INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation opening up records from Indiana’s closed adoptions era – 1941 to 1993 – cleared a major legislative hurdle Monday.
This year’s adoption records bill gives birth mothers four options – allow contact, allow contact only through an intermediary, bar contact entirely, or only allow their children access to the birth mother’s medical records. Last year’s version of the bill was killed in a House committee after fears arose over birth mother privacy.
GOP Sen. Brent Steele says changes made to this year’s version of the bill have removed most of the opposition. Still, some remains. Republican Rep. Tom Washburne says if a birth mother doesn’t know the records are being opened, she can’t tell the state to keep them sealed.
“If you’re caught off guard, you’re going to be sitting there at your dinner table, maybe you’re 80 years old with your spouse – someone’s going to knock on the door," Washburne said. "I’m serious. And I mean, we’re talking about real families.”
GOP Rep. Bill Fine says he had shared Washburne’s concern.
“But I think it’s important enough that there will be advocacy groups, the newspapers will promote the idea that there is this change in state policy,” Fine said.
The House committee approved the measure 11-2, sending it to the House floor.