By Bob Katzen
The Senate 40-0, (House on a voice vote without a roll call), approved and Gov. Baker signed legislation giving equal access to original birth certificates to all persons born in Massachusetts.
Under prior law, adoptees born between 1974 and 2008 were unable to obtain original birth certificates without a court order that also unseals their record. The measure closes this gap and allows adopted individuals over the age of 18 or the adoptive parents of a child under 18 to access the adoptee’s original birth certificate without the unsealing of the information.
“The Joint Committee on Public Health heard powerful testimony from adoptees who could not access their original birth certificate due to a current loophole in state law addressed by this legislation,” said Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate Chair of the Committee on Public Health.
“The Senate took a major step in assuring equality by guaranteeing that all adoptees, regardless of when they were born, will have access to their original birth certificate,” said Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), sponsor of the bill. She noted that she has waited six years for its passage and that so many have waited their entire lives. “We tell them the wait is over and they matter,” said Gobi.
“Many adoptees have been waiting their whole lives to learn their history, and I am honored to have played a part in helping them access their original birth certificates,” said Sen. Joan Lovely (D-Salem). “For the sake of preserving our health and well-being, it is crucial to know what physical or mental health conditions to which we may be predisposed. By giving all adoptees born in Massachusetts access to their original birth certificates, this legislation closes a 34-year gap granting generations of individuals medical knowledge they have otherwise been denied.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes