We write today to request that the Senate Rules Committee not take up and consider S5964.
S5964 is an amended version of H2901 (now H2901A), a bill that would have restored the right of all adopted adults born in the State of New York to access their original birth certificates (OBC) with no restrictions or redactions.
S5964/H2901A is not a matter of clean- up language or simple additions or subtractions. Instead it strips the original bill and adoptees of their right of OBC access, replacing it with a highly bureaucratized system of court orders, permission slips, and fiscal irresponsibility that infantilizes and restricts the rights of New York’s adopted adults. Incredibly, it mandates that judges take into consideration the “feelings” of an adopted adult’s adoptive parents when deciding to release the OBC!
Another section mandates that the state track down the birthparents of adoptees who apply for their OBC, in order to get consent for their for release. According to the bill, even birthparents whose rights were terminated by the courts for abuse and neglect would have the authority to stop the release of the OBC.
Since no fiscal note is attached to pay for these searches, which we estimate at today’s going search rate would cost over $7 million the first year alone, either NYS taxpayers are expected to pony up or adopted adults will be forced to pay the state hundreds of dollars each to get permission to receive their own birth certificates—a right every not-adopted New York-born possesses free and clear without anyone’s permission.
S5964 has nothing in common with the original bill that adoptee rights activists, adoption reform advocates, adoption professionals, and social service agencies supported, endorsed and testified for this session in the Assembly.
S5964 has nothing in common with the bill that the Assembly Health Committee passed unanimously in February. It is the exact opposite of the original bill in meaning and intent.
S5964 is not a “first step,” as some proponents claim, in restoring the right of all New York-born adopted adults to access their own original birth certificates. Instead, it is the last nail in the coffin of any kind of adoptee rights in New York. It is a bill straight out of the 1950s–a gross violation of equal protection and due process. S5964 is anti-adoptee and anti-adoption, and its passage will make actual adoptee rights and adoption reform impossible in New York for decades.
We simply cannot comprehend why the State of New York would consider this restrictive archaic legislation at a time other states are opening OBCs to their own adopted adults. No adoptee rights and adoption reform organization in the United States support S5964 and its Assembly companion.
The determination of S5964 affects the lives of tens of thousands of New York State adopted adults and their families. Their rights and their restoration should not be taken lightly. Please do not take up S5964. . Do not consider it. Do not let it see the light of day. Thank you.
Marley E Greiner
Bastard Nation Mission Statement
Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the adoptee’s historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification, and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right. We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Bastard Nation does not support mandated mutual consent registries or intermediary systems in place of unconditional open records, nor any other system that is less than access on demand to the adult adoptee, without condition, and without qualification.