Sunday, January 20, 2013

House bill will restore birth certificate access to Pennsylvania born adoptees

For immediate release

YORK, PA--January 19, 2013--A bill currently available for consideration by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, if passed, would result in thousands of adult adoptees realizing equal treatment under law when it comes to their birth certificates. Introduced by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre County, 171st Legislative District) and currently co-sponsored by 27 of his colleagues, HB 162 would restore the rights of all Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees to obtain their original, factual birth certificates.

"The Adoptee Rights Coalition mission is quite simple. We support the complete and unconditional restoration of an adopted person's right to access their Original Birth Certificate." says Jeff Hancock, president of the Adoptee Rights Coalition. "HB 162 provides for a complete unconditional restoration of access for adopted persons that is equal and fair for everyone. The ARC gladly endorses Pennsylvania's HB 162."

When a child is adopted in the state of Pennsylvania, the adoptee's original, factual birth certificate is altered--or amended--to make it appear as though the adoptive parents actually gave birth to the adoptee. There is no indication on the amended birth certificate that an adoption even took place. The original, factual birth certificate is sealed away and not legally recognized. Currently, Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees (age 18+) are not allowed to access their original birth certificate. In contrast, all non-adopted adults born in Pennsylvania can obtain a copy of their original birth certificates through a simple request process.

Prior to 1984, adult adoptees born in Pennsylvania were able to access their original birth certificates just as all non-adopted adults who were born in Pennsylvania. This equality under law changed upon the enactment of Act 195, The Adoption Act of 1984, which took away the right for adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates. Because of The Adoption Act of 1984, all Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees have been treated differently from all Pennsylvania non-adopted adults under law for over two decades.

The Adoptee Rights Coalition (ARC) fully supports HB 162 and Rep. Benninghoff.  The Adoptee Rights Coalition is a national, grassroots group of adoptees, original parents and adoptive parents that supports legislation giving all adopted adults unconditional restored access to their own birth certificates.

For more information on the Adoptee Rights Coalitions, its participation in the National Conference of State Legislatures and birth certificate access in other states,
Press Contact:

Julie Stromberg
Adoptee Rights Coalition

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