Fight for birth certificate rights in NY

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) – Access to an original long-form birth certificate is something many New Yorkers take for granted. For adoptees, it’s a right they’re still fighting for.

“I was adopted. I was an infant adoption. I was born in the Bronx. And, I was brought home to my adoptive parents when I was about five months old. The adoption was finalized about 22 months later,” Annette O’Connell, New York Adoptee Rights Coalition Spokesperson, said.

As an adopted New Yorker, O’Connell says it’s a basic human right to know where you came from.

“I can’t access the original record of my birth. And for many adoptees that includes not knowing what hospital they were born in. Not knowing what time of day they were born. Not knowing how much they weighed at birth.”

She’s supporting a bill that would allow adoptees to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate once they turn 18.

The legislation passed this week in the state senate 56 to 6.

Opponents argue that birth parents’ identities should be kept private.

O’Connell says being able to get a copy of an original birth certificate would be a more discreet way of finding information.

“We don’t need that document in order to search for our birth parents. People do that with DNA and genealogy. And we’re contacting second cousins, third cousins.”

O’Connell was able to search for her birth parents on her own but never met either one.

My mom passed away from ALS a few months after I found her. I had to then introduce myself to my brother who’s 12 years older than I am. He didn’t know I existed.

The bill sits in the Assembly Codes Committee, but there’s no word on when or if it will go to a vote.

We reached out to the office of the chairman of the Assembly Codes Committee, but have not yet received a response.

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