Nevada panel shelves bill to give more birth info to adoptees
April 11, 2003
A Nevada Senate panel voted Thursday to shelve a bill that would have given adoptees more access to records about their birth and adoption once they turned 18.
The Judiciary Committee decided instead to send a letter to an interim panel dealing with children and families requesting a new proposal for the 2005 session.
Judiciary Chairman Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, said a change in Nevada law is needed to help adoptees get such records, but there’s not enough time left this session to come up with a good solution.
While there’s about 7Y weeks left in the current session, Friday is the final day for bills to move out of committees in the house where they originated.
During earlier testimony on SB267, critics said it should be scrapped — or at least amended — because of its open-access provision and its elimination of a state register for adoptions.
Helen Foley, representing Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, said she was concerned about adoptees looking into old records that might show a mother had been a prostitute or had given up a child after being raped.
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Foley added the proposal shouldn’t result in people seeing “all the gory details of their lives” being divulged.
Patricia Glenn of Nevada Right-To-Life also criticized the bill, saying it would “violate a promise of confidentiality.”
Glenn said that for a mother who gave up a child and wanted to forget her past “her whole life could be turned upside down” if that child was able at age 18 to get enough information to seek her out.
Glenn said the laws governing the state register could be revised so that a mother’s privacy is still protected but an adopted child could get vital health information more easily.
Proponents included Jean Uhrich, representing adoptee rights organizations Bastard Nation and Nevada Open, who said it’s important for adoptees to have access to state-held records of their birth.
Uhrich also said the state register for adoptions was created in 1979 but since then has only matched 176 adoptees with a natural parent. There are about 200,000 Nevada-born adoptees, she added.
Uhrich also said there are private organizations that can do the same job as the state register.