Open birth records
By The Tribune-Review
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Adoptees are among your family and/or friends. They're in my family — an adopted daughter and two sisters my mother released for adoption (being born in states having open birth record laws for adult adoptees enabled them to contact me).
I've done home studies for an adoption agency, counseled adolescent and adult adoptees, and been a foster parent for pregnant women planning on releasing their infants for adoption. This personal and work history showed me how much harm the secrecy surrounding adoption does by denying a significant portion of the adult population access to its medical and cultural history.
We all acknowledge the importance of our medical history. We are instructed to know it as part of our health care.
Pennsylvania adoptees — including my daughter — cannot fill out doctor forms. This has health implications for her.
The goal of state House Bill 162 is to allow Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees to obtain their original, factual birth certificates. It passed the House unanimously on Oct. 23.
HB 162 is now before the Senate Aging and Youth Committee. I urge you to support this bill by contacting state Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Montgomery County, committee chair; state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield, vice chair; and/or state Sen. LeAnna M. Washington, D-Philadelphia, minority chair.
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