House Children and Youth Committee Votes to Grant Adoptees Rights to Original Birth Certificates
HARRISBURG – Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) today announced that the House Children and Youth Committee voted in favor of his legislation to reinstate adult adoptees’ rights to access their original birth certificates.

“I thank the members of the committee for their affirmative vote,” Benninghoff said. “Today was the first step in removing the government barrier that is keeping adult adoptees from rightful access to a simple piece of paper.”

Under current Pennsylvania law, adoptees may petition the courts for a copy of their birth records; however, that request may be denied by a judge. Benninghoff’s legislation, House Bill 162, would reinstate the right of adult adoptees who reach the age of 19, to apply for and receive a copy of their original birth certificate.

Additional protection was amended in the bill to allow birth parents to redact their names during a six-month window following the law’s effective date. Birth parents who choose not to redact their names can submit a contact preference form to indicate whether or not they wish to be contacted.

Under the legislation, birth parents who choose to redact their names and birth parents who choose to submit contact preference forms, even those who choose “no contact” as their preference, would be required to provide medical information to be kept on file for the adoptee.

“In a time when transparency is more prevalent than ever, we have to ask ourselves why this information is still being denied,” Benninghoff said. “A birth certificate is someone’s personal information, and all Pennsylvanians, including adoptees, deserve equal treatment under the law.”

The bill can now be considered by the House as a whole. Similar legislation passed unanimously in the House last session; however, the 2013-14 legislative session expired before the legislation was taken up by the full Senate for consideration. Benninghoff reintroduced House Bill 162 into the current legislative session in February.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
717.260.6281 /