Contact vetoes can subject adoptees to civil and criminal penalties should they violate them. Ambiguity in the language of HB 984 could penalize adoptees who make contact with their biological parents, even if no contact veto is on file. The bill also fails to define contact, leaving adoptees even more vulnerable to potential punitive consequences should they attempt to contact any members of their birth family, even those who might well welcome it. This infringement on an adoptee’s right to freely associate strips all adoptees of dignity.
IMMEDIATELY write the members of the Texas State Senate to strongly urge them to “Do NOT Pass” HB 984. Write (TEMPLATE BELOW) and email lawmakers (CONTACT INFO BELOW) to urge them to stop the bill on the Senate Floor.
SUBJECT: Do NOT Pass HB 984
RE: HB 984
POSITION: VOTE NO
To the Honorable Members of the Texas State Senate,
I write today to STRONGLY URGE your Do NOT Pass vote on HB 984. I thank the author, Rep. Joe Deshotel, and sponsor, Sen. Brandon Creighton, for their efforts to introduce a bill with access rights for adult adoptees to their own original birth certificate. Unfortunately, the bill, in both Section 2 and Section 3, includes a Contact Veto in the guise of a “Contact Preference Form”. In reality, this language is an abomination of law born out of Oregon, and upheld by the State Supreme Court. Oregon’s Contact Preference Form language is law in Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island. HB 984 instead places an affirmative right to “not authorize” contact with and by a birth parent. Texas already has laws in place preventing an individual from stalking or harassing another. By singling out adoptees and creating what is essentially a restraining order without due process or cause, HB 984 unfairly and wrongly discriminates against adoptees. Moreover the vagueness of the language and terms surrounding the veto is likely to create bureaucratic confusion and abuse in enforcement of the veto.
I STRONGLY URGE YOUR NO VOTE ON HB 984. Thank you for your time and service.
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