Governor Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed S-873, Save Jerseyans, paving the way for big (and extremely controversial) changes to the state of the law governing adoptees’ birth records in New Jersey, specifically, permitting them to obtain birth records without the necessity of securing a court order.
In offering a conditional rather than full veto, Christie said he sought to reach a middle ground between those adoptees who believe they have a right to the records (particularly for the purpose of seeking family medical history information) and biological parents who insist that the open record approach is violative of their privacy rights.
“While I support this bill’s goals, I recommend additional safeguards necessary to balance the needs of adoptees seeking critical records of their identity, with the expectations of birth parents in years past who may wish to remain private,” added the Governor. “The recommendations here will achieve those goals, while respecting and protecting the interests of adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents.”
A full summary of the changes:
“Adoptees will be able to obtain an original birth certificate without involvement from the courts beginning in 2017. For adoptions finalized after August 1, 2015, long-form birth certificates will be available without redaction, and birth parents are permitted to submit an information statement electing their preferred method of personal contact. For adoptions finalized before August 1, 2015, birth parents may choose to file a preference for contact with the State Registrar, selecting from options including direct interaction, contact through an intermediary, or sharing of only medical information with continued privacy. Providing this transition period will permit for appropriate educational campaigns on new open adoptions, and avoid altering the settled expectations of parents and children without notice.”
Click here to read the full veto statement. The new law will be go-to-go if the legislature confirms the Governor’s changes.