BILL NUMBER: S637
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to enacting the
"missing angels act"
This bill requires the Department of Health to establish a Certificate
of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. This new certificate would not serve
as proof of a live birth, but would be an official government document
issued to families to evidence the fact that they experienced a birth
resulting in stillbirth.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 2: Adds a new Public Health Law sections 4160-a and 4160-b to
establish a new Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. This
provision outlines the criteria needed for such a certificate to be
issued, the contents and license fee for such certificate, and those
who are eligible to receive such a Certificate of Birth Resulting in
Stillbirth. Such Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth should
contain information such as: the date and time of the stillbirth; the
county in which the stillbirth occurred; the sex of the stillborn
fetus; upon request of the parent or parents of such stillborn fetus,
the name of such infant; the place of such stillbirth, including the
name of the hospital or birthing center and the street address of such
stillbirth; the names, date of birth, and state of birth of the mother
and father; and the corresponding file number of the fetal death
EXISTING LAW :
There is currently no certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth.
The certificates issued by the Department of Health include live
birth, death, and fetal death.
A Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth would help to bring
closure to those who have endured the trauma of stillbirth by giving
them an official state registered certificate. Mothers who give birth
to a stillborn fetus have little validation of "motherhood" or the
fact that they carried a fetus close to term or to term. A Certificate
of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth would provide grieving parents, who
must leave the hospital without a living child, the same consideration
and respect given to parents leaving the hospital with an infant in
their arms. Regardless of the outcome, both sets of parents endured
the same birthing process.
There are approximately 30,000 stillbirths that occur in the United
States each year. The number of stillbirths is greater than all infant
deaths combined. In fact, eight times as many babies are stillborn
when compared to the number of babies that die of Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome (SIDS). It was estimated that SIDS claimed 22 children in New
York State in 2004, while during the same period of time 1,784 infants
were stillborn. Over 50% of stillbirths occur due to an
"undeterminable medical reason". Further, a majority of such
stillbirths occur near or at full term. Stillbirth Occurrences have no
socioeconomic, age, race, lifestyle, or behavioral indicators.
The only official government document or acknowledgment of a
stillbirth is a certificate of fetal death. Under current law, there
is no official recognition to parents that there was a birth. Under
this bill, a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth would be
issued by the State of New York, upon the request of a grieving
parent. Such document would provide recognition of the birth, and if
requested by the parents, a name of the child would be duly recorded.
Nothing in this bill is intended to subject physicians, other health
care providers, or hospitals to any undue burden. Hospitals should
designate the appropriate person on the hospital staff to inform
parents of the availability of such certificate and the process for
requesting them. Written materials for the purposes of informing
parents could be developed by the Health Department for use by
hospital personnel. Some stillbirth bills have raised controversy
among some because they referred to the fetus as an unborn child. The
text of this bill does not use any such language.
It is the hope of this bill's sponsors that creating a Certificate of
Birth Resulting in Stillbirth will help to increase awareness of the
occurrence of stillbirth, in this country. Further, that it will
encourage the pursuit of more medical research to help curtail the
incidence of stillbirths.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
This bill is similar to S.57-A of 2005/2006, S.186 of 2007/2008
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
90th day after it shall have become law.