Here is the letter Bastard Nation sent to the Texas House Committee on Public Health regarding HB 4470 and SB 499. We called for instructions to submit written testimony and learned that the legislature will only take in-person testimony. In other words, if an individual or organization wants their testimony on any bill to be on the record they may have to make an 8 hour drive or fly to Austin. And forget about faxing. It clogs up their machines and takes too much time. Please email! (See previous action alert for details)
HB 4470 and SB 499 appear to be the handiwork of the so-called adoption reform organization TxCare. (webpage out of date.) So don’t‘ blame it all on the adoption industry.
BASTARD NATION: THE ADOPTEE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
P.O. Box 1409
Edmond, OK 73083-1409
Phone/Fax (415) 479-3741
May 4, 2009
Re: HB 4470 and SB 499
Texas State Legislature
House of Representatives
Committee on Public Health
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization, the largest adoptee rights group in North America, opposes HB 4470 AND SB 499. We advocate for full restoration of rights to unconditional access to original birth certificates for 100% of adopted adults. HBs 4470 and SB 499 won’t get this job done!
The two bills are different with issuing adopted adults their original birth certificates now; however, both are extremely restrictive and demeaning to adopted men and women.
In the House bill, the state registrar may, if resources allow, on request provide to a person who was adopted before January 1, 2010, a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate only if an adopted person’s birth parent has filed a contact preference form with the state registrar authorizing the release of a noncertified copy of the person’s original birth certificate.
In the Senate bill, an adopted adult can receive an original birth certificate now if he/she knows the identity of each parent on the original birth certificate, without obtaining a court order.
Both bills contain disclosure vetoes and contact vetoes designed to keep many adoptees from ever receiving their original birth certificate. These veto sections will be prospective beginning January 1, 2010. The vetoes will keep yet another generation of adoptees, their state-held information, and their personal relationships in the hands of the state, rather than with the individuals involved. No other group of citizens in the State of Texas must have a parent’s permission to obtain an original birth certificate.
Relinquishment documents signed by birth mothers are legally irrevocable. At the time of relinquishment, birth mothers gave up all legal rights to their offspring – forever. These bills would cause unnecessary and intrusive hurdles for adoptees without legal justification.
A genuine contact preference form, as created in Oregon, is non-binding. It never contains a disclosure or contact veto or any other restriction to the issuing of an original birth certificate to any adopted adult who requests it.
These two bills have a new and disturbing section which contains mandatory postadoption counseling for adoptee and birth mother before an original birth certificate will be issued. The bills require verification of the counseling “in a form satisfactory to the state registrar.” This provision puts the final decision of issuance of an original birth certificate into the hands of the state registrar, which arguably could be considered a most arbitrary method of issuing birth certificates.
Adopted adults need legislation that will put them on a par with all non-adopted citizens of the state. They do not want to be treated differently because of the circumstances surrounding their birth.
Please vote NO to HB 4470 and SB 499. Start all over again with a true adoptee rights bill – not a birth mother rights bill. A good adoptee rights bill gives all adopted adults the right to request and receive their original birth certificate, unconditionally and without any falsifications.
Thank you for your consideration.
Anita Walker Field, Secretary
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Marley Greiner, Chair
Anita Walker Field, Secretary
Patricia Marler, Treasurer
Nina Greeley, Member
Peter Kristian Mose, Member
Marla Paul, Member