Restore Access to Original Birth Certificates
Access Connecticut supports Senate Bill 113, An Act Concerning Access to Original Birth Records By Adult Adopted Persons, which would restore the right of every adopted adult citizen in Connecticut to obtain a copy of her original, true birth certificate. The bill would build on a law passed in 2014 that has worked successfully and as intended.
What the bill does
Senate Bill 113 allows all adoptees, including persons adopted before October 1, 1983, and their adult children or grandchildren, to obtain uncertified copies of their own original birth certificate from the registrar of the town where they were born.
Why the bill is necessary
The legislature should approve Senate Bill 113 for the following reasons:
- Provides equal protection under the law and ends discrimination. Adopted persons should be treated fairly and consistently and rules should be applied to them uniformly, like any other ordinary person who can obtain his original birth certificate. Currently, state law discriminates between adopted persons and non-adopted persons and between older and younger adoptees. Under current law, pre-1983 adult adoptees cannot obtain their original birth certificate until their biological parents are deceased. Why should a state official be able to view the birth certificate but the adoptee cannot? On what basis does the state rely for an agency to possess a document containing information about a citizen that he cannot access?
- Affirms a human and civil right. It is a basic human and civil right for every person to know his biological origins. Birth mothers were not promised confidentiality and were advised that their identity could be obtained by their adult offspring but would not be available to the public.
- Evolving change in policy to update the law and improve efficiency. State policy has shifted gradually over the years as society’s understanding of adoption and its impact has changed. The bill merely implements the natural evolution of the law, reflecting our modern, enlightened understanding of adoption policies, changes in society and technology and their impact over time. It would streamline government efficiency, provide transparency and enhance regulatory consistency.
- Protects the health of adoptees and their children. Senate Bill 113 would facilitate adoptees’ access to medical health history information, which they cannot readily access like non-adoptees.
- Recent experience and authority. Senate Bill 113 would restore a right that existed until 1975 for all adult adoptees in Connecticut, when a floor amendment approved without notice or hearing sealed birth records for adoptees. Access was once the law.
- Allows birth parents to privately communicate with adoptees. The law requires the Department of Children and Families to provide birth parents with a contact preference form allowing them to privately express their preference for contact.
- Protects privacy more than consumer DNA testing or social media. A private, confidential communication between an adoptee and a birth parent is better than possible public disclosure by consumer DNA testing or social media.
- Widespread support. Data and surveys show that the vast majority of birth mothers, adoptive parents, adult adoptees and Connecticut residents support access.
Please contact Karen Caffrey, co-President of Access Connecticut Now, Inc., at (860) 306-0900, or Cindy Wolfe Boynton, co-President of Access Connecticut Now, Inc., at (203) 214-7554 with any questions or for additional information about the bill.
February 11, 2020