Bastard Nation Action Alert: Indiana SB 91 – Oppose


You do NOT have to reside in Indiana to take part!

Senate Bill 91, sponsored by Senator Brent Steele, is scheduled for its first Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 13, 2016. Your urgent action is needed, now! Please, contact the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 91

Current State Law:

The birth certificate

IC 31-19-13-1 states that the court, adoptive parents or an adoptee may request a birth certificate not be sealed.

IC 31-19-13-4 If a decision to amend the birth certificate is made then each local health department seals the original birth certificate OR surrenders the original birth certificate to the State Health Department, as the Department directs.

IC 31-19-13-3 If an adoption is annulled or revoked then the original birth certificate is restored.

IC  31-19-13-2 A sealed original birth certificate may only be INSPECTED in accordance with IC 31-19-17 through 31-19-25.5


The Registry

 Indiana-born adoptees adopted on or after Jan. 1,1994 (and 21 or over) are required to join the Indiana Adoption Medical History Registry.  (IAMHR)  If ALL first parents listed on the original birth certificate (OBC)  join the registry with proof that they are who is listed on the obc, the adoptee will receive “identifying information.”  The adoptee does not, however, receive a copy of the obc. The adoptive parents of Indiana born adoptees adopted after Jan. 1, 1994 (and under 21)  are required to join the  Indiana IAMHR and all first parents listed on the obc  are required join the registry with proof that the parent is who is listed on the obc and without signing a Disclosure Veto (DV) to obtain access. Indiana-born adoptees born before Jan. 1, 1994 do not have access to the “identifying information”. In addition, Indiana-born adoptees born after Jan. 1, 1994 have access to pre-adoptive sibling information. Everyone who joins the registry must show proof of age (21 or older) or have an adult ( 21 or over) register in their place.

SB 91 link:


SB 91 Mandates:

Sections 1,5,6,14,15,21,23,24,25,27,- renames a DV (a non-release of information form) a Contact Preference Form (CPF) while not altering the meaning or intent of the DV

Section 13 states that all adoptees, over the age of 21, regardless when the adoption occurred will be held to the same law.

Section  16 repeals the old DV form.

Section 17 re-establishes the DV form and calls it a “CPF” and a “non-release form.” Subsection (c) states the biological parent may override a filed CPF/DV in writing by stating the CPF/DV is no longer effective, and subsection (d) states that the DV is removed when the parent dies unless the parent says the DV is to remain in effect.

Section 18 establishes the DV/CPF. Subsection (b) requires the biological parent registering to provide one item of identification (for verification) in order for the CPF/DV to be accepted by the State Registrar. Subsection (f) states that a CPF/DV will lapse if the biological parent is deceased unless the biological parent states the CPF/DV is to remain in effect after their death.

Section 26 repeals the law denying those born before Jan. 1,1994 access to the registry.

Section 27 allows the biological parents to place a CPF/DV on pre-adoptive sibling information when pre-adoptive siblings have joined the registry and indicated that contact and information sharing is mutually desired.

Section, 27, subsection 2 (c ), states that if the pre-adoptive sibling or the adoptee submits documented proof that the biological parent is deceased for each parent listed on the birth certificate then the State Registrar will release the information IF the biological parent has not signed a CPF/DV. Subsection (f)(2) (b) allows the biological parent to extend the CPF/DV until after they are deceased.

Bill Consequences:

All Indiana-born adoptees, over the age of 21 will be required to join the Indiana Adoption Medical History Registry to access “identifying information,” but no OBC would be released.. Those under 21,  are required to have their adoptive parents join the registry. All biological parents listed on the obc must join the registry and submit proof that they are who is listed on the obc. Once joined, the biological parent  has the option to sign a DV thatcan  extend past death. Neither the DV nor the CPF/DV distinguishes between “identifying information” released. That means either the biological parent releases ALL of the “identifying information” (including being able to “inspect” the obc) or they release none. The CPF/DV is effective even if pre-adoptive siblings indicated, upon registration, that they want contact with each other and not with the biological parent. If either biological parent indicates that information may not be released, the State Registrar will not release any information.

Sample email:

Honorable Senator,

Senate Bill 91 is scheduled to come before the Judiciary Committee for Hearing on January 13th.

Although I thank Senator Steele for sponsoring legislation that addresses adoptee access to their state-held birth records, I find SB 91 unacceptable.

SB 91  is not an adoptee rights bill. It does not align with original birth certificate (OBC) access laws of states that provide unrestricted and unconditional  OBC access.  It does not, in fact,  even allow the release of the the OBC, the keystone of any adoptee rights legislation.  Instead, it only allows for the release of  “identifying information” taken from the OBC and relating to circumstances involving the Indiana Adoption Medical Registry (IAMHR).

SB 91 expands an already burdensome requirement that the adoptee and parent(s) listed on the OBC sign on to the IAMHR to even obtain “identifying information,” a requirement that no genuine “open records” state requires for OBC access.  Qualifying for the registry and subsequently being “allowed” to view the OBC is not the same thing as releasing the OBC to adoptees. The registry requirement conflates search and reunion with an adoptee’s right to possess their original birth certificates.  Like the not adopted, access  and receipt of our own OBCs should not be predicated on what we intend to do with them. Access  should not automatically be assumed by the state to include contact with our birth families..

Moreover, a genuine OBC access law does not contain a Disclosure Veto now misnamed in SB 91 as a “non-disclosure statement/contact preference form. (CPF) A genuine CPF simply offers an option to a birthparent to state a preference for contact.  It does not stop the release of the OBC nor does the contact preference hold legal teeth.

Finally, there is no guarantee or promise of “anonymity” in the adoption process as courts have repeatedly ruled.  The OBC is sealed only upon adoption finalization  If a child is not adopted or the adoption is overturned or disrupted later ,the OBC is unsealed. Identifying information appears  in court records given to adoptive parents and in legal ads. In Indiana, if an adoptive parent requests the court to let the OBC remain open, it remains open.

I urge you to vote “NO!” on SB 91.


 Senate Judiciary Committee Email address (please, post in the BCC)

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