To the House Judiciary Committee
In Opposition to HB 1319
January 25, 2017
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Linda Thorson, and I am the State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota. CWA is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation. We are here today on behalf of our North Dakota members in opposition to HB 1319 to amend North Dakota Century Code relating to disclosure of original birth records to adopted individuals.
Disclosure of information identifying the adopted individual’s genetic parents or to initiate the disclosure of non-identifying information not on file with the department or child-placing agency for adopted individuals who are 18 years of age without the birthparents’ authorization, when the adoption agency had agreed to confidentiality, does not respect the previously agreed upon wishes of the birthmother.
In addition to taking the privacy rights away from the birthmother, we are concerned that HB 1319 will serve to reduce the number of adoptions to wonderful awaiting families, and worse, make abortion a more attractive option to the birthmother when considering her options.
Changes that prevent an agreement of confidentiality in closed adoptions could cause more pregnant mothers to choose abortion over adoption. Today, many women work with adoption agencies to place their children in loving families because promises of confidentiality are agreed upon. CWA of North Dakota strongly supports adoption and all those involved in this loving choice.
An adoption statistic from American Adoptions finds that 90 percent of adopted children ages five and older have very positive feelings about their adoption. This is true even though the majority of adopted children have little or no contact with their birth parents.
We ask you to consider the experience of an adoptee, who like many, has only limited information about her birthmother. She writes, “The nineteen-year-old, unwed girl who gave me life is my hero. I don’t know what she was going through before and during her pregnancy with me, but I do know that she chose to give me the most incredible gift that can be given – life!
“Contrary to feeling abandoned by being adopted, I have always felt gratitude to my young, desperately scared birthmother who showed such bravery and love for me and love to my adopted family … I am intensely loved. I am adopted.”
CWA of North Dakota asks you not to put future adoptions in jeopardy. We urge a “Do Not Pass” on HB 1319.