Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York
Opposes Signing of Clean Bill of Adoptee Rights:
“Tantamount to identifying and outing the victim of rape.”
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) remains acutely aware and deeply concerned about the legal and ethical concerns regarding the “Clean Bill of Adoptee Rights” legislation (S.3419 Montgomery/A.5494 Weprin) that Governor Cuomo recently signed into law. WBASNY supports the intent of this legislation. However, we opposed this version of it because it changes the current process of balancing the interests of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents.
Although most adoptions today have some measure of openness, there are still cases in which privacy is necessary to protect the safety and identity of the birth parent. In particular, when a child is conceived through sexual assault or coercion and is placed for adoption, the birth mother should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Disclosure of the birth mother’s identifying information is tantamount to identifying and outing the victim of rape, without her consent, which is entirely inconsistent with current state laws.
The State should play no role in retraumatizing victims of sexual assault.
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) is dedicated to advocating for the protection of women’s and children’s rights and advancing the status of women in the legal profession and society. Our nearly 4,300 members include attorneys, judges, and law students working in all substantive areas of law at the local, state, federal, and international levels. With 20 chapters throughout New York State, WBASNY speaks as one voice to advocate for equal access to justice and gender equality. WBASNY is a non-governmental organization in association with the UN Department of Public Information and holds Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council, thus allowing WBASNY to substantially participate in work to support and advocate for the rights of women and children worldwide.