Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Right NOT to Know?

Two adoptees in Argentina are fighting a court order requiring them to provide DNA samples to determine if they are related to any of the "disappeared" by Argentina's military junta, and then illegally adopted:

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo allege that Clarin owner Ernestina Herrera de Noble illegally adopted them 34 years ago with help from officials of the military junta. Hundreds of political dissidents were kidnapped and killed after giving birth in clandestine torture centers during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, and human rights groups believe the Noble Herreras' birth mothers were among them.

* * *

If the DNA shows a match to families of the disappeared, their very existence would serve as evidence — "object proof" as they put it — of a crime that could land their mother in prison, if lawyers can then show she knowingly accepted stolen babies.

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"If it is really true ... well, it's up to us to assimilate it, it's up to us to prepare ourselves and it's up to us to see what we want to do," [the daughter] said. "Only we will know how we'll feel."

* * *

But they say they have no need to know more about their birth families, not after 34 years developing their own identities.

"Our identity is ours. It's a private thing, and I don't think it's up to the state or the Grandmothers to come and tell us what is ours," Marcela said, referring to the prominent human rights group that works to identify infants stolen during the dictatorship.

"Despite this, they have tried for nine years to forcefully impose our genetic history on us," she added. "They don't listen to us, they don't respect us, they don't respect our timing."
This is a hard one. What do you think? Do the birth families have superior  rights to the adoptees here?  Does the governmental interest in investigating crime (by the military junta, by the adoptive mother) trump the rights of the adoptees here?

6 comments:

Von said...

Everyone has a right to their history and of course there are ways to get that DNA evidence that may not satisfy a court but would give ease to the adoptees.Hopefully the law works for them.

kerryanne said...

This is a tough one- very much so. I have to say though, forcing a person to give up a sample when they themselves are not accused of a crime is a slippery slope. On the one hand I would hope they would want to find out the truth (given the country's history) on the other, they have a right to say no. Really hard one.

Jessica Pegis said...

Nobody should impose anything on anyone. I think the gov't has a right to verify genetic history for the purpose of saying a crime was committed. But even if you learn of your genetic history it's up to you what to do with it. It's much like adoptees and their OBCs. They are entitled to the information but it's up to them what to do with it.

But it's interesting that the adoptees involved have no interest. Perhaps the context, the place, the trauma of war . . . made them less inclined to delve deeper. Whatever, it's their thing. No need to accuse them of being in a fog (not that this was stated here but this has been stated). I doubt very much that these two are in any type of fog.

Research-China.Org said...

There is little doubt that the adoptees should have the right to protect their "identities". If they have no interest in knowing, they should absolutely not be forced to submit DNA. But you knew that would be my answer, right Malinda? ;-)

Brian

Anonymous said...

I think that the adoptees have a point. However, knowing the history does not mean they have to change their feelings. They have a choice about what to do with the knowledge once they have it. Where was the choice for their birth parents? It may be a hard reality to accept, but if the people who raised them committed a crime, they still need to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

But are they adoptees? If they have been stolen against the wills of their real families then what do we call them?

I believe a DNA test should be enforced, if they don't wish to have contact with their families after that then worry about that when the issue comes up.

If the woman has knowingly accepted stolen children then that needs to be addressed as well.

Why is it ok to protect someone who knowingly took stolen children? What makes you feel like protecting someone who does that?