Bill would let grown adoptees get birth record

Published 7:47 am Wednesday, March 30, 2022

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Adults adopted as children in Louisiana may soon be able to obtain their original birth certificates without having to go to court.

Under current law, adoptees in the state cannot get the original birth certificate — which identifies their birth parents — unless they convince a judge of their need for it. The state House voted 76-21 Tuesday evening to make the certificate available to adoptees once they reach age 24. The Senate gets the bill next.

The Advocate reports that the strong vote for the bill came despite opposition from anti-abortion groups. The opponents said they fear that releasing their identity might lead some women to seek abortions.

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But the bill had anti-abortion lawmakers among its supporters. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Owen, a Republican from Rosepine, described himself as “staunch member of the life movement.” He said Alabama passed a similar measure two decades ago and has since seen a steeper decline in abortions.

“A grown person ought to be able to get their birth certificate,” said Owen, who said he is an adoptee who last year tried and failed to get his own birth records.

Rep. Alan Seabaugh said the current law is unfair to people who should have a right to their birth records but cannot afford a lawyer. “If you have money and can hire a lawyer, you can get your birth certificate now,” Seabaugh, a Shreveport Republican, said.

Owen amended the bill to allow a birth parent to submit a form to the state indicating whether they would like to be contacted. Their preference would be kept confidential in an envelope that an adoptee would receive once their birth records are unsealed.