Thursday, May 19, 2011

Separating Myth From Fact RE NJ 1406

In a Bastardette blog, March 1o, 2011  Marley writes that she thinks she "kicked ass" (a situation others might describe as getting her ass kicked, or simply making an ass of herself) and calls her appearance at the Hard Rock Cafe, New York to bash the NJ legislation "mission accomplished." If that was what she set out to accomplish - though she admits not distributing the "manifesto" she had spent the night before writing -- and was worth her traveling to NY for -- I cannot imagine what failure would look like.

She briefly pats herself on the back and then, New Jersey being MaryAnne's Cohen's home state, she (MaryAnne) comments on this blog on March 15:
...for those who do no understand, a contact VETO and contact PREFERENCE are two different things. A contact preference, as exists in Oregon and some other real open states, is just that, a PREFERENCE, not binding and with no penalties. The adoptee still gets their full OBC with nothing whited out. They are also told that their mother "PREFERS" not to be contacted, but if they ignore that and make a contact there is no legal penalty. Most adoptees respect the mother's wishes, but that is a personal matter, not a legal one.

A contact or disclosure VETO prevents the release of the OBC or releases a damaged document with things like the mother's name whited out. If a contact veto is in place and the adoptee violates it, there are fines and other legal punishments in place under law.

I would be a little less upset about badly compromised adoptee access legislation if those supporting it were honest and did not refer to it as "adoptee rights" or "adoptee birthright" legislation, because it is not.

What it is is search and reunion legislation, sometimes with a mishmash of other things like medical records to further complicate things. It gives new legal rights of confidentiality to birth mothers that did not exist before under law, which most of us do not want. It is not about rights, but about permission from Mom and the state for some adoptees to get their own OBC. Such legislation admits this is not about civil or human rights for all adoptees, but about granting a favor to some.

The point is often made that "99%" of adoptees will still be able to get their OBC because so few mothers will file vetoes, so what's the harm? Another point also made is that "adoptees are dying" in large numbers without being reunited because mean people like BN insist on only clean bills.

Both these assertions are distortions and exaggerations. Even if your point of view is about reunions, not rights,certainly more than 1% of birthmothers do not welcome contact, based on the experience of search results for many years, Yes, a majority want to be found, but nothing in the real world indicates that high a majority. Self-selected surveys are skewed, always....
Badly compromised bills such as those some want to pass in order to pass something/anything on their watch do more harm than working for more years to pass a clean bill. Look at the facts, and decide which kind of bill you favor for your state for years to come.
It is almost amusing that someone who knows not of what they speak, begins with "for those who do not understand"!  If you are going to criticize something it is best to understand it first.  It makes your criticism far more credible. And it is. after all, your home state, you'd think you'd take the time to understand a bill you are opposed to!

MaryAnne's 's distinction between contact and preference veto is correct. However, she first conveniently ignores or doesn't know that the veto in the NJ bill is limited to ONE YEAR. After that the bill is clean!

Secondly, she is likewise ignores or does not understand or know there is also a difference between an OPT-IN and and OPT-OUT veto. The NJ legislators vehemently favored a passive veto wherein mothers would have to take action to allow OBCs with their names to be released - OPTING IN. They pushed very hard for it and NJ-CARE pushed back, refusing to accept a bill with that provision. In the end, a compromise of a one year limited proactive OPT-OUT disclosure veto.

"Disclosure Veto" is apparently something MaryAnne is unfamiliar with, but is what this bill provides. Mothers are required to PROACTIVELY submit a certified letter requesting their name is redacted from the OBC.

Finally, contrary to MaryAnne's contention that the veto means no OBC, ALL NJ adoptees WILL get their OBC, albeit a precious few might have their mother's name redacted.

Is it optimal? No. However MaryAnne gives stats on percentages of mothers who want to be found versus those who are not welcoming. This falls under the heading of "lies, damned lies, and statistics." The number of mothers who welcome contact is different from the number or percent of mothers who take advantage of proactive opt-out vetoes in states that have him. That number is 1% or less!

The decision to accept this compromise was based on THAT and on 31 years of experience with the powers that be in NJ including opposition by a COALITION consisting of NCFA, the Bar Assoc., Catholic Conference and NJ-ACLU that NJ-CARE made a difficult decision to chance those few adoptees whose mothers would go to the trouble of writing a certified letter - or throwing ALL NJ adoptees under the bus for who knows how many more decades! if that's not bad enough that MaryAnne spouts off lies, myth and misconceptions...Marley adds her 2 cents after this comment by commenting:
Thanks for posting these Maryanne. I really don't understand what is so difficult to grasp about conditional access other than deformers and deactivists don't want to feel guilty about the people they are screwing over. The sickening display of sell-out at the Hard Rock was probably actually good but painful to experience Now we really know who our friends are; and they aren't in the so-called movement.
By not correcting one thing, Marley proves she is as clueless what it is she vehemently campaigns against as is MaryAnne!  It is frighteningly prophetic when she says "I really don't understand." Indeed she really does not understand and it seems difficult for BOTH of these self-appointed judges of other's work to "grasp" the facts of what they are objecting to. One can only wonder if they really object to the actual bill or just to their imaginings of what it is.   Guess they were both too busy complaining to actually read the bill A1406/S799. Unless they are intentionally being deceptive? But I doubt it!

Either way, I believe that anyone who was not there for the 31 years working on this and knowing the options has no right to complain!  I myself am not 100% thrilled with the bill, none of us are, but I participated very minimally in working on it and so I have the courtesy to respect those who did.

We were NOT cheering compromise at the Hard Rock or anywhere. It is what it is and it it was a difficult choice. It is far better than other states, including Marley's home state of Ohio which has one of the worst access laws in the nation - a law which eliminates all adoptees born between 1964 and 1996.  They complain about the NJ bill and those who worked on it when NJ-CARE refused to accept a year limited bill!

The argument that a bill cannot be revisited simply because no one has revisited an access bill YET, is bogus! It most certainly COULD be and it has just as much chance of passing as the did the original, it just needs a little bit of time between the first and a second go around and it needs people to do it! Instead of arguing it can't be done wouldn't it make more sense for Marley to TRY to fix the Ohio mess?  But that takes actual work, not just blah blah blah bitching and moaning and complaining!

Bottom line: Know what it is you are against!


maryanne said...

Way to go, Mirah! Ban me from your blog and quote me at length.

Mirah Riben said...

MORE LIES! Your comments were POSTED on May 15 and 17 on my Part II post! How is that banning you?!?

Again - know what it is you are complaining about for goodness sake! You really have a credibility issue - you are your own worst enemy and make yourself totally unbelievable with all your false claims. Or are you that forgetful of what you did two days ago? You are embarrassing yourself.

Anonymous said...

Mirah wrote:"And YOU, Mary Anne Cohen have been banned from commenting here because you ONLY comment in the negative and NEVER, EVER have anything to add to a constructive blog post." Ummm...who is forgetting what they wrote two days ago?

Mirah Riben said...

What this referred to, clearly, was that fact that MaryAnne had been banned in the past for her perpetual, unending negativity and argumentativeness and flaming me... but since I was responding to her comment(s) that I POSTED...I was OBVIOUSLY posting her nonsense again! She knows that!

Her comment here is totally ingenuous after having two or three comments posted within the last two days! And for all I know some of the anonymous ones - like this - are her as well!

Once again she is doing what she does best: Deferring attention from FACT to argue about NONSENSE and non-issues! Trying to get the heat off her writing an essay "explaining" to all something she had totally wrong. And whoever this anon is, if not her, is aiding her in this attempt to turn it around on me as is her pattern.

Aint working! Give it up, eh?

maryanne said...

You have a strange idea of what constitutes a fact. Yes, I am aware that those whose mother has requested a veto will receive an incomplete birth certificate with the mother's name whited out. This is not equal access to an undamaged document. All adoptees are not treated equally under this law.

I am also aware that mothers have a year to file this veto, and also that is conditional on family medical history being extorted from the mother as a condition of the state whiting out her name. Although there is a year to file, these vetoes stand until the mother rescinds them, if she ever does, so again, it is not equality, no matter how small or large the number if some adoptees are left out. It does not "become a clean bill" if some adoptees can never get a complete OBC.

There are also another class of adoptees excluded specifically from access to any information about themselves by this bill, Safe Haven babies, even though some of these babies are hospital births with information gathered about their background.

These are the fatal flaws of this bill as it is written and as it stands. It is not an equal access bill. It is not an "adoptee birthright bill" if not all adoptees in NJ are given the right. I did not make them up, they are not myths or lies. Go and re-read the bill as I did.

As to revisiting and fixing bad adoption bills, it has not been done yet. That is a fact. That it might be in the future is an opinion. As you well know, I worked on NJ legislation for 20 years before I left, so I have put in as much time and have as much right to an opinion on it as you or anyone else.

Mirah Riben said...

Good for you! You did your homework AFTER writing what you wrote and being called on it.

maryanne said...

I had read the bill before and none of this contradicts what I had believed, written or said previously. I "did my homework" before opposing this bill as it is written.

It is your interpretation of my words that is skewed, not my understanding of this bill.

Anonymous said...

Mirah, you preach about divisiveness but this is a pathetic attempt to stir up more animosity. It's hard to accept that you actually believe in people working together.

Mirah Riben said...


You weren't there, MaryAnne. They were. For whatever reason - no matter how compelling, you weren't there for the negotiating, the wrangling, the trying and trying. Neither was I. I did what I could. I testified, like you, when I could and in between I wrote letters and met with legislators when asked to. I am not happy with the bill. But the diff between me and you, Marley, et al. is that I believe because we weren't there we have no right to complain about the tough decisions that had to be made.

I admire those who WERE there - despite family or jobs or LIVES! I admire that they were there through thick and thin. I admire their undying dedication and tenacity and strength and I will NOT piss on their parade or call them horrible debasing names because they chose to risk a very few to save the rest, or even if you believe they simply made a bad decision when they were there and you and I weren't. That's it.

We will likely never agree, but we can disagree like the intelligent, civilized people we are and not name-calling immature rebel rousers or insight - even unintentionally - others to threataen violence!

When one mother is called a SLUT who should be shot because she lost a child to adoption, we all are! I am not filled with self-loathing -- nor do I wish I was never born -- which might allow me to accept that I am worthless because I am a mother who lost my child to adoption -- or even a mother who couldn't save her child from taking her life. I struggle and fight to keep afloat. I fight to hold my head high every day and will not be debased or have my comrades, my colleagues, my sisters spoken to as they have been without reacting back, because I think of the Neimoller quote.

All I ask is: Let's be civil about it. Name-calling is childish and it has led to threats of violence. Where does it end?

BN instigated the name-calling and escalated this into a war between those of us who are really all on the same team albeit with differing strategies or options presented to us. It's not necessary. It's not useful. It's not practical. It doesn't help anything to name-call AFTER THE FACT. It's sheer lunacy!

The civil war pitted brother against brother but not because one side wanted the slaves freed and to have total euqality in all phases of their lives all at once and the other side accepted that it would take time to integrate buses, and water fountains, schools,and end all racism without calling those who accepted that SELLOUTS or crackers or Jim Crows.

You want to continue justifying that flaws in the NJ bill warrant such behavior. I disagree. Nothing warrants the level of hostility and the never-ending on and on after-the-fact bellyaching. Just DO BETTER! Create a better bill! Initiate CLEAN, PURE legislation and get it passed! Put up or shut up!

I have spent far too much time responding to anger.

maryanne said...

I am not on Facebook so don't know anything about what goes on there and am not responsible for anyone's comments there. Don't try to draw me into that mess, it has nothing to do with me or my views on the NJ bill.

I do not speak for BN, I am just a member. I agree with their analysis of this bill, not with every single thing BN people do or say. I am friends with some people on both sides of this issue, and just because I disagree with them does not mean I disrespect them. Who appointed you the guardian of NJCARE folks To out and vanquish their "enemies"? You are doing their cause more harm than good.

I did not justify any sort of behavior, just stated my views on the bill, because I was provoked by your extensive quoting and misinterpretation of something I wrote. I do not think flaws in the NJ bill warrant anyone's bad behavior, nor do I feel I have behaved badly.

As to being "civil"; is "put up or shut up" civil discourse? Is accusing me of lying when I did not? Is banning me from your site, then saying you did not, civil? Yes, that one anon was me, the rest were not. I am not the only person on earth who disagrees with you, just one of the few with the guts to take you on.

You have spent far too much time attacking me and others, call it what it is. As to "anger", I must say I know nobody as perpetually angry as you.

Anonymous said...

I think I know someone who is angrier than Ms. Riben. That would be Maryanne. You're a joke, MAC. It's time to hang up your hat along with your other BN cronies. Your "way", like your tired arguments and constant denial are old and tired.

Mirah Riben said...

The only thing more INSANE are the Jews attacking Jews in NY state for where they pray!!
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