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Adopted people in Louisiana will soon have access to birth certificates

By: - June 23, 2022 5:05 pm
Adopted people in Louisiana will soon have access to birth certificates

Louisiana birth certificates. (WES MULLER/LOUISIANA ILLUMINATOR)

Adopted people born in Louisiana will soon be able to obtain copies of their original birth certificates when they reach age 24 thanks to new legislation Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law.

House Bill 450, sponsored by Rep. Charles Owen, R-Rosepine, received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature, though Owen had to navigate around significant political roadblocks along the way as several lawmakers called it the most difficult piece of legislation they have ever considered. 

Someone adopted as a child will no longer have to petition a court to unseal their original birth certificate. Instead, they can obtain an uncertified copy upon request from the state vital records registry once they reach age 24.

Bill to give adoptees access to birth certificates advances to Senate floor

The proposal overcame opposition from anti-abortion groups and others with financial interests in the adoption industry, both arguing it might discourage women from giving babies up for adoption.

Owen, an anti-abortion conservative, said his legislation was purely about correcting an injustice. Until enactment of the new law, effective Aug. 1, adopted people were the only Louisiana residents denied the right to access their true birth certificates since a 1977 law sealed records in closed adoptions.  

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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