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Supreme Court Justice Supports Adoptees’ Efforts

7:10 am PDT, 11 September 2000

Due largely in part to the efforts of the group Bastard Nation, adoptees are gaining access to once sacred birth records, along with the support of a Washington state Supreme Court justice.

Justice Faith Ireland revealed last week that as a 22-year old college student, she became pregnant and gave up her baby for adoption. She said the event was “one of the worst things that ever happened in my life.”

Although she would not endorse the adoption group’s legislative agenda, she told the 40 activists on hand that she did not believe people should fear changes in the adoption law.

Four states -- Alaska, Kansas, Oregon and Alabama -- currently allow adult adoptees unlimited access to birth records. Most states allow access by court order, and many have registries and intermediaries. Some states provide access with a veto provision for birth parents or adoptees who do not want to be contacted.

The group is now targeting Washington, New Hampshire, Missouri, California and Ohio to allow such access.

The National Council for Adoption and some birth mothers are the major opponents to a wide-open approach to birth records. Many birth mothers were promised privacy at the time they relinquished their children and have expressed no desire to be revealed to their children.

The council says privacy should not be removed from adoption unless all parties agree.

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