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Q1 – Request If you opened your email program and found two messages from a friend or co-worker, one with the subject line “Something You Should Know!!!” and the other with the subject line “DO NOT OPEN PREVIOUS MESSAGE, EVER,” would you open the first message?

A1 – No. I would delete them both.

Q2 – Gambling Earlier this week, a professional tennis player was suspended for nine months and fined $60,000 by the Men’s Pro Tennis Tour for betting on tennis matches. Thirty-year-old Alessio Di Mauro, who is ranked 124th in the world rankings, was found to have bet on the matches of other professional players, but not his own. Do you think professional athletes should be allowed to bet on sporting events like the rest of us — so long as they do not bet on their own games, matches or results — or should professional athletes never be allowed to bet on the outcome or statistics related to any college or professional sporting match?

A2 – Athletes and coaches should be absolutely banned from betting on sporting events of any sort, kind or nature in order to avoid any actual conflicts of interest or even the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. The rationale is simple and applicable in many other professions/fields, as well, including the law. When you select a profession, you do so with the understanding that there are trade-offs and compromises — things you are going to have to give up in order to reap the benefits of being a member of that profession. For athletes, betting is one of them.

Q3 – Secret Societies If you were offered membership in a highly selective yet secret society — one whose members were rumored or shown to be significantly influential in government, banking, law, international affairs, the arts and entertainment, and more — would you accept?

That would depend upon the organization’s goals and the rationale given for the secrecy. I would probably not join because I’m hard-pressed to envision any justification that would be compelling enough for me to get involved, but I would consider the reasons stated and make a determination based upon my own independent investigation of the organization, its members and operational policies.

Q4 – Adoption Records Most states prohibit adoptees from obtaining birth certificates and other information from their court adoption files unless a judge approves their request. However, a recent study by a Boston-based adoption research institute says open records for adoption after the age of 18 does not result in decreased adoptions or fractured adoptive families. According to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, sealing adoption records “is a living symbol of the bad old days, when we hid unwed mothers, and stereotypes about them ruled the day.” The Donaldson Institute advocates reshaping public policy to address what it sees as: 1) a basic civil rights issue, and 2) a necessary step to provide access to important information about an individual’s mental and physical health history. Others, like the National Council for Adoption, advocate a “mutual consent” policy rather than mandated open records. What rights, if any, do you feel should be extended to people of age when it comes to gaining access to their adoption records?

These are complicated legal and emotional issues.  First and foremost, the right to privacy is implicated.  A woman should be able to give a child up for adoption and maintain her privacy.  If she does not want to be found by that child when he/she becomes an adult, her desires must be respected.  It is extremely upsetting for many women to be tracked down many years later by an individual with whom they have no relationship.  Of course, many adoptees want to know why they were placed with an adoptive family and obtain relevant health information, and their right to understand their own genetic history must also be respected.  Having never been involved in the adoption process, it seems to me that the birth mother could provide as much information about her family health history as she knows at the time that the adoption takes place.  That data could be given to the adoptive parents for safekeeping and shared with the child’s medical providers and the child, as necessary and appropriate.  Additionally, it seems that with all of the technology available today, the parties could be assigned an account number and the adoptive mother could update a computer database from time to time over the years.  For instance, if she or a member of her family is diagnosed with a disease, disorder or condition that has a genetic component, she could log on and provide that information using the account number.  The adoptive family could be notified of that development, also using the account number.  Barring the implementation of such a system, mutual consent seems to me to be the only reasonable solution.  I do not believe that open record-keeping will not have a chilling effect upon adoption and increase the number of abortions upon demand performed in this country, a tragic result that can and must be avoided.

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