The Department of Health in Ohio has responded to accusations that it violated the state’s new laws on adoption records. Birth records (certificates) will now be re-issued to around 3 dozen adoptees. These individuals having information redacted that was seen as excessive. Adoptees numbering 400,000 had their birth records unsealed and who had their adoptions finalized from 1964 through 1996. Officials from The Ohio Department of Health have now clarified the legislators intent as per the new law.
The law’s remit in relation to the birth records is no more than to redact solely the birth parents names who had decided on anonymity. However the Department of Health went beyond this remit to the point of obscuring adoptees names , hospitals, addresses and/or additional information filed for anonymity. But the health department went beyond that, sometimes blacking out the names of the adoptees, addresses, hospitals or other information that officials within birth records that may have construed as identifying birth parents. The change in direction by The Health Department was brought about by hard work from advocates.
The new laws aren’t open to interpretation and are straightforward enough. The enforcement is likely to move across other states like a shock wave as other states consider their options as to opening long sealed birth records. What is so refreshing is that the issue was resolved without the need for legal action. Certificates have been re-issued complete with pages that had been left blank by parents which referred to medical and social history. The complete contents of the file should be available to adoptees. However those parents that did not select to withhold their names should have not been subject to redaction. Only 259 birth parents had sought anonymity by the deadline of March 20th.