Update 16: Nov. 21, 2013
ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013
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Editorial: Ohio should open birth certificate records to adoptees
November 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM, updated November 20, 2013 at 6:01 PM
Ohio Senate leadership that's holding up a final vote on an adoption reform bill needs to let the bill -- which passed the House 96-1 -- go to the full Senate for a vote.
Senate Bill 23 would allow all adoptees to have equal access to their birth certificates so they can know more about their biological families and their family medical.
The current law is unfair and unreasonable because it arbitrarily limits adoptees' access to their original birth certificates based on the date of their adoption.
Those adopted before 1964 and after Sept. 18, 1996, have easy access to their birth certificates, according to a law passed in 1996.
Others adopted between Jan. 1, 1964, and Sept. 18, 1996, must petition probate court, a more cumbersome process.
That 32-year gap makes no sense at all, yet Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina, says the bill has not been brought to the floor because he is concerned that open access to birth certificates might invade the privacy rights of biological parents.
Ironically, Faber sponsored the bill but now says he wants to seal birth records for biological mothers promised confidentiality. Medical history would be made available to adoptees.
A researcher who testified in hearings in Columbus said she could find no instances where mothers were given this promise in writing, but this is still a difficult, emotional issue. No one wants to cause more pain to biological parents who felt they were doing the right thing in putting their child up for adoption.
Yet unwanted contact is always a hazard in the age of Internet searches and Google. At least this Senate bill allows biological parents to indicate if they want to be contacted, a measure that is not available under the current law.
The bill has plenty of supporters. Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization, dropped its opposition after determining that there has been an enthusiastic embrace of open adoptions by biological mothers.
With that in mind, the Senate ought to make it easier for all adoptees to get their records. Pass this bill.