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New law allows Louisiana adoptees access to original birth certificate

Louisiana State Representative Charles Owen introduced House Bill 450 which has been signed by Governor John Bel Edwards.

The bill allows for access to an adopted person's original birth certificate. Charles Owen says, "A grown person, aged 24 or older, can have access to the document that records their birth."

Previously, these documents were sealed by the state. The only way to gain access to these records was through court orders, which were sometimes denied.

Owen said, "I was tired of Louisiana living in a terrible age of secrecy." When he introduced the bill, he received support from both parties.

Before the bill, finding out about familial history took weeks. By using DNA searches such as 23andMe or Ancestry DNA, an individual was not necessarily led straight to a biological parent. This resulted in more search time to find specific information being sought after.

HB450 allows for a quicker turnaround for individuals to find out their history. Owen said, "The point is, the government was the keeper of a secret that I don't think they had a right to keep."

The bill will be put in place beginning on August 1. The Office of Vital Statistics will be managing the bill. It will put out the process for requesting the records. Owen said, "It is my hope that there will be an online form and also a mail-in form."

More information on House Bill 450 can be found at Louisiana State Legislature.

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Sydney Russo is originally from West Monroe, Louisiana. She is currently enrolled in The University of Louisiana at Monroe and is studying Communications. Her concentration is in Digital Media.