SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a big step forward for a historic and controversial adoption bill. Lawmakers approved a plan Tuesday to unseal birth records for adoptees in New Jersey.
But some critics said it could encourage abortion, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
“Every time my kids did something for school, they’d ask me what nationality are we. I’d have to say, I don’t know. It was a good experience growing up with the parents that I had, but I still think it’s owed to me to know where I came from,” adoptee Patti Spiegel said.
Like many who were adopted Spiegel is anxious to learn about her biological parents.
“I would say it’s a burning curiosity,” she said.
And it might be satisfied by the Adoption Rights bill just passed by the New Jersey Legislature, which would allow adults who went through so-called “closed adoptions” to see their birth certificates, learn the names of their parents and begin tracing their family medical histories.
“So if somebody has a family history of glaucoma they know what to check for and that could be very good for them,” said Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson County.
Opposition to the bill came mostly from New Jersey’s Catholic bishops and right-to-life groups, who feared the loss of anonymity would sway some pregnant women against adoption.
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark spokesman Jim Goodness said Catholic charities arranged thousands of adoptions, promising anonymity.
“There are women and men who have been involved in the adoption process for generations who are now having their privacy taken away from them,” Goodness said.
The bill provides a mechanism for biological parents to have their names blanked out, as long as they provide cultural and medical history details.
Spiegel said she hopes Gov. Chris Christie signs the bill. He said it’s under review.
“I hope Gov. Christie really takes pity on us. We’ve been waiting so long for this. We’re so close, never been this close before,” Spiegel said.
She said she wants to answer questions from granddaughter Brooke she couldn’t answer for her own children.
Christie has 45 days to decide whether to sign the measure. In New York, lawmakers are debating a similar bill.
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