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Bastard Nation Testimony: Massachusetts S 1195 and H 1163. DO PASS!

May 19, 2017 News No Comments

Bastard Nation Submitted Testimony

Submitted by Marley E Greiner, Executive Chair  

S 1195 and H 1163

Joint Committee on Public Health

May 16, 2017

IN SUPPORT

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support only full unrestricted access for all adopted persons, to their original birth certificates (OBC). We do not support any restrictions such as the Affidavit of Non-Disclosure, Disclosure Vetoes (DV), Contact Vetoes (CV), white-outs, or any other form of restricted access to a true copy of the original birth certificate.

We support the passage of S 1195 and H 1163 as written, and urge it be voted out of the Joint Committee on Public Health.

Current Massachusetts law allows adoptees to access their original birth certificates without condition at age 18 if they were adopted on or before July 17, 1974 or on or after January 1, 2008.

Proposed S 1195 and its companion, H 1163, possibly the shortest and easiest to understand adoptee access bill ever, reads as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 2B of chapter 46 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 3 and 4, the words “on or before July 17, 1974 or on or after January 1, 2008”.

SECTION 2. Said section 2B of chapter 46, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 6, the words “on or after January 1, 2008”.

In other words, the bills remove the” black hole” and give all adult Massachusetts adoptees their OBCs, without restriction,condition, or redaction. 

Eleven years ago Bastard Nation was closely involved in the SB 959 campaign That bill would have restored the right of all Massachusetts-born adopted adults to unrestricted access their own original birth certificates upon request. I personally came to Boston for a few days, walked the halls, and testified on behalf of that bill before the Joint Committee on Children and Families. Talking to legislators and their aides I was assured that it would pass out of the committee as a clean bill. “It’s a no brainer”was a phrase I heard repeatedly. Judging from my discussions and the reaction of committee members during the hearing, I left Boston confident that that bill had a good chance of passing not only out of the committee but by the legislature. Massachusetts would join the list of states that returned its adoptees to equal legal status.

Yet after months of bickering, debate and delay—little of which was made public or explained to adoptee rights activists– a compromise bill was passed that split Massachusetts adoptees into two classes The Haves: born on or before July 17, 1974 and on or after January 1, 2008 would share equal rights with the state’s not-adopted through unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. The Have Nots born between those dates could not. Illogically, simply through an accident of date-of- birth, The Have Nots found themselves and their publicly held birth certificates tossed into a black hole along with their right to equal treatment and due process.

The State of Massachusetts has the opportunity now to right that grave wrong done to its adopted population nearly a decade ago. It has a chance to “level the playing field” and make the rights of all the state’s adopted citizens—not just some– equal to the not-adopted and equal within their own adoptive status.

Do the right thing! Support. S 1195 and H 1163. Vote DO PASS on these companion bills–with no restrictive and conditional amendments added.

All Massachusetts adoptees should be treated equal under law. Passage out of the Joint Committee on Public Health is the first step to the logic and equality all adoptees deserve and once enjoyed in Massachusetts.

Thank you.

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.

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See our state partners:

See our state partners:

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Michigan Open Access

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Missouri Open

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Equal Access Oklahoma

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

Any political organization seeking to enact true open records legislation should be very clear with both their constituents and the legislators they work with about what the essential provisions of the proposed bill are. Any modification or deletion of the essential provisions of a bill should be immediate cause to have the bill killed.

Any political organization seeking the assistance of Bastard Nation to pass open records legislation must hold unconditional access by adult adoptees to the original record of their birth as an essential provision that cannot be modified or deleted. Read our Mission Statement.

Bastard Nation will not assist any political organization to pass open records legislation unless their governing board or other leadership

passes a written resolution such as the following that commits the board to a strategy of no compromise on key provisions
informs its constituents of this commitment and this strategy
informs the sponsoring legislators of this commitment and this strategy.

WHEREAS we recognize that disclosure and contact vetoes, redactions, mandatory intermediaries and registry provisions are an affront to the dignity of adopted persons everywhere and a violation of their right to due process and equal treatment under the law,

WHEREAS there has been a demonstrable negative effect on the ability to pass unconditional open records in states that have passed veto legislation and/or any provisions that are less than unconditional access on demand by the adult adoptee,

WHEREAS our primary goal is to restore the right of adult adoptees everywhere to be treated as full citizens under the law,

WE HEREBY DECLARE that under no circumstances will we accept the addition of veto, redaction, intermediary, or registry provisions, or any conditional provisions to our legislation that would be less than unconditional access for adult adoptees to the original record of their birth. All legislative sponsors and members of this organization will be informed of our policy on this matter to ensure that the bill is pulled promptly in the event of such revisions.

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