from the Grant's Pass Courier

September 28, 1998

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Measure 58 poses a danger to family privacy

One of the more intriguing proposals on the ballot Nov. 3 is Measure 58, which allows an adopted person 21 years or older to obtain his original birth certificate.

This makes it much easier for a person to find his biological family. The question is, is this always a good thing?

We don't think it's wise to give the child the power to unilaterally breach a parent's privacy. A husband and children may not know, for example, that a mother long ago had a child out of wedlock. Revealing that fact destroys the confidentiality the mother was promised and could create problems with her current family.

We feel both parties, the child and the biological family, should have to agree to a reunion before one happens.

There are ways for that to happen now. Oregon has what it calls voluntary adoption registries, under which intermediaries gather medical information and actually contact birth parents at the request of adoptees to see if they want a reunion.

Also, at the time of adoption, birth and adoptive parents can choose an "open" adoption, in which the birth parent keeps in contact with the child or receives periodic reports.

If adopted people still don't feel there are enough options, a system similiar to the one envisioned in Measure 58 could be established-but with the important difference that a birth parent could veto the son or daughter's request for the original birth certificate.

As it's written now, Measure 58 unfairly and unnecessarily exposes birth parents' lives to a possibly unwanted intrusion. That's why the Daily Courier recommends a "no" vote on 58.

Back to Measure 58 in the News