Louisiana Access to Original Birth Certificates

June 2022


It's official!


https://ldh.la.gov/page/4494

Adopted people can obtain an uncertified copy of their original birth certificate when they reach age 24!


Louisiana House Bill, HB 450, now Act No. 470, took effect August 1, 2022, and it allows adopted persons 24 years of age or older to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate. The bill was sponsored by LA Representative Charles Owen, allows an adopted person whom is 24 years of age or older to request an uncertified copy of their original birth certificate from the state registrar beginning in August of 2022. The new law also allows birth parents to submit a form indicating if they’d like to be contacted or not.


At the time of adoption in Louisiana, a "certificate of live birth" is drawn up with the adoptive parents' information. The original birth certificate, with birth parents’ names, is then placed under seal. Adoptees were then barred from viewing their original birth certificate — which includes the names of their birth mother and father — unless they petitioned the court offering "compelling reasons" to unseal the record.


The bill faced opposition from anti-abortion groups, wrongfully claiming that Louisiana birth mothers were promised anonymity at the time of the adoption. They claimed that adoptee access to original birth certificates would potentially increase abortion rates in the state. However, Louisiana Representative Charles Owen stated “In every state that I have data on, Alabama especially, their rate of abortion decline is faster than ours over the period of that they’ve had this law in place."


Arguments for birth mother anonymity are obsolete now that adoptees are able to locate their biological family members using popular DNA testing websites such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com. “This is the 21st century,” said state Sen. Heather Cloud, who supported the bill. “With ancestry and DNA evidence, that is an uncontrollable scenario. … When someone does that DNA search, you lose all control of the situation.”


Why age 24 in Louisiana?

Due to inheritance laws in Louisiana, a adopted child can potentially claim forced inheritance if a birth parent dies before the child reaches the age of 24. That is why the new bill only provides that access to original birth certificates are only allowed after the adoptee is 24 years old or older.


Many states have some variation of laws that allow an adoptee to obtain their original birth certificate either immediately upon request or if the birth mother has not objected to the disclosure via an affidavit. Currently those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusett, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and the Virgin Islands.


States with unrestricted access to original birth certificates: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


Protestant Home for Babies, Sellers Maternity Home Seller's Baptist Children's Home, , St. Vincent Maternity Home (St. Vincent's Catholic Charities), Presbyterian Home for Babies, Volunteers of America, Methodist Children's Home, Children's Bureau of New Orleans , Louisiana Baptist Children's Home