A debate is brewing in several states about whether or not to allow adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.
Currently there are 20 states in which adoptees are not allowed access to their adoption records without a difficult-to-obtain court order. There are only eight that allow for unrestricted access.
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, an adoptee-rights activists, described “What we have is state-sanctioned discrimination against adoptees. It’s no different from giving you a different water fountain to drink from.”
Florida, New York, California, and Texas are states that are currently actively considering changes in legislation that would allow adopted adults to access their birth certificates. In 2000, Oregon and Alabama both enacted laws allowing just that, and many thought that other states would follow suit.
It’s a surprisingly challenging fight, however. Opponents of such laws argue that opening up adoption records is a violation of birth parent privacy. Proponents of allowing access to adoption records are split, too, dividing into camps of those who are willing to allow partial access with restrictions and those who refuse to settle for anything but full, unrestricted access.