On Monday, May 4, 2015, William E. “Bill” Baroni, former N.J. Republican Senator, law professor, and adoptee who Chaired the Human Services Committee that chose to submit the Opening of Adoption Records Bill to a vote by the senate, was named in a nine-count indictment on charges that include conspiracy and fraud.
As Chair of the Human Services Committee and as an adoptee—adopted as an infant through an arrangement with Catholic Charities—Fmr. Senator Baroni wielded tremendous power toward the passage of the ill-conceived Adoption Records Bill. Despite his extreme personal prejudice and legal requirement to recuse himself in accordance with the Conflicts Law, Senator Baroni abused his power and authority to push this legislation forward into law. As a result of Senator Baroni’s actions, hundreds of innocent New Jersey women—victims of catastrophic reproductive nightmares—have been re-traumatized. The victims of this law, whose confidential traumatic history and personal medical information will be made public in 2017, face the threat of dire emotional and physical harm from invasive strangers, as well as from family members unable to cope with such explosive revelations.
Fmr. Senator Baroni is not alone in his blatant disregard of sexually, reproductively traumatized women. In her official capacity as a member of the Human Services Committee, Senator Diane Allen—a principal sponsor of the Opening of Adoptions Records Bill--refused requests to institute “opt out” protection for victims of confidential, catastrophic pregnancies. Should victims of this bill not comply with all demanded information, their names will be released to the public. In a display of further arrogance, Senator Allen became so enthralled with rap artist and adoptee, Run DMC, as he testified at a public committee hearing, that she called for an immediate unanimous vote to pass the bill out of committee onto the senate, refusing all opponents the opportunity to speak.*
This reckless bill destined to bring harm and injury into the lives of countless innocent women—many of them now elderly who as juveniles were impregnated by rape—was championed by these two influential bureaucrats: one a criminal adoptee and the other a star-struck misogynist.
When the official governmental letter from Governor Chris Christie—a bully of shameless, outrageous proportions whose sister is adopted—arrives in my mailbox demanding highly personal, confidential information, I will remember who initiated this coercion: a criminal adoptee, a star-struck misogynist, and an outright bully. When low-level social workers, the hammers of governmental invasion, stand on my doorstep, clipboards in hands, I will remember who sent them to intimidate me: a criminal adoptee, a star-struck misogynist, and an outright bully.
I will remember that a criminal adoptee, a star-struck misogynist, and an outright bully do not get to define my past or my future. Nor will I be intimidated into betraying myself or my family members by any criminal, adoptee, misogynist, or bully harassing me with questions they have no business asking and I have no obligation or responsibility to answer.
Every victim of a confidential reproductive nightmare slated to receive an ultimatum from the New Jersey state government in 2017 regarding her private reproductive trauma, must remember that she is not a criminal even though she is being treated like one. She also must know—regardless of the information she does or does not reveal about herself and her family; whatever she does or does not acquiesce to—that once the sealed adoption records are opened, her name is forevermore accessible in the public domain and any possibility of maintaining her confidentiality is over, despite “promises” by the government. To that end, whatever private history and medical information she surrenders to the State to be forwarded to a third party becomes like feathers in the wind. The State does not have the ability to protect her privacy once it unseals her record and/or releases her confidential information into the public arena.
The only people with the ultimate power to control this fiasco are the victims of this bill themselves. It will be up to each individual to create and manage her own future on her own terms, and not allow a criminal adoptee, a star-struck misogynist, and an outright bully to make decisions for her.
Fmr. Senator Baroni stands as evidence of the abuse of power, of the apparent willingness of those with undue influence to place even school children at risk. This high level of unmitigated authority reiterates the absolute necessity that every victim of sexual, reproductive trauma must find her own voice and empower herself. There is no other option.
* See Woman In Hiding, A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets & Other Evil Deeds, pgs. 285-286