This is constantly bantered about when it comes to adoptee rights. Many folks site the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision. I want to revisit this court decision. I don't think many folks have actually read this thing especially the legislators, Right to Life, and Pro-choice groups. It is about the definition of the right to privacy and the definition of personhood.
In Griswold vs. Connecticut, the right to privacy is first addressed which has since led to the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court Decision. I will bring up Griswold in a minute but I want to show where personhood is defined within the Roe vs. Wade decision.
Definition of personhood:
"The same court recently has held again that the State's abortion statutes are not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad. Thompson v. State (Ct. Crim. App. Tex. 1971), appeal docketed, No. 71-1200. The court held that "the State of Texas has a compelling interest to protect fetal life"; that Art. 1191 "is designed to protect fetal life"; that the Texas homicide statutes, particularly Art. 1205 of the Penal Code, are intended to protect a person "in existence by actual birth" and thereby implicitly recognize other human life that is not "in existence by actual birth"; that the definition of human life is for the legislature and not the courts; that Art. 1196 "is more definite than the District of Columbia statute upheld in [United States v.] Vuitch" (402 U.S. 62); and that the Texas statute "is [410 U.S. 113, 120] not vague and indefinite or overbroad." A physician's abortion conviction was affirmed."
Do you see this? It defines personhood as a person who is in existence by actual birth. At birth, the child has the same rights as the natural parents. They may not be able to make decisions for themselves but they still have the same rights.
"Griswold vs. Connecticut case, 381 U.S. 479 , the Court held a Connecticut birth control law unconstitutional. The Griswold decision can be rationally understood only as a holding that the Connecticut statute substantively invaded the "liberty" that is protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
" As so understood, Griswold stands as one in a long line of pre-Skrupa cases decided under the doctrine of substantive due process. Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
In other words, the state and federal governments can't make laws that interfere with our liberties. These cases gave women the right to birth control and contraception. These cases also gave women the right to choose what is best for themselves and their families.
It even went further with this:
"We recognized "the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person [410 U.S. 113, 170] as the decision whether to bear or beget a child." That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. "Certainly the interests of a woman in giving of her physical and emotional self during pregnancy and the interests that will be affected throughout her life by the birth and raising of a child are of a far greater degree of significance and personal intimacy than the right to send a child to private school protected in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925), or the right to teach a foreign language protected in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923)." Abele v. Markle, 351 F. Supp. 224, 227 (Conn. 1972)."
In the Supreme Court of Tennessee At Nashville, the plaintiffs argues that they had a vested right in the confidentiality of their identity under the law. First and foremost, there is no legal document ever proving this confidentiality. Second, the natural parents relinquish all rights including the right to privacy and confidentiality. The adoption is not sealed at relinquishment but at the finalization of the adoption. The natural parents don't have any rights at this time. Let alone a vested right to privacy. As Roe vs. Wade and Griswold vs. Connecticut, the right to privacy and 14th amendment due process laws do not include the right to give a child up for adoption.
These plaintiffs also claimed that the new adoptee access law also violated their right to privacy in regards to procreation and family. In previous definitions of the right to privacy, women are practicing their right to privacy in regards to contraception, parenting, and abortion. With adoption, there is another person who has rights as well. In the previously mentioned circumstances, it only regarded a woman's choices in regards to her body. Those rights don't infringe upon any other individual. With adoption, an adoptee should have the same rights as the mother.
When you look at birth certificate laws, non adopted individuals and their parents have access to the birth certificate. What many normal folks don't realize is that even the natural parents don't have access to the original birth certificate in most states.
In the Tennessee decision, the justices decided that the right of adoption is statutory. It was created to protect the interests of children who had parents who for whatever reason were unable to care for those children. In other words, adoption is a choice. It will not ever be a fundamental right because then it would infringe on parental rights and parents' right to privacy. No one individual should be required to relinquish their child without due process. The other interesting point is if a child is relinquished and never adopted, that child still has access to their birth certificate.
So when you hear the so called promise of confidentiality, truthfully no one has it. We just have the right to be free from governmental interference. If you think about this, adoptees right to privacy is being violated.