Adopted adults would gain access to their original birth certificates and family medical history under a bill a Senate panel approved today.

The bill in one form or another has been before the Legislature since the 1980-81 session. Religious leaders, anti-abortion activists and the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have successfully lobbied against it, asking lawmakers to protect birth mothers, who believed they had anonymity when they gave up their children.

But open-records advocates continue to argue that knowing their family history is a civil right.

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