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06/25/2024 12:34 AM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 6, 2023 09:41 AM
From: Senator Timothy P. Kearney and Sen. Amanda M. Cappelletti, Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Removal of Sex from Birth Certificates
Last session, we introduced a package of legislation aimed at addressing the ongoing challenges and legal barriers transgender individuals and members of the LGBTQ community face when going through the name change process in the Commonwealth. Since introducing these bills, we have continued to hear from members of the community about the need to advance these pieces of legislation, especially at a time when members feel more under attack than ever. In that effort, we are re-introducing this package of bills so that individuals can more easily live as their authentic selves.

Soon, we intend to introduce legislation to protect individual privacy and prevent discrimination by removing sex designations on PA birth certificates.  
In a policy hearing in June of 2021, we heard extensive testimony from people with lived experiences around the name change process in Pennsylvania. Part of this testimony recognized the difficulties and discrimination individuals who do not conform or identify with the gender on their government issued IDs face. While the current administration has worked to address some of the difficulties of getting state issued IDs with gender neutral designations by simplifying the process on Driver’s Licenses, there are still tremendous hurdles when it comes to the overall process for individuals to change their name and change their sex, particularly on birth certificates. By removing sex designations entirely, we can remove the barriers of acquiring gender-affirming birth certificates.  
As recently recommended by the American Medical Association, removing sex designations on birth certificates will prevent many problems transgender individuals face by having a different gender identity on this foundational document. This legislation would remove sex from PA birth certificates, but will still ensure that an individual’s sex designation at birth continues to be reported through the separate U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth system. The AMA notes that “removal of sex designation from the birth certificate would have little to no impact on vital statistics data collected for medical, public health, and statistical purposes.” 
This is not a new idea. Birth certificates used to include the race of individual’s parents which had historically been used as a part of systemic discrimination. Similarly, non-binary individuals face discrimination from not having gender-affirming documentation. While removing sex from birth certificates will not fix the discrimination these individuals face it can, at least, remove one obstacle they face.  
Please join us in co-sponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as SB523