BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation to give all adoptees the ability to retrieve their original birth certificates on Friday.

As of now, adoptees born between July 17, 1974 and January 1, 2008 cannot access their own original birth certificates without obtaining a court order to unlock their records, Massachusetts State Senator and lead sponsor of the bill, Anne Gobi told 22News why this is.

“This gap was part of a 2007 law that opened up access to original birth certificates, but for the years you stated.  My understanding was that from testimony that was gathered at the time of the 2007 law, there seemed to be a layer of privacy protection extended to birth parents, however, there is not any evidence indicating that birth parents were guaranteed confidentiality,” said Senator Gobi. “An example at the time of surrender the birth parents cannot have certainty that an adoption will occur and birth certificates are only amended and sealed upon adoption.”

Now, legislation is to help those 18 and above-adopted individuals or the adoptive parents of a child under 18 to be able to be granted their original birth certificate.

“At this point in time, we should not deny people access to their medical information and life history simply because of when they were born, or subject them to a cumbersome process,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I want to thank Senators Gobi, Comerford, and Lovely for their work on this legislation.”

“Many adoptees have been waiting their whole lives to learn their history, and I am honored to have played a part in helping them access their original birth certificates,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem), Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules. “For the sake of preserving our health and well-being, it is crucial to know what physical or mental health conditions to which we may be predisposed. By giving all adoptees born in Massachusetts access to their original birth certificates, this legislation closes a 34 year gap granting generations of individuals medical knowledge they have otherwise been denied. Thank you, Senate President Spilka, Senator Gobi, Representative Garballey, and all my Senate colleagues for affirming that everyone deserves to know where and from whom they came so they can make the most informed decisions possible for themselves.”  

“The Joint Committee on Public Health heard powerful testimony from adoptees who could not access their original birth certificate due to a current loophole in state law addressed by this legislation,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health. “I’m delighted that the Senate passed this important bill, and grateful to Senator Anne Gobi for her advocacy and to Senate President Spilka for bringing the bill to the floor.”

“The Senate took a major step in assuring equality by guaranteeing that all adoptees, regardless of when they were born, will have access to their original birth certificate,” said Senator Gobi. “This would not have been possible without the strong advocacy of Senate President Spilka, Senator Joan Lovely and so many adoptees, including Jean Strauss of East Brookfield. As the lead sponsor of the bill, I have waited six years for its passage, so many have waited their entire lives, and today we tell them the wait is over and they matter.”

However, those adopted before 1974 or after 2008 can avoid the court systems to get their birth certificate. By retrieving their birth certificate at the age of 18 or with the help of their adoptive parents.

The bill will be sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his consideration.