Monday, June 20, 2011



Rhode Island Adoptees Need Your Help Today!
Vote scheduled for Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tell the Rhode Island Senate to support HB S478 Sub A
Make Rhode Island #7

HB 478 Sub A, a bill to allow any adoptee 30 years or older to obtain a copy of that person’s original birth certificate with no conditions or restrictions is scheduled for a Senate Floor vote Wednesday June 22. Also scheduled, is the introduction of amendment to lower the age from 30.

Read bill here.

HB 478 Sub A is an amended version of the earlier S 478, which included a disclosure veto. That bill also had provisions that limited original birth certificate (OBC) access to adult adoptees born after Jan. 1, 2012, or to those who are 40 years or older after the effective date of the bill. None of those provisions restored the right of OBC access guaranteed until 1944, for all Rhode Island adoptees. Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin supported this bad bill, and took a lot of heat after she told the Providence Journal she wanted to limit OBC access to older adoptees because "I want them to be able to find their records in an appropriate and meaningful kind of way, not because they want to get back at their adoptive parents."

After heavy public and private criticism from the Rhode Island adoption community and reformers, Goodwin backtracked, the prospective provision and vetoes were removed, and the age limit reduced to 30.

Last week the bill passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously with a Do Pass recommendation to the full Senate. Committee members also showed unanimous support for a floor amendment to lower the age of access. (Earlier the Rhode Island House passed a similar clean bill, 66-0, (which not scheduled for Senate hearing) that would let all adoptees 18 or older to apply for their OBC. Sen. Rhoda Perry says she will introduce an amendment to sunset the age qualification and lower the age . At this time we do not know the text of her amendment. The floor vote is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22.

S 378 Sub A:

***acknowledges a legally, morally, and ethically correct one-size-fits all standard of identity and records rights for all adopted persons. It treats the adopted the same as the non-adopted.

***does not open original birth certificates and other records to the public.

***does not change adoption procedures

***is about rights not reunions. It is about the relation of adoptees to the state.


***The age of majority: "adulthood in the eyes of the law." After reaching majority, a person is permitted to vote, make a valid will, enter into binding contracts, marry, enlist in the military, and purchase alcohol. In most states, including Rhode Island, the age of majority is 18, but this varies depending on the activity. In no state does age of majority exceed the age of 21.

***Rhode Island Code: § 15-12-1: Persons of full age. – (a) Notwithstanding any general or public law or provision of the common law to the contrary, all persons who have attained the age of eighteen (18) years shall be deemed to be persons of full legal age.

***The non-adopted of Rhode Island (or any other state) are not required by statute to be 30 years of age to access their own birth certificates. Likewise, in states where adoptee rights are in force, the age of majority holds.

Please write the Rhode Island Senate today and urge them to support the (1) bill as written and (2) lower age of access to the age of majority.

Bastard Nation's letter to the Senate is here.

Go to the Senate Contact page for contact information


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S 478 Sub A has an excellent chance of passing. The bill is supported by Access Rhode Island, Bastard Nation, and the American Adoption Congress.

For more information go to
Access Rhode Island's webpage
Facebook page

Also post your comments on the bill, particularly this article, on the ProJo site. (registration required) Senators are reading them! (There are other articles on the bill, but this is the latest.)

As soon as the bill passes the Senate we will send out an action alert for the House.

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