Assemblyman Will Barclay is urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill that would allow families to obtain a certificate of still birth, a way of providing closure to grieving parents.
All that's offered now is a fetal death certificate.
But to some families that's not enough, the bill's memo says: "Many families who have suffered the agony of a stillbirth want a certificate acknowledging the process, with contractions, labor and delivery, that resulted in a stillbirth. They feel it would ease their pain and help in their healing process."
The bill passed late in the legislative session. It was delivered to the governor yesterday.
Previous attempts at such legislation have run into opposition from abortion-rights advocates, who feel that it's a way of undermining the right for a woman to choose to end a pregnancy. But this bill is written in such a way so that it covers stillbirths, and not abortions.
“At a level of great abstraction, there are probably some people who worry that recognizing a nonviable fetus as a person would in some way be a seed that could sprout into a threat to abortion,” said Roger Evans, a Planned Parenthood lawyer, in this New York Times article by Tamar Lewin (read the whole thing... it's a good distillation of the issue).
The bill withstood those abstract concerns. Democratic Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, a member of the Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus, voted to approve the measure (so did 139 of her colleagues, with zero opposed). Republican Sens. Joe Griffo and Patty Ritchie also voted yes.
Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, D-Mount Vernon, was the only lawmaker to vote against it in its final iteration.