Advance “CLEAN” New York Bill of Adoptee Rights

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New York residents, natives and all friends to adoption reform:


Since the 1930s, New York State adoption records have been sealed.

Sealing adoption records includes the denial of original birth certificates which hinder adoptees from knowing their origins and having equal opportunity to choose to seek other background information such as complete health history.  We believe that adoptees should not be denied heritage or treated as though they have a pre-existing medical condition (simply for being adopted) that is not consistent with current national initiatives to extend healthcare to all.  New York adoptees are being left behind.

Adoptees who appeal to NY courts with medical, or other, concerns are routinely denied, and some have died without the benefit of proper healthcare.

This is a blatant violation of basic human rights and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For over 20 years, NY lawmakers have been considering legislation for adoption reform.

The law must be changed in New York as soon as possible.

As of 2016, and now in 2018, nine other U.S. states offer unrestricted access to original birth certificates for adult adoptees.  Seven of the nine states enacted unrestricted birth certificate access / “clean” reform (Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Rhode Island).  The other two states, Alaska and Kansas, never sealed adult adoptee birth certificates.


In Oregon, judicial precedent was set by upholding unrestricted birth certificate access / “clean” reform:

o  Oregon citizens approved a ballot measure for unrestricted birth certificate access / “clean” reform (1998)

o  Oregon state courts upheld the ballot measure  (1999)

o  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor helped, refusing to delay Oregon reforms (2000)


We are fighting to make New York the next unrestricted birth certificate access / “clean” reform state:

From 2003 – 2015, the NY Bill of Adoptee Rights would have allowed adult adoptees (18+) the right to a copy of their original birth certificate to help them know their origins and have equal opportunity to seek other information (similar to the other nine unrestricted birth certificates access states).  Birth parents would have been able to complete non-binding “contact preference” forms at any time to designate openness to contact from adoptees. 

Sadly, in June 2015, the NY Bill of Adoptee Rights was weakened by some of the 22 member Assembly Codes Committee.  The amendments replaced unrestricted birth certificate access / "clean" reform with a process that would have begun with a court petition, followed by a bureaucratic and costly four month state-run intermediary birth parent search procedure. It then would have left tremendous power in the hands of judges who apparently would have retained the unfair option (“discretion”) to withhold birth certificate information (actually redact an adoptee's own original birth certificate); even in cases where a birth parent couldn’t have been found, or might have desired contact and/or to at least share their name with the adoptee! They are the same NY judges who have denied adoptees’ health history petitions for years and who remain PUBLICLY OPPOSED to any adoption reform upon grounds that have been repeatedly “debunked” here and in other states! 

That proposal's costly and slow bureaucracy ignored the task of honoring the human and civil rights of NY adoptees.  Rights cannot be compromised.

Happily, on December 29, 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo heard our voices and vetoed that amended, regressive bill! He has indicated that he would “…support legislative proposals that allow adoptees greater access to birth records.”  A Department of Health workgroup report was issued on April 30, 2018.

Happily, on May 10, 2018, Assemblymember David I. Weprin and Senator Andrew Lanza introduced important amendments to a “CLEAN” bill (A9959-B / S7631-B as of May 31, 2018) we supported for 2018. 

While the 2017 - 2018 session ended in June 2018 without passage of A9959-B / S7631-B, we are preparing to return in the new session (beginning in January 2019) with continued efforts for "CLEAN" reform. 

 A9959-B / S7631-B + FEATURES INCLUDE:

·      Support for the general health and well-being of adoptees!

And, now, with the added amendments:

·      OBC access for direct line descendants, or legal representatives, if the adoptee is deceased

·      OBC access for legal representatives 

·      Clarifying terms “commissioner” and “department” to ensure all adult adoptees will be able to complete an OBC request

Adoptees in New York deserve to get adoption reform right the first time!

We believe your voice can help encourage NY lawmakers to ADVANCE “clean” legislation now.


This petition will ask the New York Assembly and New York Senate to advance a “CLEAN” NY Bill of Adoptee Rights proposal, especially in light of the December 2017 veto for the prior amended proposal (begun in June 2015).



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