Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rhode Island is #7: Unconditional Access to OBCs....and hope for donor conceived offspring??

From Bastardette: Yesterday was a celebratory day for the Adoptees Rights Movement.  Rhode Island became the 7th state to provide unrestricted access to Original Birth Certificates for ALL adoptees born in the state.  S478 Sub AA was signed into law yesterday at noon.  The law will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

However, in the donor conception world equal rights are still decades behind.

With the recent appeals upset by the state in Olivia Pratten's groundbreaking court case in British Columbia, she has another battle to fight to gain rights for donor conceived adults in Canada.  The good news is, since the appeal will go to the Supreme Court of Canada, IF (and only if) she wins, donor anonymity will be removed in not just BC but every province in Canada!!  While the appeal after such a successful win must be devastating to Olivia and her family and her attorneys, if they can convince the SCC of the unconstitutionality of destroying records and denying donor conceived adults from learning the identities of their biological parents, then the ramifications would set in motion a hard precedent for other states and governments to deny.

Here in the good ol' USA, the first tiny baby step in reform is beginning to brew.  On the weekend of Independence Day, there is a tiny glimmer of hope, that human rights, children's rights, Americans' rights will prevail over greedy corporations and money.

The Governor of the state of Washington recently signed into law the Uniform Parentage Act that, effective July 22, 2011, demands that anyone who provides sperm or eggs to a fertility clinic must also provide identifying information and a medical history, and that children born from these donated gametes can return to the fertility clinic at age 18 to request this identifying information and medical history.

However, as is the case in many adoptee OBC bills that spring up across the country, there's a catch.

A veto.

Unfortunately Washington was too scared of the potential loss of donors, so they added a cop-out.  Donors can file a disclosure veto that prevents the clinic from revealing identifying information (not medical history) to their biological children.

While I am saddened by the apparent cowardice in giving donor conceived offspring actual human rights against the threats and interests of the infertility industry and the ASRM, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

I hope in the future there will be as many vocal  donor conceived adults as adult adoptees, and legislation like this will be discussed and voted upon in many states, and that compromises like disclosure vetos will be fought against.

But in the meantime, baby steps, we're taking baby steps here.


kisarita said...

Strange. Why even file a law only to allow the parties subject to the law to veto it?
However, I suppose even having the law in print has some symbolic value.

Anonymous said...

So donor-conceived children should have the right to know their (biological) parents even if they already do have (social) parents? Why should this right be only to a select group of people (donor-conceived children) instead of just everyone?

How many other children whose paternity information is not what they think it is? May be why not just say everyone should undergo paternity test before birth certificate is issued to be sure of their genetics?

Why do donor-conceived children want special treatment?

Lindsay said...

Anonymous, you miss the point. Yeah there are lots of children whose paternity is in question, however there's just one TINY (note sarcasm here...) difference. Their mother slept around and unless she was raped more than likely at least might know the first name and perhaps some minor details of who they slept with and can narrow down who the daddy is. While mommy might not "know" or more likely simply isn't telling who daddy is, that's strictly between her and her child.

Donor conceived adults (and adoptees in many states) are LEGALLY denied from ever knowing that information.

We are not asking for "special treatment". We are simply asking to have the same rights and respects as anyone else.

Do you also believe that adoptees have no right to know their birth parents? Because if so you have no right to say anything, because there are hundreds of thousand of adult adoptees who would tear you apart.

Adoptive parents and social parents are exactly the same thing, except for social parents in heterosexual married relationships can legally lie to their children (via the child's birth certificate....they're falsified government documents, which that same action would land someone else in jail) whereas adoptive parents legally cannot (that child has a true original birth certificate and the adoptive parents only have legal custody).

Panic Away said...

I agree that it is not "special treatment" that is being requested. We are all equal and deserve the same rights and respect. The action take is a step indeed in the right direction yet maybe, there is not enough attention being given to this specific concern.