Adoption Records Bill Dies In Committee

Apr 13, 2015

The bill would have made it easier for those adopted during Indiana's sealed records period to access their original birth certificates.
Credit Barbara Harrington / http://www.ipbs.org/

A bill opening up adoption information from Indiana’s closed records era was sailing through the General Assembly before a House committee quietly killed the measure.  The bill’s author says the Pence administration is behind the legislation’s demise.

Adoptions that took place between 1941 and 1993 were automatically sealed.  If an adoptee from that era wants to find their birth parents, they must go through what’s called a confidential intermediary.  Supporters of the bill that would open the records say that process is difficult, lengthy and costly.  But the Pence administration expressed concerns about the bill in a House committee, noting it would be difficult to contact all affected birth parents to notify them of the change.  And while the governor’s office declined an interview, a spokesperson did note that they had been receiving phone calls from mothers opposing the measure.  Bedford Republican Senator Brent Steele, the bill’s author, says he used to be opposed to the idea too, but changed his mind.

“And not only did I find peace with the issue but I decided I’d try to carry the bill and champion the cause,” says Steele.

He says he plans to bring the bill back next session.

“And I’m hopeful that the governor’s people will have more time to take serious reflection on the issue and maybe do the same thing I did,” says Steele.