October 13, 2022

Gov. Baker signs bill allowing MA adoptees to access their original birth certificates

Rep. Kate Hogan joined Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Representative Sean Garballey, Senator Anne Gobi,  Senator Michael Moore, Former Representative Dan Cullinane, Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson and many advocates in the Governor’s Chambers for the ceremonial signing of a bill that will allow adoptees to access their own original birth certificates. 

This bill, filed by Reps. Sean Garballey and Kate Hogan, would close a 34-year period where persons born during that timeframe cannot access their original birth certificate without a court order. 

In 1974, Massachusetts passed a law sealing original birth certificates of adoptees upon adoption. The record was sealed to protect the child against what was then a potent stigma of “illegitimacy.” Then in 2007, reflecting a growing trend across the U.S., the Massachusetts Legislature restored adoptee access to original birth certificates – however, that law applied only to adoptees born before July 17, 1974, and after Jan. 1, 2008. While a step in the right direction, this law ultimately created a class of Massachusetts citizens – those adoptees born within the 33-year gap – who don’t have equal access to their own vital records.

This bill corrects the gap in current law and ensures that all adoptees in Massachusetts have access to their history and story.

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