There is a lot of encouraging energy in the world of adoptee rights legislation right now. This past week offered those of us in the adoptee rights movement perhaps a small glimpse of things to come–an example that positive change just might be possible. On Wednesday, March 6, a pro-life organization that has traditionally opposed restoring the rights of adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates, Ohio Right to Life, testified in support of an equal access bill currently slated for hearing in the Ohio legislature.
“For faulty reasons for decades, Ohio Right to Life opposed opening adoption records to adoptees,” stated Stephanie Krider, Director of Legislative Affairs for Ohio Right to Life. “…because they believed birth mothers had been guaranteed rights of confidentiality and the measure would protect adoptees from potential embarrassment about the circumstances of their birth or from unwanted contact from birth parents. Frankly, these are outdated concerns.*”
Krider went on to testify that Ohio Right to Life does view adoption as an alternative to abortion and stated that “if we had any reservations about this bill and the effect it would have on chances of women choosing abortion over adoption, I would not be standing before you in support of the measure today.*”
These statements mark a distinct shift in the messaging promoted by other groups with a pro-life stance. What Ohio Right to Life has done by reconsidering the issue, and deciding to support, adult adoptees is send a very clear message that theirs is an organization which is truly pro-life and pro-adoptee. Based on the organization’s opinion that adoption is an alternative to abortion, this message makes a lot of sense. Ohio Right to Life is now making it very clear that it truly values life. The organization values life, and stands behind its mission, so strongly, that not only would it prefer to have a child born and adopted, it also believes that the adoptee’s life is fully worth equal treatment under law.
This is in sharp contrast to other pro-life groups, such as the Catholic Conference of Ohio, that have historically maintained a stance that the lives of adoptees are not worth enough to be deserving of equal treatment under law. It is truly my hope that this most encouraging step taken by Ohio Right to Life will perhaps turn the hearts of those involved with other pro-life organizations that oppose equal rights for adopted persons. Regardless of my personal feelings concerning abortion and women’s reproductive rights, I’m sincerely hopeful that there will come a day when pro-life also means pro-adoptee for those involved in the Right to Life movement.
Perhaps those who consider themselves to be pro-life might consider what this view truly means to them. If one values the right of the unborn to live a conscious existence so much that one would rather have that life be born and adopted than aborted, is that person prepared to then stand up for the rights of that adopted person? Are those who identify as pro-life prepared to stand on the side of life so solidly that they would turn to an adopted person and say that they fully support the adoptee in life and in law?
*Source, The Hannah Report 3/6/13The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.
~ Julian Bond