Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Wednesday to help adoptees and their birth family members learn more about their family history.
The action follows the historic Illinois Birth Certificate Access Law, signed by the Governor in 2010 and recognized as the most expansive adoptee rights legislation enacted in the nation.
“People have a right to know the first chapter of their lives and should have what they need to fill in the branches on their family tree,” Quinn said. “This information can also be vital when determining inherited traits and medical history. This new law will help Illinois’ adoptees gain access to what is rightfully theirs.”
House Bill 5949 will help people gain information about their biological family history, including obtaining original birth records when one of their grandparents was adopted as a child. In 2010, Quinn signed a bill to provide adopted adults greater access to copies of their original birth certificates without having to get a court order. The law has helped adopted adults learn more about their birth families, including medical histories. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 10,000 adoptees have gained access to these documents since the bill became law.
The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.