The state House this week voted to let Missouri-born adoptees access their original birth certificates when they turn 18.

Representative Don Phillips (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Don Phillips (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The House approved a bill to change the system that only lets adoptees get original birth certificates through a court order and only if their birth parents give consent or have died.

The sponsor, Representative Don Phillips (R-Kimberling City), said the it, “takes great strides to help fix an archaic law, an antiquated law, that’s been in effect for 75-years.”

Some lawmakers spoke passionately against the proposal. Representative Bill White (R-Joplin) said the change in law will retroactively affect parents who might not want to be found.

“We can’t do this in criminal law. We can’t go back and say, ‘Oh, by the way what you did 25-years ago now we’re going to change the rules of the game and we’re going to be able to charge you with something. That’s not the way the law is supposed to work. You’re supposed to have certainty under the law,” said White.

Representative Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) was also strong in his criticism.

“The title of this bill is the ‘Adoptee Rights Act.’ What the title should be is, ‘Birth Parents Privacy Violation Act,’ because that’s exactly what this bill does,” said McGaugh.

Despite those criticisms 125 lawmakers supported the bill.

Representative Rick Brattin said the old law leaves adoptees unable to learn medical histories or heritage.

“We’ll hear talk about this contract – this promise that was made between two parties,” said Brattin. “Well what’s left out is there are three people involved in this discussion, but there’s one that’s left out.”

The proposal has been sent to the Senate.

Earlier story:  Proposal would let Missouri adoptees get birth certificates