Assemblyman David Weprin (D-24th A.D.), members of the “Unsealed Initiative”, adoptees and birth mothers gathered at the steps on City Hall on Sunday March 6 to voice their support for the passage of Assemblyman Weprin’s legislation; the “Adoptee Bill of Rights” (A.2003).
“The passage of the "Bill of Adoptee Rights" will provide adult adoptees with access to information that a non-adopted person has a legal right to obtain” said Assemblyman Weprin. In New York, an adoptee cannot access his or her original birth certificate unless the adoptee goes through judicial means, and even then, the outcome does not guarantee that access will be granted. This bill will allow adult adoptees to request and receive a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate and/or a medical history form if available.
“Having represented families in high profile adoption disclosure cases, I have seen first hand the anxiety and pain that lack of history can cause in the adoptees and their families. It is clear to me that our present law is archaic and in dire need of change. I fully support Mr. Weprin’s efforts and will continue to work closely with him on this important issue.” stated Assemblymember Matthew Titone, co-sponsor of Assemblyman Weprin’s bill.
“Throughout history adoption has been known as the kindness of strangers but in today's world these old father knows best laws, denying adult adoptees the right to their original birth certificates are unkind to adoptees in need of answers. Adoptees often suffer their grief in silence. The right to know is imperative for all adult adoptees,” stated Joyce Bahr, President of the Unsealed Initiative.
Adoptees will be able to gain knowledge of their religious and ethnic heritage; as well as have access to medical information that may be necessary for preventive health care and illnesses that are linked to family history and genetics. A birth parent may seek to protect his or her privacy by completing a contact preference form that would be sent to the adult adoptee upon a request for a non-certified copy of an original birth certificate. The contact preference form provides the birth parent with the option to be contacted by the adoptee, through an intermediary or to not be contacted at all.
“The passage of this bill is long over-due and will set up much needed parameters for biological parents and adoptees to gain access to vital information of importance,” said Assemblyman Weprin.
Assembly Bill A.2003 is presently being reviewed by the Assembly Health Committee.