bill, AB 24, is being considered. It includes two sections on disclosure, both of which are predicated upon parental permission.
Not only does this bill grant birth mothers a disclosure veto, it adds a new component to the mix. Section 74.2 (9) would allow adoptive parents to register a veto against their adult children, thus keeping them from accessing their original birth documents. Believe it or not, this amendment was proposed to help adoptive parents who have kept the adoption a secret from their children.
Bastard Nation is opposing the bill as written. We support a "Contact Preference Form" in place of the birth parent disclosure veto. We believe this is a sensitive and caring way to permit birth parents to convey their feelings to their adopted children yet it does not infringe upon the adopted adult's right to his or her original birth documents.
Bastard Nation vehemently opposes the adoptive parent veto and believes it must be entirely deleted from the bill.
Executive Committee member Natalie Proctor Servant will be speaking on "Adoption Searchers and Libraries" with Marilyn Waugh at the American & Canadian Library Associations Conference to be held in Toronto in June. http://www.cla.ca/conference/cla-ala2003/highlights.htm
BASTARD NATION - They're Singing Our Song!
Rolling Stone Magazine
INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Make Bastard Nation's Media Room your first stop when looking for
succinct and precise information about every aspect of unconditional open
Where The Action Is
PEOPLE ARE TALKING...
"I have a few comments on this particular bill [Assembly Bill 24] that
I would like to share with the Assembly, and they are e-mails I got from
persons who were interested in the part of the bill that talks about
opening up adoption records. I think it is important to share with the
House what was said, because this is the first time in my experience that
a bill in this Legislature has drawn so much attention from out of
New York, New York
"This is one of the big problems with money and adoption -- it breeds a
sense of entitlement."
"No doubt, you will receive a number of emotional messages [regarding
Georgia SB 192] from adult adopted persons who demand the right to
unilaterally identify and contact their former relations without consent.
Please be advised that they are a very small, but vocal, minority. The
vast majority of adult adopted persons do not identify with their demands.
They are content in their forever families, their adoptive families, and
would never think of imposing themselves unilaterally."
"To the owners of this [Bastard Nation] website: I want to let you know
how great your website is for those that need the support you provide. I
have never been more disgusted with the adoption information that has been
provided to me. I was under the impression that once you turned 21 you
were of legal age. I thought that when I turned 21 I had rights....how
wrong I was, I might as well be 12 yrs old for the rights I
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Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2003 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
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