– Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) has officially reintroduced legislation to reinstate adult adoptees’ rights to access their original birth certificate.
“We must once and for all remove this legal barrier, which keeps adoptees from rightful access to their heritage,” Benninghoff said.
Under current Pennsylvania law, adoptees may petition the courts for a copy of their birth records; however, that request may be denied by a judge, or certain birth information may be redacted.
Benninghoff’s legislation, House Bill 162
, would reinstate the right of adult adoptees who reach the age of 19, to apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate without redactions.
The legislation would allow birth parents to fill out a contact preference form to identify whether or not they wish to be contacted. Birth parents who submit contact preference forms, even those that choose “no contact” as their preference, would be required to provide medical information to be kept on file for the adoptee.
“While the Internet has dramatically increased both the adoptees and their biological parents’ ability to find each other, the government still prohibits them access to a simple piece of paper – their original birth certificate,” Benninghoff said. “I will remain committed to this fight until government no longer denies an adult the right to their own personal information. This is not about invading other people’s privacy, but is about allowing all Pennsylvanians to have equal treatment under the law.”
The bill must be reviewed and approved by the House Children and Youth Committee before it can be considered by the House as a whole. The legislation passed unanimously in the House last session; however, the 2013-14 legislative session expired before the legislation was taken up by the full Senate for consideration.
Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner