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Adoptees Can Now Obtain Their Birth Certificates in New York

Access to your personal information – who you are and where you come from – is a human right; it’s been wrong for the government to deny you access to it. Connecting adoptees with birth parents works; in the overwhelming majority of cases, these reunions are cherished by both parties. And people need their personal and medical histories. I’m proud to have co-sponsored this bill and admire my Assembly colleague David Weprin’s persistence in getting it passed. Here’s an article from the New York Post about the new law:h

New Law Lets Adoptees Obtain Birth Certificates in NY

by Bernadette Hogan

People who were adopted will soon be able to obtain their birth certificates, under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The legislation allows any adoptee upon turning 18 to apply to their local or state health department to get an original copy of their certified birth certificate. Such a request had previously been denied.

That would allow adopted people to figure out who their biological parents are as well as providing valuable information about their family’s medical history.

The law also removes a government agency’s ability to impose any restrictions on an individual’s attempt to obtain the information.

“Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records — it’s a basic human right,” said Cuomo.

“For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly denied access to this information and I am proud to sign this legislation into law and correct this inequity once and for all.”

Cuomo vetoed a different version of the bill in 2017 despite its passage in both legislative chambers.

“Why should an adult have any less rights than any non-adoptee? It has major psychological implications, and that simple piece of paper is part of their DNA and really belongs to them,” the bill’s Assembly sponsor David Weprin (D-Queens) told The Post.

The law officially takes effect Jan. 15, 2020, but in the meantime the commissioner of the state health department will be directed to sort out the new rules and regulations for how to comply.

New York will become the 10th state to provide the documents with unrestricted access.