Birth mother drops out of lawsuit

A woman's decision leaves six plaintiffs seeking to block Measure 58, which would open birth certificates to adult adoptees

Thursday April 1, 1999

By Spencer Heinz of The Oregonian staff

One of seven anonymous birth mothers fighting an open-record law for adoptees has dropped out of the mothers' lawsuit against the state.

Franklin Hunsaker, a Portland lawyer representing the women, said "Jane Doe 3" asked Marion County Circuit Judge Albin W. Norblad to dismiss her for reasons Hunsaker said would not be divulged. Norblad granted the request.

"It wasn't forced upon her by anyone," Hunsaker said. "It was purely voluntary. She remains entirely supportive of the lawsuit."

The lawsuit says Jane Doe 3 was a high school student who gave birth in 1993 to a baby girl and relinquished her for adoption. All the birth mothers, identified as "Jane Doe" 1 through 7, argue that their decisions to place children for adoption hinged on promises of confidentiality that Measure 58 would break. The new law's supporters argue that no one had authority to make any such promises.

Oregon voters approved Measure 58 in November. It would allow Oregon-born adult adoptees to see their original birth certificates, which often list the long-confidential names of the birth parents.

The law was to have gone into effect Dec. 3. But several birth mothers sued the state Dec. 1, and the judge ordered the law to remain on hold until the case is resolved in court. Norblad has asked lawyers to meet with him privately next week to discuss a schedule for the case.

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