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New Jersey adoptees gain the right to know their past

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  1. Libel and Privacy
The New Jersey state Senate approved a bill on Monday that allows adults who were adopted as children to access…

The New Jersey state Senate approved a bill on Monday that allows adults who were adopted as children to access their birth records, which until now have been sealed under state law.

There has been a fight for years as to whether the anonymity of the birth parents outweighed the importance of the adopted children’s right to know their biological and cultural identities.

Although this law will release most adoption records, the measure does allow birth parents one year from the bills enactment date to file a notarized “no contact” form which will permit them to keep their identities private.

If this form is filed, birth parents will be required to fill out a cultural and medical history continuously for the duration of their lives so offspring can be aware of their medical history even if they do not know about their personal one.

Through this legislation, we’ve taken pains to balance the needs of adopted individuals to know with the needs of certain birth parents to maintain anonymity,” said bill sponsor, state Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), in a statement following the vote.