With less than three hours left in the legislative session, the Senate gave final passage to a bill that opens access to the original birth certificates of adoptees born after October 1983. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.
In Connecticut and most other states, adoptees only have access to amended birth certificates that omit the birth parents’ names. Adoptees argue that the redacted birth records create health risks for them. Without knowing their family medical histories, they cannot be screened for illnesses to which they are predisposed based on family medical history and genetics.
The bill reaches back as far as 1983 when biological parents began signing a form acknowledging the child may, as an adult, access documents that could identify them. It was negotiated to ease the concerns of lawmakers who feel the change violates the trust of birth mothers who expected the state to respect their privacy.
Late in the session, advocates of the bill were concerned by a series of amendments filed by Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, which could have been used to stretch out a debate long enough to defeat the bill.
During a short Senate debate, McKinney said he opposed it but signaled he would not seek to kill it.
“We all talk about the process and the time as it ticks toward midnight, madam president, the other day I had some amendments on the bill, I talked to a number of advocates. I respect their passion, I respect their position. At the end of the day it is not my desire to use the clock to thwart the will of the majority of our body here,” McKinney said.
The bill passed 31-5.