Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Patt Morrison for Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:39




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

Should adoptees have access to birth parents or should birth parents’ anonymity be protected?

The birth certificates of children who were given up for adoption have been locked up in metal filing cabinets in most states since the earlier part of this century—neither the adoptees, adopted parents, nor birth parents have access to them. Within the past few years, however, six states have passed legislation to open sealed birth certificates to all parties involved. For decades, adoptees have fought nation-wide to be able to see their own birth certificates.


The most recent state to take up the issue is New Jersey, where a bill, which passed the legislature but was conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, would have given adoptees the right to their birth certificate and to contact their birth parents. Under the bill, women who gave a child up for adoption would fill out a preference form as to whether she would like to be contacted directly, through an intermediary, or not at all—and the child, with this information and his birth certificate, would decide whether or not he would contact his mother, independent of her wishes. However, there were some concerns that allowing a child to contact his birth parents, even if the parents did not want to be contacted, could have serious negative consequences.


Therefore, Gov. Christie vetoed the bill and changed it so that adoptees do not get automatic access to their birth certificates and birth parents' names. Gov. Christie’s version of the bill includes a confidential intermediary from an adoption agency who would search for the birth parents and asks them if they would like to be contacted; if they decline, the intermediary collects a medical history form from the parents. If the intermediary does not find the parent after 12 months of a “diligent” search, the adoptee is given his birth certificate. And for future adoptions, mothers will be given a form to choose if they prefer complete sharing, sharing through an intermediary, or only medical sharing.


Adoptees and adoptee advocates are upset about Gov. Christie’s conditional veto and argue that access to one’s birth certificate—and thereby the names of one’s birth mother and father—is a basic civil right. They say that until adoptees have the same access as non-adopted citizens, they, to not fault of their own, don’t have equal rights. On the side of these adoptees is a vocal group of women who gave children up for adoption before abortion was legal—these women claim that they were never promised anonymity and that most birth mothers long to meet their children. On the other side is the New Jersey State Bar Association and the ACLU New Jersey, which believe protecting a birth mother’s anonymity is important and are grateful for the Governor’s veto. They’ve expressed concern about adoptees searching for their birth parents blinding and have raised the question of what age an adoptee is ready for such information. Also vocal on the issue are the Catholic Conference and New Jersey Right to Life, which are grateful that Gov. Christie, who is Catholic himself, heard their concern about abortions increasing if birth mothers lose anonymity rights. How old is old enough to find out who your birth parents are—and possibly meet them? And should this be done through an intermediary or child-to-parent directly? Will abortions increase if mothers who give up their child for adoption are not allowed to remain anonymous? And will parents be more hesitant to adopt?



Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit organization devoted to improving adoption policy and practice



James Goodness, director of communications of the Archdiocese of Newark






2:06 – 2:30

A hefty price tag comes with increasingly frequent extreme weather events

Every day it seems as though a new natural disaster is reported on the news—flooding in North Dakota, a tornado shaking Alabama, a wildfire consuming Arizona—but the increasing prevalence of “extreme weather” and its causes are seldom fully addressed. Though we all know that individual environmental events are expensive to clean up after (for example, Hurricane Katrina came with an $81 billion price tag), the cumulative costs are not always recognized, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research only recently calculated the annual $485 billion spent on managing the consequences of extreme weather. The Center also found that particular industries, such as agriculture, mining and utilities, as well as states can suffer from volatile weather conditions, which can powerfully affect economic output. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also reported an increase of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the United States’ “normal temperature” since the 1970s, confirming the reality of global warming for some researchers, and dispelling any doubt that it will continue to get hotter. How wild will the weather be in the coming months, and how much will it cost? Join Patt for a discussion of our changing climate, and weigh in with your environmental questions and comments. 



Jay Gulledge, senior scientist and director of the science and impacts program at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change



John Carey, science journalist and author of a recent 3-part series on extreme weather and climate change published on Scientific American.com



Jeffrey Lazo, lead author of study on the costs of extreme weather events; director of the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research





2:30 – 2:58:30

Kids on trains, planes and in restaurants: Is there a thin line between a brat and a bad day?

CNN columnist LZ Granderson has no patience for your unruly “brats,” especially if they use his plane seat as a jungle gym. He’s not as enamored with your kids as you are and expects some level of common courtesy and good parenting when the little buggers are out in public.  Are parents these days afraid to raise their voice or offer a stiff punishment for bad behavior? Has our enlightened age of catering to a child’s every emotional need made parents too soft?  Do too many parents lack the constitutional fortitude to utter the magic word “NO” to their kids?  NO, it’s not okay to scream at the top of your lungs in a restaurant. NO, it’s not okay to roll around screaming on the floor because you didn’t get the toy you wanted. And NO it’s never okay to slap your mommy or daddy in defiance. You might expect Granderson’s tough stance to be because he’s not a parent, but you’d be wrong.  He thinks discipline is underrated and should be employed early and often because your kids may be the center of your universe, but they aren’t the center of the universe.  



LZ Grandreson, CNN columnist and author of “Permissive parents: Curb your brats”




Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
89.3 KPCC-FM | 89.1 KUOR-FM | 90.3 KPCV-FM
626.583.5171, office
415.497.2131, mobile
jserviss@kpcc.org / jserviss@scpr.org


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