House supports change in adoption law

By MARC KOVAC @ohiocapitalblog C-N Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- Individuals who were adopted between 1964 and 1996 would have easier access to state-held birth certificates, under legislation that passed the Ohio House Wednesday.

SB 23, which passed the Senate earlier this month and was sponsored by Defiance native Sen. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva Park, repeals an existing state law that blocked those adoptees from accessing their files without a court order. It also gives biological parents who don't want their identities known time to redact their names from Ohio Department of Health adoption records.

The legislation passed the House on a vote of 88-2 and will take effect 90 days after Gov. John Kasich adds his signature.

Under current law, adoptees can obtain information from the Ohio Department of Health revealing the social and medical histories of their biological parents without details that would identify the latter.

Individuals adopted before 1964 are allowed unrestricted access to state records disclosing the names and other information about their biological parents and siblings.

Those adopted after September 1996 also can review their files unless their biological parents have denied release of the information.

But those adopted between 1964 and 1996 are blocked from accessing their birth certificates unless their biological parents consented or a court ordered the file be provided.

SB 23 repeals the restrictions for individuals adopted between 1964 and 1996 and establishes a procedure for requesting adoption files.

The legislation also gives biological parents a year to file paperwork to redact their names from the adoptee's birth certificate copy.

Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, who supported the legislation, said the law change "unlocks the door to access an original birth certificate, providing an essential piece of the puzzle of someone's own personal history."

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