House Approves Benninghoff Bill to Give Adoptees Enhanced Right to Birth Records
HARRISBURG – The state House today in Harrisburg approved a bill introduced by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) that would empower grown-up adoptees who were born in Pennsylvania access to a copy of their original birth record information without redactions.

“For too long in Pennsylvania, adoptees have been denied access to their original birth records,” said Benninghoff, who was adopted as a child. “Today’s move by the House takes us one step closer to removing this barrier that has been placed in front of people who were adopted.”

Under current Pennsylvania law, adoptees may acquire a copy of their birth records; however, certain information may be redacted. For example, the name of the birth mother or father may be redacted unless the mother or father agrees to have his or her information released.

Benninghoff’s legislation – House Bill 162 – would remove the requirement for the birth mother or father to grant approval for the release of that information. Adoptees who reach the age of 19 would be able to apply for and receive a copy of their birth records, learn where they were born, identify their ethnic background and the names of their parents.

Benninghoff also noted that the advent of the Internet and websites like have made the current law redacting the birth parents’ names nearly obsolete.

“Advances in DNA testing and ancestry registries are making the effort to deny adoptees this information nearly meaningless,” Benninghoff said. “It’s time to give adoptees in Pennsylvania the same access as foster children and those raised by their birth parents.”

Benninghoff’s legislation now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845 /
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