For Immediate Release: October 27th, 1998
Contact: Diane Foster 541-779-1013 or Carmela Mercer 541-899-1345

Raped Birthmothers Voice Strong Support for Oregon's Adoptee Rights Measure

Oregon birthmothers join thousands across nation to support adoptee rights

Diane Foster of Oregon was gang raped one night on her way home from seeing a movie with a girlfriend. Her girlfriend, who was also attacked, did not become pregnant. Diane did. Diane was the mother of a three-year-old daughter at the time, recently widowed because her husband had died in a fishing accident. Unable to support the child of the rape, she told her daughter that her baby son had died, and relinquished him for adoption.

Twenty-three years later Diane decided to search for her birthson to let him know that her father had recently died of prostate cancer and that he should be aware of this family history. It also helped confirm what she had always hoped - that she had made the right decision for her son. She found her birthson, gave him the information he needed, and their meeting was chronicled on local television.

Diane fully supports Oregon's historic Adoptee Rights Measure (Measure 58) because she believes that equal access to one's certificate of birth is a basic right that most people take for granted. Diane was asked her opinion of the raped out-of-state birthmother who is anonymously campaigning against Measure 58, and who recently stated on national television that being contacted by her birthchild would be "like being raped all over again." Diane was sympathetic about the rape, but not about the anonymous birthmother's anti-adoptee stance. "That birthmother needs to get with other birthmothers and heal. The government has no business denying all adoptees their rights because of her isolated and unverifiable situation."

Carmela Mercer of Jacksonville, Oregon is another birthmother who conceived as a result of a rape. As a young woman she was violently raped by an acquaintance, conceived a child, and then relinquished the child for adoption. Now with children of her own, Carmela fully supports an adoptee's right to know. Carmela is appalled at the hypocrisy of adoption industry talking heads who claim to be protecting people like her. "I was never promised any confidentiality - and I was raped!" Carmela exclaimed. "I'm also outraged that this is a document that non-adopted people can get for $12 while adopted people are often extorted by agencies and intermediaries for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to access the same information. Adopted adults should be treated the same as everyone else."

Diane Foster can be reached at 541-779-1013. Carmela Mercer can be reached at 541-899-1345. Both are willing to speak to the press and on radio. Diane is also willing to do television appearances.

For more information on Oregon's Adoptee Rights Measure - Measure 58 - visit our website at
Media Contact: Shea Grimm