Indiana SB 352: The Non-Access Bill by Guest Blogger Lisa Zatonsky

humpty dumptyWhile I was forced to the sidelines, a lot of so-called “access” bills made their way into various state legislatures. The worse is the terribly written Indiana SB 352. Promoted by babystep deformers Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR) , “adoptee rights bill,” SB 352 extended the state’s disclosure veto, added a contact veto (sorta), limited access of information between siblings, dismantled the state’s reunion registry, neglected to define” identifying information” and most critically, did not mention much less unseal and release–restricted or unrestricted– the original birth certificate.

Did supporters even read the bill?

After much hoopla on the coming restoration of adoptee rights in Indiana the bill was tabled and will soon die the death it deserves.

Incredibly, this death is heralded by much of AdoptionLand as a tragedy.

Sorry folks. That this farce, which doesn’t even come up to deform standards, received play by so-called “activists” is the real tragedy.

Bastard Nation with its partners Indiana Open Acess and CalOpen were instrumental in exposing this farce and helping it to the graveyard. (Special thanks to Shea Grimm, Jean Ulrich and Lisa Zatonsky.) BN’s emergency action alert with details about the bill is here.

Below is guest commentary on SB 352 by Indiana Open Access’ Lisa Zatonsky

IOAAdvertised as an access bill that included a Contact Preference Form, SB 352 was everything but… It was an attempt to equal the tiers on information available from the State Registry for those born prior to January 1, 1994 and those born after. On the surface, the bill used the State Registry as an intermediary while allowing the biological parent(s) to add an additional disclosure veto on all information found in the Registry and on pre-adoptive sibling contact information. The disclosure vetoes would remain effective even after the biological parents were deceased. As if the mutual consent aspect of the Registry requiring both the biological parent(s) and the adoptee to be registered before information may be released isn’t a big enough access hurdle? Repeatedly, SB 352 names the disclosure vetoes as a “non-release of contact information form”. A Contact Preference Form, along with its exact wording, is not in the bill. Yet, the terms and their names were interchanged by those presenting the bill to individuals, media, and legislators.

In actuality, the bill was riddled with errors, omissions, ambiguity, and either current or potential due process violations. For example, the numerous “minor errors” included things such as the bill using the wording of existing statute codes instead of the code numbers. These errors and omissions would mean adoptees and biological parent(s) would be held to the standard found in the access law instead of any changes or amendments which may have happened to the wording found under the code number. The result? If the wording of the code number ever changed, it would be a violation of our due process rights.

More serious errors included Section 10 repealing the identifying information side of the Registry for those born prior to January 1, 1994 and then not correctly re-establishing another entry point for these adoptees. The bill did not even define what “identifying information” is. At no point in the bill, is the identifying information definition code listed nor does it state what is included as the “identifying information”. Even if the bill had stated exactly what was being released, where was it to be released from? The rubble that was the Registry?

In short, SB 352 was a non-access bill that dismantled the Registry and repeatedly violated both adoptee and/or the biological parent’s Rights.The bill’s “little errors” would be considered major bill writing catastrophes in most legislation. Attempts were made at amending the bill. However, the only option to cleaning up the SB 352 mess was scrapping the bill and starting over. The bill simply had too many mistakes. The Indiana House Judiciary Committee was notified with the list of concerns which could not be fixed and with a request of “Do Not Pass”. Citing the current timing constraint with the Indiana General Assembly closing date approaching, SB 352 was officially tabled.

It was a monster that needed killed.

Lisa ZLisa Zatonsky is an Indiana adoptee who resides in the southern part of the state.

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