Monday, May 12, 2008
MINNETOTA: Rep. Tingelstad Authors Bills on Adoption Records, Surrogate Motherhood, May 12, 2008
May 12, 2008
Rep. Tingelstad authors bills on adoption records, surrogate motherhood
by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Adoption records and surrogate mother bills passed the House on Monday (May 12) but not before emotional debate.
Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, R-Andover, authored both bills — Tingelstad has focused on adoption issues her entire legislative career.
Both bills had vocal opposition.
“I cannot tell you how much I oppose this bill,” said Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville, of the adoption records legislation.
gestkathy.jpg Under Tingelstad’s bill the birth records of adopted children — children born between 1945 to 1982, the bill author explained — would be available to adopted persons over the age of 19 unless an affividat of nondisclosure exists on file.
Adoptees, besides the desire to know their birth-parents, argue that a lack of family medical history can complicate their health care.
Rep. Kathy Tingelstad, R-Andover, stood on the House floor Monday (May 12) while presenting her surrogate mother legislation. The lawmaker had two bills, the other dealing with adoption records, pass the House on Monday. (Photo by T.W. Budig, ECM Capitol Reporter)
Current law provides for adoptees to seek birth record information through adoption agencies, but adoptees have argued the process is expensive, drawn out, and often inclusive.
Betrays privacy of women, says Holberg
But Holberg views the bill as betraying the privacy of women who confronted a different society than exists now when dealing with the pregnancy — having a child out of wedlock was considered shameful decades ago, she argued.
True, some of these birth-mothers have died, Holberg argued.
But what will surviving family members think to have someone show up at the door one day — when the birth-mother perhaps never told anyone about her pregnancy — and have a stranger tell them they’re related.
“What a shock,” said Holberg.
Birth-mothers across the country could receive similar shocks unless they “get with the program” and file an affividat of nondisclosure if one doesn’t already exist.
But Tingelstad countered by arguing the reason birth records of adoptees were sealed wasn’t out of concern for the birth-mother’s privacy but rather the child’s — they didn’t want children to be subject to possible humiliation because they were adopted.
“There was no confidentiality guarantee (extended to the mother),” said Tingelstad.
Perhaps it was verbal, she said. But it wasn’t in writing.
Tingelstad said her legislation — which has been criticized by some as being too restrictive, she noted — follows a national trend relating to adoption birth records.
The bill passed the House on a 78-52 vote.
Tingelstad’s other bill, dealing with gestational carriers or surrogate mothers, drew amendments dealing with abortion, surrogate mother compensation, and even prostitution — the latter was ruled out of order.
Tingelstad presented her bill by saying that for some couple, unable to have children on their own, Sunday was less Mother’s Day than Unmother’s Day.
Supporters of the legislation argue the bill merely puts into effect guidelines for gestational carrier arrangements — the practice has gone is, is going on, and will continue, they’ve argued in committee.
The bill passed on an 86-46 vote.
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