COLUMBUS—State Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) recently introduced legislation to address disparities in Ohio’s adoption laws.
House Bill 61 will permit adult adoptees who were adopted between the years of 1964 and 1996 to access their original birth certificates once they reach the age of 18. Adoptees who were born before 1964 and after 1996 have nearly unfettered access to their original birth records, while it is nearly impossible for
adults adopted between these years to obtain the same documents.
“I am pleased to be a part of this bi-partisan effort to make original birth
certificates accessible to adoptees. Certainly, this has been an important
issue for my family as well as families across the state,” said Representative
House Bill 61 will delay the effective date of the bill for one year after it is
signed into law, to give birthparents a chance to voluntarily file a “contact
preference form” alongside the birth certificate to make known how or if they
wish to be contacted.
“As an adoptive parent and a long-practicing attorney, I know firsthand the challenges that certain antiquated sections of the Ohio Revised Code can present to the adoption community,” said Representative Pelanda. “By giving all adoptees the same access and rights to their personal documents, we will be closing a gap
that has caused much grief and stress for those who wish to access those
Throughout the past 15 years, many states have changed their laws to permit adult adoptees to access their pre-adoption birth certificates. Ohio’s inequitable
three-tiered system of access has made it very difficult for many adoptees to
access this personal document, an issue that House Bill 61 will address if passed
by the legislature and signed into law.
House Bill 61 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where it will undergo thorough consideration and debate. On Wednesday, February 20, 2013 sponsor testimony is scheduled.