Veil over birth records should be lifted

A large number of people have been touched by adoption in some way, many of them proponents of allowed access to their original birth records. Those proponents are gradually joining forces to speak out against secrecy. I’m writing this as an adoptee who, for years, battled for release of my records so I could learn the truth about my past.

Adoptees’ lives don’t begin at birth; they began upon adoption by strangers, whether at age 1, 5, 10, etc., when a new birth certificate is issued reflecting that they were born to their adoptive parents. Their real beginnings are kept secret by an adoption agency.

In the 2008 legislative session, a bill was introduced at the urging of an organization called Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform (MNCAR) that would allow adoptees 18 and older access to their original birth certificates. That bill made it to Gov. Pawlenty, who was ready to sign it until an adoption agency turned him against it. Undaunted, on Feb. 21, 2013, MNCAR introduced a slightly revised bill (H.F. 848 S.F. 981) that would allow the same access.

This bill states: An adopted person who is aged 18 years and over, or a person related to the adopted person if the adopted person is deceased, may request the state registrar to provide  the adopted person or a person related to the adopted person with a noncertified copy of  the adopted person’s original birth record.

As in many matters, this issue has its opponents. However, several states that allow access (and their numbers are growing) have statistically proved the arguments of the opposition to be bogus. Example: Allowing access would cause an increase in abortions. A decrease has been reported. Regarding birth parents’ rights to privacy, some judges handling court cases have ruled that adoptees’ rights to open access is reflected in the U.S. Constitution and that parents were never promised secrecy.

For more information, check (Bastard Nation Adoptee Rights Organization), MNCAR website or the epilogue in my memoir “Penny’s Tale,” a story of adoption and search. You may also contact me at [email protected] or 763-262-1087.

For this legislation to be successful, our voices need to be heard. Please call or e-mail your legislators in support of H.F. 848 and S.F. 981. — Mary Jo Mosher, Becker