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Activism- Ohio HB7

I’ve previously written about this year’s legislative quest for open records in Ohio and Buckeyes for Equal Access (BEA) as well as BEA’s action alert on HB7 with contact information for Ohio Health Committee members.

Bastardette has an entire series of posts (read from the bottom up to understand the chronology) detailing the ongoing saga of the removal of the open records provisions from the original HB7, resulting in a “substitute bill” that is completely silent on the matter of adult adoptees’ access to our own documentation. In response, Bastards have mounted a grassroots campaign counter offensive, attempting to restore the open records provision to any version of the legislation that passes out of the Committee.

This afternoon was the latest hearing on Ohio HB7. Bastardette is aiming for an update to her page later tonight with details about what happened today. I’d urge BLC readers to check in there later on.

(To be clear, I’m no great fan of HB7, although I feel it included some important provisions. I would far rather see a pure open records bill alongside other legislation putting ‘teeth’ into open adoption agreements, etc. But as is, it’s possible that some version of HB7 will be going forward. If it does, it is critically important that the open records provision be restored to the bill.)

In any case, I wanted to post a slightly edited version of my letter to Ohio Legislature’s Health Committee members as it points out the arbitrary and discriminatory nature of Ohio’s system as it currently exists and how Bastards such as myself are essentially trapped by that system:

[Address Block]

Dear Representative ___________,

I am an adult adoptee, born and adopted in Ohio in the late 1960’s and a former resident of ________, ________, ________, and ________ Counties.

I’m writing to strongly urge your support for restoring adult adoptee access to their own documentation, as was initially included in HB7 before the later substitute bill removed the provision. I ask you reject the substitution bill (LSC 127 0671-4) if access to our information is not included in the final version of the bill..

HB 7 as it was originally written, was in part, created as a remedy to Ohio’s existing law. Under the current system, Ohio not only treats adopted people and our historical documentation differently than it treats non-adopted people, it goes further, by creating a three tier arbitrary and discriminatory system of records access.

Under current Ohio law adoptees are sorted by birth date or date of adoption finalization into three tiers, thereby creating three different classes of adopted people (which are also not treated equally:)

* some with complete access to their original unaltered birth certificate
* some with no access except by court order
* and a third group with conditional access

Due to the arbitrary nature of the ‘cut off dates’ for each of the three tiers, access to my own unaltered birth certificate is thwarted merely by ‘accident of birth.’ Were I born a few years earlier or perhaps a number of years later, I would either have access or at least have a better chance at access.

As is, I fall into the 2nd category, I’m locked out. Despite my attempt to get a court order, the existing system has failed me. I am left with no recourse, other than to support changes to the Ohio law.

Other Ohio adoptees and I are depending on you to support nothing less than a clean open records bill to restore our rights. We do not need yet another attempt to slap still more plaster onto the current flawed system. What we need is the same access to our vital statistics and authentic history as all other Buckeyes.

The restoration of adult adoptee access to our own information originally in HB7, would have decluttered the existing jumble of the arbitrary tri-tier discriminatory system, restored our rights, and provided clarity and fairness. Such access is in line with what other states (Alaska, Oregon, Kansas, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine) have already done to promote fairness and equity in their adoption systems.

By comparison, the substitution bill is an anti-adoptee piece of legislation. Far from resolving the issue, the substitution bill only continues to attempt ‘reforms’ that fail to go to the heart of the matter; that Ohio adoptees are still arbitrarily receiving different treatment and denied equal access to their documentation. This failure then only ensures that these issues will continue to arise in the legislature again at some later date.

All I ask is simply to be treated like everyone else born in Ohio, I want equal treatment under the law.

End arbitrary discrimination against Ohio adoptees, please support restoring the adult adoptee access to our own information provisions of HB7 as it was originally written. If any version of HB7 is passed out of committee, it is imperative that it addresses the core issue of restoration of access, and does so in a way that ultimately supports adoptees themselves.

I would appreciate knowing your views on this legislation and hope I can count on your vote in support of restoring adoptees’ rights.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

[Baby Love Child's name and contact information block]

Note, The arbitrary and discriminatory tri-tier system goes by various names; sandwich adoptees, blacklisted adoptees, those left behind, ’special’ bastards, triple threat legislation, and one of the terms I tend to use,”Black Hole Bastards”, or bastards who have been black-holed. You can read more about us Blackholers on Bastardette’s page by using these search results.

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