April 2006        Vol. 1 No. 21
Please forward and redistribute by print or e-mail. Help spread the word!
A WITCHíS BREW IN NEW ENGLAND
Bastard Nation sent letters to members of the Joint Judiciary Committee, both before the hearing in February and again during their work session. We supported Representative Davisí bill wholeheartedly throughout the legislative process.
However, several members of the Joint Judiciary Committee do not support Representative Davisí bill - Representative Pelletier-Simpson and Senator Faircloth. Each one wrote amendments to the bill which added restrictions to adopteesí access.
Our resources gave us this latest run down on the amendments:
Rep. Pelletier-Simpson- 6 votes. Her amendment removes the provision for adoptee access prior to August 8, 1953. It also is prospective and has a disclosure veto.
Senator Faircloth, with 2 votes, wrote an amendment that prospectively allows adoptees unrestricted access upon reaching the age of 40. His amendment also contains most of the other restrictive provisions in Rep. Pelletier-Simpsonís amendment.
We did the arithmetic and things looked mighty grim for Rep. Davisí original bill.
Bastard Nation deduced that if 3 different amendments came out of the committee, the one with the most supporters would be the one to be voted upon first - Rep. Pelletier-Simpsonís amendment. Our fear is great that Rep. Pelletier-Simpsonís amended bill will pass the house. If it does, what would be the need of even bringing up the other two amendments?
It would be a disaster if any one of the conditions in either Representative Pelletier-Simpsonsís or Senator Fairclothís amendments were to pass. Adoptees in Maine would be worse off than before this legislative session began. Therefore, on April 9th, Bastard Nation issued an Action Alert to kill the bill. We know that historically, restrictive bills are not readily revisited. Once a bill is encoded into the law, it stays there for many years. Our ďKill the BillĒ strategy is aimed at preventing a bad bill from being pased into law.
Word has it that amendments are being made to SB 959 which would change its intent completely. The latest committee amendments under consideration deal with changing SB 959 to a prospective action only. It would also add a disclosure veto and section requiring mandatory counseling.
The Joint Committee made changes to SB 0004, turning it into a prospective bill only. That is, only adoptees born after the bill takes effect would be eligible to request and receive their original birth certificates when they reach the age of majority. The Committee also added a disclosure veto.
Co-Sponsor William Finch wrote an impassioned letter to the Hartford Courant, explaining why this amendment would destroy the intent of the original bill.
SHOW ME STATE SAYS NO FOR 4TH TIME!
Missouri HB 1436 would allow an adopted person 18 years of age or older to receive a certified copy of his or her original birth certificate. The bill, co-sponsored by Representatives Connie "LaJoyce" Johnson and James Whorton, was sent to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A public hearing was completed on February 28, 2006. Another hearing was not scheduled and this bill is currently not on any calendar. It will remain in the Judiciary Committee until the end of the session which in reality means that this bill will effectively die in committee.
ONTARIO AT WORK ON BILL 183
Ontario is now in the 18-month period between Bill 183 passing and the law coming into force. Regulations are being written but are not yet finalized, so it is unclear whether or not non-identifying information will still be available or how the review board will determine whether or not a disclosure veto will be granted.
"Artist, reader, writer, healer, one who lives."
Craig Hickman is an adoptee living in reunion with his birth family since April 2001. Currently, he lives in Maine, but he was born and adopted in Wisconsin "where the laws are as rigid, archaic, and inhumane as those that governed slavery. Except there are even fewer routes to freedom."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK.
WHAT TURNED YOU FROM AN ADOPTEE INTO AN ADOPTEE-ACTIVIST?
WHERE IS THE OPEN-RECORDS MOVEMENT GOING TODAY?
The open records movement in Wisconsin is virtually a non movement at this time. The good news is in states such as New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut--all in New England (who'd have thunk it???)--the issue is on the table before legislatures. It seems that as more legislation around the country opens records, more states take up the cause. I'd have to give Bastard Nation credit with that.
IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHO ARE THE BIGGEST ENEMIES OF OPEN RECORDS TODAY?
CAN YOU TELL US ANY ANECDOTE OR UNUSUAL EXPERIENCE SINCE YOUíVE BECOME AN ACTIVIST?
And those opposed to open records are making sure the government continues its intrusion into the private lives of mothers who've surrendered their children to adoption and those who've been adopted. Well, it's just a sham, I tell you, a sham. To hear a woman like the Co-Chair of the Judiciary Committee in Maine, who was never raped, and never had a child stolen from her, utter how "deeply offended" she is that we just won't allow "these women" to move on with their lives is worse than nails on a chalkboard. The government needs to get the fuck out of the way and let grown people be grown and handle their own affairs. What a concept, eh?
Adoption remains the only institution in these here disUnited States other than slavery that keeps or has kept people from knowing their roots. Imagine that. Adoption; slavery. Adoption; slavery. Say it again and again and never forget it.
It took a war to bring about emancipation from one. What's it going to take to right the wrongs of the other?
MORE ABOUT CRAIG HICKMAN
REMINDER: BASTARD NATIONíS NEW ADDRESS:
Where The Action Is
EXTRA EXTRA: READ ALL ABOUT IT
ADOPTEES SHOULDNíT BE DENIED RIGHT TO IDENTITY
JANET ALLEN TO SENATOR FINCH: "JOIN THE GROWN-UPS TABLE"
DAILY BASTARDETTE NUMBER ONE!
Ms. Craft calls The Daily Bastardette:
ADOPTION IS NOT A REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ISSUE
GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP OF INTERNET USELESS
INTELLIGENCE REFORM & TERRORISM PREVENTION ACT
"Sometimes itís the small abuses scurrying below radar that reveal how profoundly the Bush administration has changed America in the name of national security. Buried within the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 is a regulation that bars most public access to birth and death certificates for 70 to 100 years. In much of the country, these records have long been invaluable tools for activists, lawyers, and reporters to uncover patterns of illness and pollution that officials miss or ignore."
COP-OUT OR AGE-OUT?
1) The COP-OUT Adoption system is two tiered: 1) birth certificates for all non-adoptees with no questions asked and 2) birth certificates for some adopted adults with plenty of questions asked. These two groups are treated differently when requesting their own public records based solely upon whether or not they were adopted. The COP-OUT system believes in discrimination, you see.
2) How do the states manage to cop out? Easy! They sanction laws with conditional legislation. Contact vetoes, disclosure vetoes, proactive clauses, confidential intermediary systems, registries - all conditional legislation. I like to call these restrictive laws the ":IF....THEN ACTS." They all have the same main ingredient. They all say: " IF...... your birth parent agrees.....THEN you can have your birth certificate.
3) All states have a constitutional and/or statutory responsibility to maintain and to issue birth certificates, upon request to those people whose births they record. But COP-OUT States sometimes slyly get around this duty. They pass it on to women whose only qualifications are that they once irrevocably relinquished their biological children to the state and to adoption. How "oxymoronic" is that?
4) COP-OUT states are cowardly. They are afraid of outside influences. COP-OUTS try to please everyone by spreading the rights all around. They say itís a nice thing to do. Maybe. But it is not the RIGHT thing to do.
1) In the AGE-OUT system, the state recognizes adopted adults as equal citizens. Thatís because AGE-OUT states donít believe in discrimination.
2) AGE-OUT states are courageous. They are not scaredy cats. They do not leave any adoptees behind.
3) In the AGE-OUT system, states understand that they no longer have any compelling interest in adults who were once children of adoption. The AGE-OUT states did good jobs of finding permanent adoptive homes for little homeless tots. But AGE-OUT States know that when all these little adoptees reach adulthood, itís time to cut the cord. And so they do. And why not?
4) Adopted adults in AGE-OUT states are treated as main stream citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as every other person living in the state. Adopted adults blend into the general population and are no longer considered by their state to be in any way different because they were adopted. Now this is really nice.
5) The AGE-OUT system says the same thing to adopted adults as it says to foster children who have reached the age of majority: " Here are your papers. Goodbye and good luck."
Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, New Hampshire and Oregon are AGE -OUT States. They are giving original birth certificates to all citizens who request them. They know itís the right thing to do and they arenít afraid to do it.
JOIN BASTARD NATION
Editors: Anita Walker Field and David C. Ansardi
c. 2006 Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Please share Byline: Bastard Nation with your friends and colleagues and with your other e-mail lists. Cross-posting is encouraged. You also have our enthusiastic permission to print out Byline: Bastard Nation and share it with those not on the internet.