SB77:Committee reviews access to adoption records


By Katie Nielson
Capital West News

SALT LAKE CITY — As the end of the Utah legislative session nears, senators and representatives are logging more hours in an effort to consider as much legislation as possible. One bill taken up in committee would alter current parameters of an adoption in Utah.

The bill received significant scrutiny after failing to advance last legislative session. Its would allow birth parents to make identifying information available so that a child could access previously restricted information about a birth parent.  Moreover, it would enable a birth parent to obtain more information about their adult child if available.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross

The bill did not pass in the 2014 legislative session, mainly because of certain details that representatives felt encouraged mothers in Utah to get abortions, rather than place their child for adoption. The changes to the bill, however, made sure it was in the best interest of the birth mother, adopted child, and the adoptive parents.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, has reviewed the bill and ironed out the impediments. “We got some really great feedback last year and have taken some time to make sure that we have everything in order this time around.”

Witness Laura Bunker, also testified on behalf of the bill. Bunker, president of United Families International, made sure to relay that she is in favor of this bill in its current form.

“We live in a world where legislation creates some framework, but social media and other ways of connecting mean that legislation cannot control everything,” Bunker said. “We feel like this is a good bill that creates some good framework and allows adult children to then find their past in a way that the adoptive parents can definitely work with them and be supportive as much as they can.”

The committed voted unanimously to favorable recommend the bill. Should the bill pass, more information could about a birth parent would be made available to an adult who was adopted in a closed adoption.


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