By Sadef Ali Kully
An adoptee legislation bill will finally an adopted person who has reached the age of 18 to request, a non-certified copy of his or her birth certificate and/or medical historyfrom the Department of Health, lawmakers and adoptee rights advocacy groups announced last week.
The Adoptee Bill of Rights, currently has 90 bipartisan sponsors, led by state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows), who stood with several sponsoring Assembly members in support of the new bill.
“This long overdue legislation, once passed. Currently, adoptees may only obtain original birth certificates through a cumbersome judicial process or by hiring an often expensive private investigator,” said Weprin,.
He said he would continue to fight for the passage of the Adoptee Bill of Rights as a way to provide equal access to medical history and information to all adult adoptees in the state.
Adoptees normally have a birth certificate that has been amended to contain data about themselves and their adoptive parents.
“One of the most routine questions any doctor asks during a regular visit is about the patient’s family medical history,” Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) said. “Unfortunately, for adoptees there is no easy answer: they don’t whether their mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45 or whether their father had high blood pressure. This information is critical to preventing and diagnosing disease and could prove life-saving.”
New Jersey and Ohio recently revised their laws to give adult adoptees easier access to their original birth documents, while many states still require adoptees to go to court for permission to unseal their records.
“Every adopted person is entitled to a record of their birth,” said Carolyn D’Agostino, coordinator for the New York State Adoptee Equality, a group run by adoptees for adoption reforms in New York state. “They are entitled to know their ancestry, their medical history, and their heritage.”
Original birth records usually provide the name of the biological mother and sometimes the biological father.
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