Measure Would Grant Adoptees Access to Birth Certificates, Family Medical Histories
TRENTON – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex, the vice chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, and the prime sponsor of legislation to allow adoptees in New Jersey to access medical history and birth records, issued the following statement after the Assembly approved the bill by a vote of 44-26, with 2 abstentions, receiving final legislative approval:
“At long last, adoptees in New Jersey are only one signature away from getting greater access to their original birth certificates and vital medical information. The road to legislative approval for this bill has been a long time coming, but the benefits of this legislation are worth the wait.
“So many adoptees know the value of what many of us who were raised by our biological parents take for granted – a family history. Knowledge of who your parents were, who your grandparents were – this is fundamental to some of the most basic questions of identity that we can have. And with the Governor’s signature, adoptees in the Garden State will finally have a right to know.
“I understand just how difficult this legislation is for people on either side of the issue. However, I firmly believe that this bill creates a fair compromise between adoptees’ right to know, and birth parents’ desire to retain their anonymity. If birth parents do not want to be contacted, they can opt out by providing medical information which most adoptees who have not found their birth family do not have access to. This information in turn would help adoptees make the best healthcare choices possible for themselves and their own families.
“I want to thank my fellow Senate sponsors – Senators Diane Allen and Loretta Weinberg, and Assembly sponsors – Assembly members Vincent Prieto, Joan M. Voss, L. Grace Spencer and Charles Mainor – all of whom have pushed so hard to advance this legislation through the Senate and General Assembly.
“I’m proud that we’ve finally been able to advance this legislation to final legislative passage, and I hope the Governor signs the bill into law quickly. Adoptees have waited for so long for this day, and it’s time to remove the veil of secrecy regarding birth records for people who simply want to know who they are and where they came from.”
The bill now heads to the Governor to be signed into law. It was approved by the Senate by a vote of 27-10 in March of last year.