Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The No Heartbeat Act

I was watching Law and Order SVU the other day and there were two back to back episodes about woman killing their babies but the whole cases revolved around if the babies were stillborn or not...Of course, the show is set in New York so it got me thinking about what the laws in Georgia say about stillbirths...

Low and behold, I come across the No Heartbeat Act that was signed into law on May 29, 2008. Maybe this made the news when it was signed but I was still a happy-go-lucky pregnant girl on that day and foolishly wouldn't have paid attention to such a sad thing (which is what pisses me off about people now but I used to be one!). The No Heartbeat Act would provide a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth (CBRS) to families that have suffered a stillbirth. The next two paragraphs were taken from the Share Atlanta website:

The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth: The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS) is a memorial document that families who have experienced a stillborn child can request. It recognizes the birth of their baby separate from their baby’s death. It provides a lasting document for recognition of a baby born still. This document is for comfort, closure and healing for the family.

This law was passed because the process and cost of pregnancy, labor and birth for a live born or stillborn baby are identical. This law offers compassion and support to parents who endure the death and birth of their baby by recognizing the birth event regardless of outcome.

According to the research that I've done since stumbling on this law was that part of this law is that its the hospital's responsiblity to inform all affected families of this law so that they can obtain this certificate...Guess what, I wasn't told so it makes me wonder how many other heartbroken mommies out there don't know if their state provides this certificate. 21 states provide this certificates to families with stillborn babies.

I called the hospital this morning to make sure that a Fetal Death Certificate was filled so that I could contact Georgia's Vital Records department because one MUST be submitted by the delivering hospital for a family to obtain a CBRS. Luckily, one was filed and the forms to obtain a CBRS are on there way...So, to go from not having any paper from the state recognizing my baby to have forms on the way is a bittersweet moment...

9 comments:

Trennia said...

I believe EVERY BABY that is born rather still or not deserves something stating they exsited!
I think miscarriaged babies should be thought of too.
Thinking of ALL these babies that has gone on before us, but they are NOT forgotten!

Leila's mommy said...

thank you so much for posting this. i'm going to look up the law in VA. i was so upset that Leila did not receive either a birth or death certificate. according to the state of virginia, she never existed, and that is just so insulting it infuriates me. i just recently had to submit "proof" to Matt's school that Leila died so that he could be reimbursed for the classes he dropped due to his overwhelming grief. as if being asked to prove that your baby died weren't upsetting enough, the only document i had was her cremation certificate stating "fetus".
sigh.... the punches in the stomach never end....

((hugs))
christy

Maggie said...

Thanks so much for this information. I know when I left the hospital, having only a death certificate seemed so harsh and so final. It didn't seem right. I think our babies deserve some recognition that they were born too. Thinking of you. ((hugs))

Jessica said...

Jen, that is excellent news. All babies should be recognized, but in this world they are just pushed aside based on state.

Kelli with Love said...

Good find, Jen. How nice to get a record of her birth. It's a shame all states don't do this.

Jill said...

I wish all states offered this certificate to parents. Thanks for sharing this info!

Bluebird said...

Very interesting. I've heard mention of this but never really understood what all it entailed. I'm sure it will be a "happy" (in a so very sad way!) day when you get the certificate for Lilly.

Never forgetting Gregory said...

I hate that you weren't told this originally and that many others weren't told. I think everyone should get one. I had to pay all the hospital bills to deliver my son, dead or not! The least they could do is offer this simple piece of paper that would mean the world to DBMs. Glad you are getting this for Lily.

Em said...

I completely agree with Trennia.

I don't know what my state's laws are. I hope that is something I won't have to research.