Long Road Home: Local adoptee’s fight for access to birth certificate, medical history

December 09, 2019

Originally published in The Saratogian on December 09, 2019.

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. — For Ballston Spa resident Michele Newell, it’s been a long road leading up to the passage of the legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in November allowing adoptees for the first time to receive a certified copy of their birth certificate when they turn 18-years-old.

This measure ensures that all adult New York adoptees will have the same unimpeded right to information about their birth and biological parents.

Cuomo ended decades of secrecy around adoptions in New York by signing the landmark reform bill that allows adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates.

Since 1936, that access has been barred without a court order. Advocates characterize New York’s rules as a human rights issue, and Cuomo echoed that in a statement at the signing.

"Where you came from informs who you are, and every New Yorker deserves access to the same birth records - it's a basic human right," Cuomo said. "For too many years, adoptees have been wrongly......

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