Decades in the making, two companion bills that will allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates were introduced in the Ohio House (HB 61) and in the Ohio Senate (SB 23) on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. There are two sponsors in each body – Senator Bill Beagle (R) and Senator Dave Burke (R) in the Senate, and Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R) and Representative Nickie Antonio (D) in the House.
“The bills are carefully crafted to allow individuals – who were adopted between 1964 and 1996 and who are now adults – access their original birth certificates upon request. Currently these adoptees have no direct mechanism for doing so,” says Adoption Network Cleveland Executive Director Betsie Norris. The bill also creates a way for birthparents from that era to have a voice and indicate their preference regarding contact, and to update their medical history on file for the adoptee. The bill would take effect one year after it is signed into law and allows the Division of Vital Statistics 90 days to fill a request.
Adoptees who were born before 1964 and after 1996 already enjoy nearly unfettered access to their original birth records.
Many states have changed their laws in the last 13 years in this way, starting with Oregon in 2000. This bill uses the successful models built in these states to help move Ohio forward in this regard.
There is a hearing on HB 61 in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow, March 13, and a hearing on SB 23 in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee next Wednesday, March 20. All are welcome to attend.
More information can be found at www.AdoptionEquityOhio.org and at http://www.adoptionnetwork.org/roar-2013.aspx.