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Measure 58 Timeline

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November 6, 2000

Portland: To all those interested in Adoption Issues: Please join us this coming Monday, November 6th, at 7pm at Powell’s Books, downtown Portland, 10th and Burnside, for an evening with Adam Pertman, a journalist with the Boston Globe. Adam, an adoptive father and Pulitzer Prize nominee, was the first journalist to bring Oregon’s historic Measure 58 to national attention with his excellent front page article in the Boston Globe early in the campaign. He will be speaking and reading Monday evening from his newly published book “Adoption Nation”, a comprehensive, magnificent and long overdue book on the changing landscape of adoption politics and reform. Come join us to support this groundbreaking book and also, for a belated celebration of the final passage of Measure 58. See you there!

– Helen Hill, Chief Petitioner, Measure 58
For more information, call 503 368 5786

June 12, 2000

Today the full U.S. Supreme Court denied a renewed motion to stay Measure 58. The appeal was referred to the full court by Justice Thomas after Justice O’Connor refused to sign an emergency stay on May 30.
The Oregonian: Fight against Oregon’s adoption law appears over

June 1, 2000

The Oregonian: Adoption rights leader stumbled on the secret of her own adoption, interview with Helen Hill, Chief Petitioner for Measure 58.

May 31, 2000

News stories:

The Oregonian Op/Ed: Adoption case took a long time for a simple answer, by Roy Pulvers.

The Oregonian: Court hands adoptees big victory

The New Yourk Times: Oregon Adoptees Granted Access to Birth Records

USA Today: Ore. adoptees may see their certificates

The Washington Times: High court OKs Oregon adoption law

CNN: Justice O’Connor rejects last appeal to block Oregon adoption law

ABC News: Oregon Adoptees Win Right to Find Birth Parents

MSNBC: Oregon adoptees to get their birth records

CNN Today: Teller: Oregon Law Will Not Discourage Adoption

CNN Talkback Live (3pm EDT): Adoption Rights: Should Adoptees Have Access to Their Birth Records. Host Bobbie Battista interviews Delores Teller, Pam Hasegawa, William Pierce, Thomas McDermott and others about records access and adoption rights.

CNN Crossfire (7:30pm EDT): Open Access to Adoption Records? Do Adopted Kids [sic!] Have a Right to Learn About Their Roots?. Mary Matalin, William Pierce, Delores Teller.

NPR Morning Edition: Nancy Solomon interviews Dave Morgan, Delores Teller, and anonymous birthmother (RealAudio).

May 30, 2000

Supreme Court Justice O’Connor denies request to stay Measure 58.

Plaintiff’s attorney Franklin Hunsaker has appealed at the last minute to Justice Thomas, who has not responded yet. Although Court rules allow this, such moves are not favored, and would usually need a majority vote of the full court to be accepted.

Oregonian article: O’Connor rejects last appeal to block Oregon adoption law
AP newsflash: Oregon adoptees win court fight to track down their birth parents

An Oregonian editorial titled “One last day of secrecy” notes that the Oregon voters, the Oregon legislature, and the courts have all supported Measure 58, and lauds the new era of openness and honesty this measure brings to adoption process.

Measure 58 goes into effect tonight at 5:01 pm

May 25, 2000

An AP news story, Oregon Adoptees To Get Records, notes that unless the Supreme Court agrees to hear a constitutional challenge to Measure 58, the measure will go into effect on Tuesday May 30 at 5:01pm.

An Oregonian news story, Adoption law moves forward, notes the refusal of the Oregon Appeals Court to extend the stay, discusses the chances of the U.S. Supreme Court filing describes the preparations of the Department of Human Services to begin processing birth certificate requests next Wednesday May 31.

May 23, 2000

The Oregon Court of Appeals denied a motion by Hunsaker to extend a stay against Measure 58. Plaintiffs next step is to seek a stay from a justice of The U.S. Supreme Court to allow time to file an appeal there. All challenges to Measure 58 at the state level are exhausted.

May 19, 2000

Franklin Hunsaker filed a motion with the Oregon Court of Appeals to stay enforcement of Measure 58 until the U.S. Supreme Court can rule on the plaintiff’s petition for certiorari. The Appeals Court asked for opposing arguments to the motion from The Attorney General’s office and intervenors’ attorneys McDermott and Pulvers.
Adoption law may face further delay, The Oregonian

May 16, 2000

The Oregon Supreme Court today denied without comment a motion to reconsider its decision to let stand an appellate court ruling that upheld the legality of Measure 58. Yet another stay has been granted however until May 30 to allow the challengers of the measure to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Oregon high court again rejects adoption law plea, The Oregonian

May 2, 2000

The Oregon State Supreme Court has granted yet another stay while it considers a motion filed today by attorney Franklin Hunsaker asking that the Supreme Court itself should rule, not just let the lower court decision stand. It could take anywhere from three to five weeks for the Court to respond to this latest.
AP story
Oregonian story

April 10, 2000

The Oregon State Supreme Court has granted another 21-day stay till May 2 to allow plaintiffs’ attorney Franklin Hunsaker more time to file a motion for reconsideration. If such a motion is filed, the Court will continue the stay until it rules on the motion. Adoptees thwarted again.

April 5, 2000

As the 21-day stay granted by the Oregon Supreme Court approaches expiration on Monday April 10, plaintiffs’ attorney Hunsaker asked the court for another 21-day stay to allow more time to file an appeal. Whether it will be to ask the Oregon Supreme Court to reconsider, or the U.S. Supreme Court, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the adoptee rights story made the front page of the New York Times, Oregon Law Heightens Debate Over Opening Adoption Records. (Free registration required to read online).

The New York Times is published to an international audience, so replies from all locations are welcome. Please respond to the New York Times at your earliest convenience to:

E-mail: letters@nytimes.com.
Fax: (212) 556-3622
Post: Letters to the Editor, The New York Times, 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

March 20, 2000

Oregon Supreme Court lets Measure 58 stand.

The Oregon Supreme Court today declined without comment to hear the appeal challenging Measure 58. The Court continued a stay suspending the law for 21 more days, allowing the plaintiffs to ask the Court to reconsider, or to file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

March 13, 2000

State court still silent on review of adoption law, reports the Oregonian. The soonest the Oregon Supreme Court would issue an opinion is March 21.

March 6, 2000

The Oregonian profiles the two legal adversaries in the court battle over Measure 58. Courtroom foes take adoption law to heart.

January 6, 2000

Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the seven day stay granted by the Court of Appeals on Dec. 30 will continue indefinitely. The Oregonian: Birth certificates stay sealed

January 5

Franklin Hunsaker, attorney for the six plaintiffs, files an emergency appeal of teh Appelas Court ruling to the Oregon Supreme Court. The Oregonian reports Birth mothers seek hold on law

January 3, 2000

The Measure 58 campaign issued a Press Release decrying the stalling tactics of the adoption industry lobbyists who would tie up Measure 58 in ever more desparate and frivolous court challenges at taxpayers’ expense. A public demonstration of popular support for Measure 58 is planned for Wednesday January 5.

December 30, 1999

The Court of Appeals has issued a seven day further stay, to allow the plaintiffs to file an emergency appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case and to impose a longer stay while the appeals process is pursued.

The Bureau of Vital Statistics has been ordered to immediately stop processing Oregon adoptees’ requests for birth certificates.

The Oregonian: Birth mothers seek hold on law.

December 29, 1999

Appeals court upholds adoption records access – 12/29/99 1:11 PM
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Court of Appeals today upheld the nation’s first voter-passed law to give adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates. The law was solidly passed by Oregonians last November but it never has taken effect. A trial judge upheld the law, but the appeals court had continued a stay preventing release of records. The decision could be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, which would decide whether to review the lower court decision. See the Oregon Department of Human Resources FAQ on Ordering Pre-Adoption Birth Records . Please write to your local papers in support of adoptee rights. Each of our voices does make a difference!

Read the full decision of the Oregon State Court of Appeals at http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A107235.htm

November 22, 1999

The Oregon State Court of Appeals will be hearing the Measure 58 case in Salem on Monday, November 22, 1999 at 1.30 pm. It is important to get a good showing of supporters of adoptee rights at the hearing. Please, if at all possible, join Measure 58 Chief Petitioner Helen Hill and adoption reform advocates in front of the Supreme Court Building, just east of the Capitol. Address: Supreme Court Building, 1163 State Street (The Capitol is at 900 Court St. NE)

To see a map of Salem, Oregon and get driving directions from where you are:
Salem Map & Directions to Capitol
Directions to The Capitol: From I-5. Exit 253 take Highway 22 west; take Willamette University/State Offices exit and follow signs for 12th Street/State Offices. Turn left on Court Street (1-way). Handicap access. (Supreme Court Bldg is just East – ask directions from Capitol)

Be there to help make history showing support for Oregon’s historic Measure 58!!! Please pass the word on to those who you think would be interested/affected. Bring your friends, family and significant others! Bring your pets! Adult adoptees are citizens, not state secrets!

September 14, 1999

Oregonian article: Advocate for adoptees dies at age of 51
Curtis Endicott, who fought for Oregon’s Measure 58, never got to see his birth certificate.

September 13, 1999

Adoptee Rights Spokesman Dies Waiting for Measure to Take Effect. Curtis Endicott died of a lifelong, undiagnosed lung ailment on Saturday, September 11th at age 51, while waiting for Oregon’s successful Adoptee Rights Initiative (Measure 58) to take effect.

September 7, 1999

The Oregon Court of Appeals extended their stay of Measure 58 through January 31, 2000. Chief Judge Mary Deits said the court will hear oral arguments on November 22nd.


Recent news articles and editorials need your support or criticism. Let the news media and the public know your opinion– write a letter to the editor today!

August 13, 1999

State appeals court puts adoption law on hold another 90 days. The Oregon Appeals Court today issued a new 90-day stay on Measure 58 while it reviews the constitutional challenges.

August 13, 1999

National Public Radio’s Morning Edition played a segment, Unsealing Birth Certificates (requires RealAudio Player), covering Measure 58 and the court battle, with quotes from plaintiff Franklin Hunsaker, Oregon Assistant Attorney General Catherine Georges, Curtis Endicott.

August 4, 1999

The Oregon Appeals Court has set a deadline of August 12 for arguments to be submitted on the issue of extending the stay on Measure 58 pending a new appeal. Until then, Measure 58 is still on hold. Willamette Week Scoreboard

July 30, 1999

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Friday issued a temporary stay to prevent Measure 58 from taking effect, while it considers whether to continue blocking the law during an appeal. The appeals court gave the state until Aug., 12 to respond. AP Wire story.

July 30, 1999

Letters to Editor from Mark Freyer, Time to end adoption lies, and Pam Hasegawa, Mothers will welcome contact, respond to the Oregonian’s July 21 editorial.

July 27, 1999

In a telephone conference today with lawyers, Judge Lipscomb refused to suspend his decision upholding Measure 58. However, attorneys for opponents of the law have said they will ask the Oregon Court of Appeals for a stay to continue to prevent it from taking effect while they appeal the case to that court. They will have about two days to file that motion before the State of Oregon files an order and the circuit court decision takes effect.

July 26, 1999

A Letter to the Editor from Marley Greiner, Guarding secrets not public duty, responds to the Oregonian’s July 21 editorial.

July 24, 1999

A Letter to the Editor from Julie Dennis, Birth mothers can fend for themselves, responds to the Oregonian’s July 21 editorial.

July 23, 1999

The State of Oregon’s Archive Division gears up for an onrush of requests from adoptees requesting their original birth certificates.

July 22, 1999

The six anonymous birthmothers file a motion to continue the injunction aginst Measure 58.

July 21, 1999

An Oregonian editorial, “Hello Mom”, bemoans the possibly imminent lifting of the injunction against Measure 58.

July 21, 1999

A Willamette Week article, Open Sesame, profiles Helen Hill’s long involvement in the M58 campaign, and her jubilation at Judge Lipscomb’s decision.

July 20, 1999

Adoptees begin filing requests with the state office of vital records in anticipation of the lifting of the inunction against Measure 58.

July 17, 1999

Curtis Endicott, one of the intervenors in the Measure 58 lawsuit, looks forward to the lifting of the injunction.

July 17, 1999

The six anonymous birthmothers and their attorney promise to file an appeal of Judge Lipscomb’s decision.

July 16, 1999

Judge Lipscomb today upheld Measure 58, saying the Oregon Constitution held no promise of secrecy to women who gave their children up for adoption.

“Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate either any contractual right to absolute privacy or confidentiality, or any impermissible impairment of any such rights.”

Read the decision in full.

July 15, 1999

After the hearing on Wednesday July 14, Judge Lipscomb promises a decision possibly as soon as Friday July 16

July 12, 1999

Governor Kitzhaber signed into law today HB 3194, an amendment to Measure 58 to provide for a voluntary “Contact Preference Form” to be attached to the original birth certicate.

The bill leaves untouched the rights of adoptees and respects the spirit of Measure 58 while alleviating concerns about its “fairness”. It is unamimously supported by supporters as well as opponents of Measure 58.

The Campaign

October 15, 1997

Oregon Willamette Week article takes note of a drive to put Measure 58 on the Oregon ballot. The drive to collect signatures to qualify for the ballot has begun in earnest.

March 22, 1998

Oregonian article “Rights clash in adoption disclosure debate”, outlines some of the issues raised by the initiative.

March 24, 1998

The Leeza Show (NBC) featured a panel discussing OR’s Measure 58 and adoptee rights vs. an unidentified birthmother’s claims to promises of permanent anonymity from her offspring. Helen Hill, Sarah Saffian, Carol Sandusky, Franklin Hunsaker. BN T-shirt brandished by a birthmom supporter in the audience (Karen Vedder). Reaired 6/1/98

May 22, 1998

86,422 signatures are handed in to the Secretary of State’s Office in Salem, Oregon, providing a healthy margin over the required number.

July 9, 1998

The Adoptee Rights Initiative, Measure 58, officially qualified for the November 3rd ballot. It was the first inititiative of over 90 filed that year to qualify, and provided a healthy surplus over the required number (73,261) of signatures.

August 26, 1998

A Willamette Week news story “Birth of a Notion” documents the rise of interest in Measure 58 from adoptee rights supporters all over “who view Oregon as the next battleground for their civil rights.”

Sept. 2, 1998

Governor John Kitzhaber announces his opposition to Measure 58, based on a feared adverse impact on relinquishments.

Sept. 16, 1998

Willamette Week runs a front page story by Patty Wentz on Measure 58, “Bastard: Adoption in America — one person’s struggle to be treated like a legitimate adult.”

September 23, 1998

The Oregonian opposes Measure 58 on grounds of alleged promises of confidentiality by the state.

Oct. 5, 1998

The Boston Globe does a front-page story on the Measure 58 campaign “Oregon voters could open door to adoptees’ past.” The article was reprinted in a number of large dailies across the nation.

Octover 12, 1998

The Office of the Secretary of State publishes its Voter’s Pamphlet listing arguments for and against Measure 58.

October 14, 1998

The Willamette Week comes out in editorial support of Measure 58.

October 22, 1998

Nationally syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe writes supporting Measure 58.

October 26, 1998

Oregon Adult Adoptees on Threshold of Equal Rights. Adoption Industry opposition spreads lies and uses tabloid style diversion to protect unethical practices.

October 27, 1998

Raped Birthmothers Voice Strong Support for Oregon’s Adoptee Rights Measure. Oregon birthmothers join thousands across nation to support adoptee rights.

October 28, 1998

Nationally syndicated columnist Mona Charen opposes Measure 58 with some pretty emotional arguments. The “rape birthmother” is given national exposure.

November 1, 1998

A full-page ad taken out in the Sunday Oregonian quotes over 500 birthmothers who support Measure 58.

The Vote

November 3, 1998

Oregon voters approve Measure 58
609,268 (57%) 454,122 (43%)
The law is due to go into effect Dec. 3, 1998.

November 10, 1998

Historic Adoption Initiative Restores Adoptee Rights in Oregon

In Court

Court Documents

The Complaint
Stipulated Motion for Preliminary Injunction
Affidavit of I. Franklin Hunsaker
Affidavit of Jane Doe 1
Affidavit of Jane Doe 2
Confidential Information Form of the Boys and Girls Aid Society.
Affidavit of Jane Doe 3
Affidavit of Jane Doe 4
Preliminary Injunction Granted.
Summary Judgment upholding Measure 58.
Ruling of the Oregon State Court of Appeals upholding Measure 58.
November 28, 1998

A lawsuit challenging Measure 58 is threatened by opponents.

December 1, 1998

Marion County Circuit Judge Albin W. Norblad in Salem granted an injunction halting implementation of Measure 58 as a result of a lawsuit filed by Franklin Hunsaker, a Portland attorney and adoptive parent, on behalf of four anonymous birth mothers.

December 3, 1998

National Adoptee Rights Day was held at state vital records offices around the country as adoptees filed requests for copies of their original birth certificates. Even though Measure 58 is suspended, requests were filed in Oregon too.

December 5, 1998

Newspaper article profiles Judge Albin W. Norblad and the issues in the case.

December 6, 1998

Newspaper article profiles Bastard Nation and the National Council for Adoption, two national opponents over the open records issue.

December 9, 1998

Three private parties– Helen Hill, Chief Petitioner for Measure 58, Curtis Endicott, a St. Helens adoptee, and Susan Updike of Scappoose, a birth mother– and one organization, the Oregon Adoptive Rights Association, seek intervenor status in the Measure 58 lawsuit. Intervenor status would allow them to cross-examine witnesses, examine evidence, and participate in some court activities. These parties are represented in court by Portland attorney Thomas E. McDermott.

December 18, 1998

Three more anonymous birthmothers are added as plaintiffs in an amended complaint.

December 22, 1998

Hearing scheduled for January 19, 1999 on the motion to grant intervenor status.

December 27, 1998

News article comparing Measure 58 to Tennessee law and other states’ laws.

January 19, 1999

Judge Norblad hears arguments over granting intervenor status, and hears discussion of procedural issues for protecting plaintiff birth mothers’ anonymity. Hearing scheduled for January 28 on the procedural issues.

January 22, 1999

Intervenor status granted to Helen Hill, Curtis Endicott, Susan Updike, and the Oregon Adoptive Rights Association.

Helen Hill, Chief Petitioner, reports on the hearing and its significance.

April 1, 1999

Birth Mother drops out of lawsuit.
Jane Doe 3 withdraws as a plaintiff from the case, for reasons not given.

June 17, 1999

Judge Norblad recuses himself from the case, which will be taken over by presiding Judge Paul Lipscomb.

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Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Become a Bastard Nation Legislative Liaison!

Bastard Nation needs Legislative Liaisons in every state with laws that seal adoption records. We need eyes and ears in the legislatures, creating relationships and gathering information.

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.

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See our state partners:

See our state partners:

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec



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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