Saturday, August 01, 2009
What Demographic Data and Public Information Requests Might Reveal in the Obama Birth Certificate Transparency Issue
If my estimates are correct, there were approximately 195,000 live births in the state of Hawaii during the twelve years starting in 1960 and ending in 1971 (see table above). These were the twelve complete years subsequent to statehood in which the Certificate of Hawaiian Birth Program was in existence. That's the program that provides the theoretical loophole in which someone could have been born outside the state of Hawaii, yet still be in posession of a legally issued Certification of Live Birth.
If the State of Hawaii Department of Health maintains information on the source of the original documents used to create records in their data base of birth records, this information may be publicly available through a simple inquiry as provided by current state Freedom of Information act statutes.
Question 1 for the Department of Health: Do you keep information on the source of the original documents used to create records in the official data base.
Question 2: Can you provide a statistical diagnosis, by year, of the origin of all birth record documents by all the legally authorized methods ?
(Note: if the blogpost by Bob Owens below accurately describes all the options available in 1961, they would be as follows:)
(1) Hospital provided Certificate of Live Birth
(2) Born in Hawaii but not attended by a physician or midwife, parents sent in a birth certificate by mail, or provided in person to be filed
(3) "Delayed Certificate” filed with a statement before a government bureaucrat by one of the parents within the first year of the child’s life.
(4) Lieutenant Governor approved document based on testimony of an adult of child who had surpassed the age of one without a certificate, then a original certificate of Hawaiian birth could be issued upon testimony of an adult — including the adult child himself
(5) Under Act 182 H.B. NO. 3016-82, proof has been submitted to the director of health that the legal parents of such individual while living without the Territory or State of Hawaii had declared the Territory or State of Hawaii as their legal residence for at least one year immediately preceding the birth or adoption of such child.
Assuming such information is available, and assuming that the information requests would be honored by the State of Hawaii Department of Health, what would the results tell us ?
If 100% of the 195,000 official state records of births in Hawaii during these twelve years fit into Category 1 (Hospital Issued), then the case will be closed on the issue of President Obama's birth.
But what if some significant number -- as little as say 1% -- fit into the "other" categories ? Under such an assumption, in 1961, for instance, approximately 140 live births would have fit into this category.
Such results would merely serve to heighten the importance of birth certificate transparency on the part of President Obama.
The best solution, as Andrew Sullivan suggests, is to simply have the President release the 1961 Certificate of Live Birth, because it's easily done and it will put the matter to rest.