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HA

Carp, Wayne E.

Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58

Carp tells the story of the passage of Measure 58 in Oregon in 1998, which allowed adoptees to request and receive their original birth certificates, and enabled them, eventually, to contact their birth parents (usually, their birth mothers). The controversy around releasing this information stemmed from what was viewed as the tension between the adoptee’s right to know (or, put differently, their right to equal access to their birth information), and the birth parent’s right to privacy. According to those who opposed the initiative, allowing adoptees, retroactively, to access their birth records and obtain their birth parents’ identities, would infringe upon their parents’ right to privacy. On the other hand, the initiators of Measure 58 argued that the right to know the identity of one’s biological parent is a fundamental right, and thus, to deprive them of this right is a form of discrimination.

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