NOTE: You still have time to get your emails in! The floor vote was postponed until tomorrow afternoon.Go to the action alert below for contact information. It’s not too late to change South Dakota history!

The original HB 1223 was a clean bill that would permit all South Dakota adopted adults, without restriction, to obtain their original birth certificates (obc) upon request.

I would very much like to support HB 1223, but. unfortunately, a so-called “contact preference” amendment was added to the bill which not only corrupts and misnames what a genuine “contact preference” is, but guts the intent of the bill with what is in fact a “disclosure veto” that keeps specific obcs sealed.

A “contact preference” was introduced legislatively in Oregon after the 1999 passage of Ballot Measure 58 that restored adoptee rights in that state. Its purpose is to give a mechanism through the “contact preference form” for birthparents to communicate with the adoptee in a confidential manner, whether they were interested in contact and submit other personal information about themselves. Submission of the form is voluntary. The form is put into the adoptee’s state file and sent with the obc when and if the adoptee requests the obc. It holds no legal status and in no way keeps the adoptee from receiving his or her obc. The contact preference mechanism is included in Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine laws with specifications for the “contact preference form” included in the actual bill. South Dakota’s amendment not only misnames a disclosure veto” as a “contact preference” but doesn’t even include the mechanism by which it would be implemented.

This South Dakota disclosure veto cum “preference” permits a small number of birthparents to keep their adult offspring from accessing their own birth certificates–a right that no other parent or adult has over another adult. If passed with the “preference” amendment, this bill not only renders HB 1223 useless, but dangerous in that it continues the discriminatory sealed records system that, denies the right of South Dakota adoptees to their own state-held birth records, and pre-adoption identity. Historically, once this type of restriction is in place, legislatures do not revisit the issue. In affect, a veto under any name will create two tiers of adoptees in South Dakota: those worthy of their obcs and those who are not.

There are only two solutions to this miscarriage of justice:

(1) strike the amendment on the House floor

and if not:

(2) vote NO on the bill and let it die.

HB 1223 is a matter of rights, not a balancing of rights. Either we all, the adopted and no-adopted, have a right to our own birth certificates, or none of us do. Please don’t create a special right for some. Strike the amendment or kill the bill.

Marley Greiner
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: the adoptee rights organization

Home: 2562 Glen Echo Drive
Columbus, OH 432-2
Phone; 614-571-2999

I added a thank you to the sponsors.

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