NewsPublic Affairs / February 22, 2016

Adoption Records Bill Moves Governor's Desk

Legislation opening records from Indiana’s closed adoption era -- 1941 to 1993 -- is just one step away from becoming law.  - Emily Metheny

Legislation opening records from Indiana’s closed adoption era -- 1941 to 1993 -- is just one step away from becoming law.

Emily Metheny

INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation opening records from Indiana’s closed adoption era is just one step away from becoming law, after the House sent the bill to the governor’s desk Monday.  

The bill gives four options to mothers who gave up children for adoption between 1941 and 1993: they can allow contact, they can allow contact through a third party, they can bar contact entirely, or they can just release their medical records. 

The change wouldn’t take effect until July of 2018, giving the state time to try contacting all mothers it applies to.  If birth mothers don’t find out, the records are automatically opened, which gives some lawmakers, such as Rep. Tom Washburne, pause.

“The assumption that everybody sits there and watches the news every day and reads a newspaper and everything – I don’t know that that’s a valid assumption," Washburne said. "I don’t know how you get that kind of information out.”

Despite the misgivings of Washburne and others, the House passed the bill 72 to 24. Its passage comes just one year after a similar measure didn’t even get a vote in a House committee  The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Pence for his signature.

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