TRENTON – A bill to allow adoptees in New Jersey to access medical history and birth records was approved by the Assembly Human Services Committee Monday by a vote of 6-0, with four abstentions.
The bill, a Senate Committee Substitute for S-799 and S-1399, would establish a system to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates and family medical history. Under the amended version of the bill, the birth parents of the individuals put forward for adoption in New Jersey would have one year from the enactment of regulations to submit a request to the state registrar for non-disclosure. During this year, adoptees would be able to contact the adoption agency they came from to get non-identifying medical information, including family medical history, alerting them to any genetic predispositions they may carry for certain types of illnesses.
Birth parents would have a year to opt out of disclosure and then an adopted person 18 years of age or older, an adult direct descendant of an adopted person if that person is deceased, or the adoptive parent or guardian of an adopted minor, would be able to request from the State Registrar a copy of the adoptee’s original birth certificate.
When a birth parent puts a child up for adoption in New Jersey moving forward, the form utilized by the birth parents would require them to submit a preference for how they would like to be contacted: either directly, through an intermediary, or not at all. If the birth parents choose not to be contacted, they would have to submit medical and cultural information which would be provided to an adoptee when they receive a redacted version of their birth certificate.
The bill now heads to the full Assembly for consideration. It was approved by the Senate by a vote of 27-10 in March.
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