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Paul Rolly: Adoption bill killed on Gayle Ruzicka's questionable premise

Published March 12, 2013 7:22 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I wrote in Monday's column about a legislative bill that would make it easier for adopted children and their birth parents to have each other's contact information. It died because Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka didn't like it.

Ruzicka feared that if a single birth mother felt she could be contacted by her child later in life, she would be more likely to get an abortion. Turns out that premise is false.

But it was swallowed hook, line and sinker by Ruzicka's minions on the House Health and Human Services Committee. The committee voted unanimously to kill the bill.

Currently, if a birth mother wants the adoption to be open, she fills out paperwork to make that happen. The proposed change in HB148, sponsored by Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, would simply switch the emphasis so the adoption would be open unless the birth mother wanted it closed. Then, she would fill out paperwork to ensure those wishes.

Several professionals in the adoption community, and birth mothers who gave up their children, gave emotional testimony in favor of the bill. Ruzicka's opinion trumped them all. Her concern that it would encourage more abortions was echoed by some members of the committee.

Research by the American Adoption Congress shows just the opposite.

The organization says that data from states where there is access reveals that, if it has had any effect on adoptions and abortions, it was to increase adoptions and decrease abortions.

It further states that since adult adoptees in Oregon and Alabama obtained access to their original birth certificates in 2000, abortions have declined much faster in those states than in the nation as a whole. Between then and 2003, the last year for which national data are available, resident abortions declined 10 percent in Oregon and 13 percent in Alabama, but only 2 percent in the nation as a whole.

The site adds that workers at pro-life centers such as Birthright report that young women today will only choose adoption if they are assured of updates or contact with the adoptive family. In a national survey of 1,900 women having abortions, not one woman cited the inability to choose a confidential adoption as a factor in her decision, according to the 2003 study by the Guttmacher Institute.

But hey, why would the legislators ask for any studies or research before making their decision when they have Gayle Ruzicka to guide them?

A legislator's overreaction? • When the president of a local title company wrote an email urging Rep. Rich Cunningham, R-South Jordan, to oppose a bill prohibiting a state entity from selling any properties unless it charges fair market value, he mistakenly addressed the legislator as "Senator Cunningham."

This is the response he got.

"First of all I am not a Senator. Therefore I believe your research is flawed!!!!!!!!!!!! So I urge you to do your homework before you ever email me again."

Note, that according to the good representative, the concerned citizen's research wasn't just flawed or even flawed!!! It was flawed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or, put another way: FLAWED.

Maybe Rep. Cunningham was having a bad day. But he didn't even bother to address the issue at hand.

And remember, as he made very clear, he is a representative — at least by title.

prolly@sltrib.com