Tuesday, May 18, 2010

BASTARD NATION ACTION ALERT: STOP RHODE ISLAND S 2759/H7877


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BASTARD NATION ACTION ALERT
STOP RHODE ISLAND SB 2759/H7877

Black Lists Adoptees!
Creates and expands special rights and disclosure veto!

BILLS
S 2759
HB7877

On May 12, the Rhode Island House unanimously passed H7877, a bill that restricts the right of all Rhode Island adoptees to access their own birth certificates. Promoted as an “adoptee rights” and original birth certificate “access” bill, the bill, in fact, contains not only a "birthparent" disclosure veto but extends that special veto right to the parents and siblings of a deceased "birthparent.” In other words, some of the very people who may have caused the adoptee to be placed for adoption as a child are now authorized to keep the adoptee as an adult from getting his or her own birth certificate.

S2759, a companion bill, is currently in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. That bill extends the special right veto even farther to include the parents and siblings of permanently disabled/incompetent "birthparents.”

Bill promoters say they will return later to pick up the left-behinds vetoed out of their rights. In over 40 years of tiered access and disclosure vetoes, however, no legislature has ever revisited to extend unrestricted access to all. States are obligated by law to honor all vetoes on file. Legislatures cannot unilaterally rescind in-place vetoes, even if a veto provision were removed prospectively by later law.

On May 14, in an attempt to show widespread support for S2759, a letter seeking bill endorsements, under the signature of S2759 sponsor Senator Rhoda E. Perry, Chairwoman Health & Human Services Committee and Paul Schibbelhute, New England Regional Director of the American Adoption Congress, was emailed to national/professional organizations. The email solicited (1) organizational letters of support for S2759 and (2)organizational statements stating a willingness to publicize RI adoptee access legislation“when” passed. The letters are to be sent to Sen. Perrry. (The full email is at here. http://ariadnegroup.org/acone.html)

The email contained links to general obc access policy statements or endorsements for a 2004 restricted access bill in New Jersey from several national organizations,including, CWLA, AAC, North American Council on Adoptable Children, and the EB Donaldson Adoption Institute. There were no links to endorsements or testimony for the current Rhode Island bills or any indication that these organizations outside of the AAC support the the current RI bill(s).

The most disturbing claim of this letter, however, is that “…new Hampshire and Maine had recently passed similar legislation.”

S2759/HB7877, in fact, are polar opposites. Bills in New Hampshire and Maine restored the right of obc access with no restriction, to persons adopted in those states, while S2759/HB2759 restores no right to access, and restricts access through the use of an expanded disclosure veto system; thus, creating a blacklist of adoptees barred from getting their own birth certificates.

ACTION
Please write to Senator Perry today (address below) and tell her why you do not support S2759. If you represent an organization, explain the significance of your organization as well. The bill was introduced on April 6, 2010 and is being fast tracked so we need your letters now!

TALKING POINTS
  • S2759 is not an equal access bill.
  • SB2759 convolutes civil rights with interpersonal relationships
  • S2759 treats adoptees differently than the not-adopted. Access to the original birth certificate is treated as a favor or privilege by the state for adoptees, not as the unquestioned right for the not-adopted.
  • S2759 creates two classes of adoptees giving some adoptees access to the obc at the expense of other adoptees
  • S2759 creates a special right for “birthparents” to veto access to the obc, and extends that special right to self-appointed surrogates if a parent is deceased or incapacitated.
  • S2759 and H7877 are companion bills; state your opposition to both.

CONTACT
Senator Rhoda E. Perry
Chairwoman, Health & Human Services Committee
Room 212
83 Smith St
RI State House
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: 401-276-5567 and 401-571-7165
Fax: 401-222-4263
sen-perry@rilin.state.ri.us

Also contact HSS committee members:

Sen Leo R. Blais
sen-blais@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: 401-823-4536

Sen. Charles J.Levesque
sen-levesque@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone:401-683-9194

Sen. Francis T Maher, Jr.
sen-maher@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: none listed

Sen. Joshua Miller
sen-miller@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: none listed

Sen Juan Pichardo (HSS Vice-Chair and co-sponsor of bill)
sen-pichardo@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: 401-461-2389

Sen. James C.Sheehan
sen-sheehan@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: 401-884-1077

Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski
Sen-sosnowski@rilin.state.ri.us
Phone: 401-783-7704

Quick List:
sen-blais@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-levesque@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-maher@rilin.state.ri.us,
sen-miller@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-perry@rilin.state.ri.us,
sen-pichardo@rilin.state.ri.us, sen-sheehan@rilin.state.ri.us,
sen-sosnowski@rilin.state.ri.us


SUBMIT TESTIMONY IN OPPOSITION TO S2759
Testimony may be submitted in writing two ways:

Email: dcook@rilin.state.ri.us
Fax: 401-222-4263

Be sure to head your testimony with the number of the bill; a brief description (ex: original birth certificates for adoptees) and that your testimony for the opposition.

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