S.7863, Tedisco / A.10013, Crespo: In relation to notification to mothers of their right to bury their child

Published on April 27th, 2018

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would require hospitals to notify mothers who suffer a natural miscarriage at any point in their pregnancy that they have the right to bury their child. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill.

Under current Public Health Law, a burial permit is required for the burial or other disposition of human remains resulting from a fetal death of 20 weeks gestation or above. The law is silent on providing such a permit in cases of fetal death which occur under 20 weeks gestation.

While some mothers who naturally miscarry under 20 weeks are provided the option of obtaining a permit and planning a burial and service for their child, other mothers are being denied this right because the silence of the current law is being wrongly interpreted to mean that a permit under 20 weeks is prohibited.

Denying mothers who miscarry a much-loved infant the right to properly bury or cremate their child is heartless, inhumane, harmful to the healing process, and simply wrong. Families who lose a child to miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy have suffered a devastating loss, and providing a respectful burial and a place to grieve often helps to bring comfort and closure. Many mothers – and fathers – need and desire a way to say good-bye to their baby.

Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss; the National Institutes of Health estimates that 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies in the United States result in miscarriage. This legislation would ensure that every mother who miscarries a child in the hospital is afforded the opportunity to have her child’s remains appropriately buried or cremated. The bill does not mandate such disposition, but gives mothers the choice. A number of other states have already implemented similar laws, including Massachusetts, Illinois and Michigan.

We strongly urge you to co-sponsor and support this legislation.

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