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VI. Know Thine Enemies

The organized opposition to adoptee rights represents the full spectrum of mainstream political ideology in the United States, ranging from the far-right Christian conservatism of the Family Research Council to the left-liberalism of the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. In a political system where issues are usually framed in terms of conservatism and liberalism, what sense can we make of an opposition that cuts across these normally unbridgeable philosophical gulfs?

The enemies of adoptee rights fall into two basic categories, ideological and industrial. Ideological opposition comes from various state chapters of the ACLU and Right to Life, organizations that do not have a financial interest in adoption. Industrial opposition is represented primarily by the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) and other adoption agency fronts such as Concerned Adoption Professionals (a political action committee or PAC formed specifically to fight Oregon’s Ballot Measure 58 in 1998). There is much overlap in these two categories, and the industrial lobbyists hold an inordinate influence among the ideological opposition, which often parrots the rhetoric of the adoption industry without change or commentary.

Most ideological opposition organizes the debate around central issues which are actually peripheral to adoptee rights. Both Planned Parenthood and Right to Life oppose open records because they feel that access to or frequency of abortion will be affected by changes in the law. Planned Parenthood and other feminist organizations have asserted that permanently sealed records are a reproductive choice equivalent to the medical confidentiality of abortion. The state chapters of the ACLU that have come out against open records have used a tortured argument based on non-existent privacy rights that neither the general public nor legislators have taken very seriously. Concerted outreach and education is effective in neutralizing this opposition, both with the general public and within the oppositional organization itself.

The industrial opposition’s motivation is much more transparent — trade protection. In the years since Bastard Nation has shifted the discourse of adoptee rights from psychologically based pleas to straightforward assertions of civil rights, the rhetoric of the industrial opposition has shifted in reaction, revealing an honest apprehension of tort liability and systemic accountability.

The Christian Right possesses qualities of both categories. As ultraconservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and Family Research Council heavily promote adoption as a primary remedy to a gallery of perceived social ills, large constituency churches (including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Mormons]) and their auxiliary organizations, including church oriented social service agencies and crisis pregnancy centers, have entered the adoption industry to facilitate their theologically based social policies. Honing the existing rhetoric of the industrial lobbyists like the NCFA, these theological opponents of adoptee rights pose as our greatest potential opponents due to their extensive grassroots penetration and their enormous fundraising capabilities.

Other organizations that oppose open records are: The American Center for Law and Justice, The Christian Broadcasting Network, The American Life League, The National Right to Life Committee, The Christian Coalition, The Eagle Forum, The Family Research Council and Hear My Voice.

Our greatest ally in the continuing struggle for adoptee rights is the average citizen, whose common sense and basic understanding of fairness and equality are qualities we can count on for support.

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What does a BN Legislative Liaison do? They talk with lawmakers and their staff about adoptee rights and the laws that seal records. They distribute Bastard Nation position papers and FAQs to legislators and staff members. They record their conversations and report to the BN Legislative Committee.

They are organized, informed, friendly, helpful, and engaged.

What do you need to do to be a BN Legislative Liaison?

1. You need to live close to the capitol of your state.
2. You need to be able to appear friendly, even when talking with people who disagree with you or are just disagreeable, period.
3. You need to have a flexible schedule.
4. You need to agree with Bastard Nation’s mission: If you don’t know what that is, go to bastardnation.org, it’s right there on our welcome page.

Those are the prerequisites. If you are interested, click the picture of the capitol rotunda, and fill out the application form. We will be in touch and schedule an online orientation and training.

We look forward to working with you!

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Help us celebrate 20 years of bastardy! Bastard Nation is proud to announce the publication of "The Bastard Chronicles: 20 Years of Adoptee Equality Activism in the U.S.and the Birth of a Bastard Nation", Compiled and edited by Marla Paul, "The Bastard Chronicles" is primer for adoptee equality. It features a diverse collection of Bastard theory, and practice, Bastard and Bastard Nation history, legislative and political action, personal stories, art, and literature. It is the public face of Class Bastard written by Bastard Nationals and those we have influenced. Get yours in time for the holidays. Available at Amazon in print and Kindle today. (After the first of the year the print edition will also be available through the Bastard Boutique.

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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

Proud Bastard Nation Partner:  Michigan Open Access

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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