December 17, 2015
PENNSYLVANIA HB 162
SENATE ACTION ALERT
Pennsylvania HB 162 has been amended to include a birth parent redaction demand provision! Please take action now. You do not have to be from or reside in PA to contact legislators, although if you are a constituent or PA adoptee or triad member, please do include that information in your contacts with legislators.
The original, clean bill would have provided a copy of an original birth certificate to adult adoptees at age 19 without condition. A standard and true “contact preference form” provision was also included.
The amended version is a redaction bill. Specifics set forth below.
Amended version: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/…/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm…
Prime Sponsor: BENNINGHOFF
DAVIS, CALTAGIRONE, EMRICK, GINGRICH, MILLARD, MAJOR, MUNDY, PICKETT, O’BRIEN, D. COSTA, KORTZ, O’NEILL, FLECK, C. HARRIS, REESE, LAWRENCE, KNOWLES, CAUSER, CLYMER, WATSON, THOMAS, SWANGER, COHEN, ROCK, YOUNGBLOOD, EVERETT, HELM,GROVE, GILLEN, DENLINGER, FARRY, MOUL, HEFFLEY, QUINN, BISHOP, ROZZI, MAHONEY and METCALFE
Current Status: Having passed out of the House, Pennsylvania House Bill 162 will come to the Senate floor for a vote.
- Section 2 (3)(a) requires the adult adoptee requesting a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) to be 18 and have had graduated high school, received a GED, or “legally withdrawn” from secondary schooling.
- Section 2 (3)(a) contains a Contact Preference Form provision.
- Section 2 (3) (c) allows the birth parent to redact their name from the non-certified original birth certificate before it is released to the adult adoptee.
- Section 2 (3) (c) (2) mandates that the option to file a redaction demand expires six months after the effective date of the legislation, however any redaction demands filed during that period remain in full force or effect unless later withdrawn.
- Section 2 (3) (c)(4) A birth parent may withdraw their redaction demand at any time, however there is no provision to notify an adult adoptee that they have done so.
- Section 2 (c) (7) allows an adoptee who has been the subject of a redaction of their OBC to every five years request that the Department of Health search for and contact the birth parent who filed the redaction demand and request that they remove it, as well as provide an updated medical history form. If it is determined that the birth parent is deceased, the adoptee will be entitled to an unredacted copy of their original birth certificate.
Subject:”No” to HB 162
RE: Please, vote “No” to HB 162
On June 25th, the Children and Youth Committee amended and passed House Bill 162. On December 16, the House passed the amended version of House Bill 162. Although I thank the bill’s Prime Sponsor, Representative Benninghoff for putting forth legislation that would acknowledge adult adoptees’ civil rights through the ability to receive a copy of their unaltered original birth certificate just as any other citizen, I find the amended bill unacceptable.
The amended version violates adult adoptees’ rights to due process and the equal protection of the law by allowing a birth parent to redact their name from the original birth certificate record. Adults should not be required to get permission from our birthparents to obtain our unaltered birth record.
The amended version mandates that in order to receive the birth record information, one must be at least age 18 AND be either a high school graduate, have their GED, or be able to prove they have “legally withdrawn” from school. The subjects of school dropouts and birth certificate access are not related.
ADULTS, adopted as children, are entitled to be treated fairly under the law. HB 162 does not accomplish this. I strongly urge your “NO!” vote.
If you want to include additional text in your own words, here are some additional points to consider:
The bill conflates search and reunion with an adoptee’s right to their birth record. Our right to our own record of our birth is fundamental and unchanging regardless of the personal choices we may make after receiving it, and should not automatically be assumed by the state to include contact with our birth families.
The bill provides not for the release of a copy of the actual original birth certificate, but a “birth summary” that is only allowed to include the adult adoptee’s original name, date of birth, the birth parents’ names and ages, and the county where born. Typical fields that are normally present on birth certificates such as race, birth size and weight, and even the time of one’s birth, are omitted from the summary.
The bill allows a birth parent to remove the redaction demand at any time, but does not provide for any notice to be given to an adoptee when or if that occurs.
The amended bill also sets up a cumbersome search system, without noting who will pay for it, whereby an adoptee who has been the subject of a redaction demand may ask the Department of Health every five years after first receiving a redacted record, to search for their birth parents and request that it be withdrawn. If the state is truly concerned about protecting birth parent “privacy”, this intrusive and costly system isn’t the way to go about it.
Senate Email addresses:
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Alloway, Richard L. (R)
Argall, David G. (R)
Aument, Ryan P.(R)
Baker, Lisa (R)
Bartolotta, Camera (R)
Blake, John P. (D)
Boscola, Lisa M. (D)
Brewster, James R. (D)
Brooks, Michele (R)
Browne, Patrick M. (R)
Corman, Jake (R)
Costa, Jay (D)
Dinniman, Andrew E.(D)
Eichelberger, John H.(R)
Farnese, Lawrence M.(D)
Folmer, Mike (R)
Fontana, Wayne D. (D)
Gordner, John R. (R)
Greenleaf, Stewart J.(R)
Haywood, Art (D)
Hughes, Vincent J. (D)
Hutchinson, Scott E.(R)
Kitchen, Shirley M. (D)
Leach, Daylin (D)
McGarrigle, Thomas J.(R)
McIlhinney, Charles T.(R)
Mensch, Bob (R)
Pileggi, Dominic (R)
Rafferty, John C. (R)
Sabatina, John P. (D)
Scarnati, Joseph B. (R)
Scavello, Mario M. (R)
Schwank, Judith L. (D)
Smucker, Lloyd K. (R)
Stefano, Patrick J. (R)
Tartaglione, Christine M. (D)
Teplitz, Rob (D)
Tomlinson, Robert M.(R)
Vance, Patricia H. (R)
Vogel, Elder A. (R)
Vulakovich, Randy (R)
Wagner, Scott (R)
Ward, Kim L. (R)
White, Donald C. (R)
Wiley, Sean (D)
Williams, Anthony H.(D)
Wozniak, John N. (D)
Yaw, Gene (R)
Yudichak, John T. (D)
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