Bill S637-2009

Enacts the "missing angels act"

Enacts the "missing angels act"; requires the department of health office of vital records to establish a form of certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth; provides such form shall be given to the parents of a stillborn child; makes related provisions.

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  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO HEALTH
  • Jan 12, 2009: REFERRED TO HEALTH

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S637

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the public health law, in relation to enacting the "missing angels act"

PURPOSE : 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 certificate.

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.

JUSTIFICATION : 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 : None.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.

EFFECTIVE DATE : 90th day after it shall have become law.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 637 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 12, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sens. LARKIN, DeFRANCISCO, GOLDEN, GRIFFO, MAZIARZ, MORA- HAN, VOLKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Health AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to enacting the "missing angels act" THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "missing angels act". S 2. The public health law is amended by adding two new sections 4160-a and 4160-b to read as follows: S 4160-A. CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH. 1. NOTWITH- STANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION FORTY-ONE HUNDRED SIXTY OF THIS TITLE, THE OFFICE OF VITAL RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT SHALL ESTABLISH A CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH ON A FORM APPROVED BY THE LOCAL REGISTRAR FOR EACH STILLBIRTH. THIS CERTIFICATE WILL BE PROVIDED TO THE PARENT OR PARENTS OF A STILLBORN CHILD. 2. THE CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH SHALL MEET ALL OF THE FORMAT AND FILING REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION FORTY-ONE HUNDRED THIRTY OF THIS ARTICLE RELATING TO A LIVE BIRTH. 3. THE PERSON WHO PREPARES THE CERTIFICATE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL LEAVE BLANK ANY REFERENCES TO THE STILLBORN CHILD'S NAME IF THE PARENT OR PARENTS DO NOT WISH TO PROVIDE A NAME OF THE STILLBORN CHILD. 4. FOR PURPOSES OF FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL TAXES, THE CERTIFICATE PROVIDED UNDER THIS SECTION IS NOT PROOF OF A LIVE BIRTH. 5. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS CHAPTER, THE PARENTS MAY CHOOSE TO LIMIT THE DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION TO THE PARENTS NAMED ON THE CERTIFICATE, THEIR LAWFUL REPRESENTATIVES AND TO AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT.
6. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS TITLE, THE TERM "STILLBIRTH" SHALL MEAN THE NATURALLY OCCURRING INTRAUTERINE DEATH OF A FETUS THAT OCCURS AFTER THE TWENTIETH WEEK OF PREGNANCY. S 4160-B. DELAYED REGISTRATION OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH. WHEN A BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH OCCURRING IN THIS STATE HAS NOT BEEN REGISTERED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF DELIVERY, A CERTIFICATE MARKED "DELAYED" MAY BE FILED AND REGISTERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGU- LATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER RELATING TO EVIDENTIARY AND OTHER REQUIRE- MENTS SUFFICIENT TO SUBSTANTIATE THE ALLEGED FACTS OF BIRTH RESULTING IN STILLBIRTH. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.

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