Indiana House To Hear Open Adoption Records Bill
Legislation opening up records from Indiana’s closed adoptions era – 1941 to 1993 – cleared a major legislative hurdle Monday.
This year’s adoption records bill gives birth mothers four options – allow contact, allow contact only through an intermediary, bar contact entirely, or only allow their children access to the birth mother’s medical records.
Last year’s version of the bill was killed in a House committee after fears arose over birth mother privacy. But bill author Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) says this year’s changes have removed most of the opposition.
Still, some remains. Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Inglefield) says if a birth mother doesn’t know the records are being opened, she can’t tell the state to keep them sealed.
“If you’re caught off guard, you’re going to be sitting there at your dinner table, maybe you’re 80 years old with your spouse – someone’s going to knock on the door,” Washburne says. “I’m serious. And I mean, we’re talking about real families.”
Rep. Bill Fine (R-Munster) says he had shared Washburne’s concern:
“But I think it’s important enough that there will be advocacy groups, the newspapers will promote the idea that there is this change in state policy,” Fine says.
The House committee approved the measure 11-2, sending it to the House floor.