In January 2015, I wrote about Missouri House Bill 647, which was then in the system. Had it passed, it would have allowed adult adoptees who were born in Missouri to obtain their original birth certificates. The bill did not pass as written. Reader comments on my post represent a sampling of the emotions evoked by the topic.
Advocates continue to work for original birth certificate access in Missouri. Yesterday, their hard work was rewarded with the pre-filing of a new bill by State Representative Don Phillips. House Bill 1599, if made law, shall be known as The Missouri Adoptee Rights Act. Advocates call this a cleaner bill than its predecessor.
HB 1599, as it is written, provides for an adopted person, who was born in Missouri, and who is at least age 18, to obtain a copy of his or her original birth certificate. An application and the applicant’s identification will be required. Remember, this is the pre-filing of a bill. It has a long way to go through the system in order to become a law. Without support, HB 1599 could fail.
There is presently no hearing scheduled, and the bill is not on a House calendar. But do not be alarmed. Lawmakers start a session in January 2016.
If you were disappointed that HB 647 did not pass, and if you hope that HB 1599 will pass, make your position known to your lawmakers.
To keep updated on the bill’s progress, watch the Missouri House of Representatives page. Consider following advocacy groups for current information. The Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement keeps track of legislation, and they have a Facebook page.
Missouri’s current law does not allow for adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates in the way that people who were not adopted obtain them. After I first wrote about the issue, I heard from people without access to their original birth certificates. They include people adopted by step-parents after a biological parent died. They include people born in Missouri and adopted across the state line in Illinois, where OBCs are available to adopted persons. There are many more stories.
People who care deeply about this issue just want what everybody else is allowed to have. The right to obtain their birth certificate.
Here’s to another chance at that right.