S.B. 1323 of 2002
P.A. 562 of 2002
MCL 333.2803, 28345, 2848, 2888, 20161
Sponsor: Sen. Loren Bennett
Effective Date: October 1, 2002
When a family suffers the death of a child moments after the birth of that child, their grief is profound. This legislation recognizes their loss with a death certificate. Although this gesture does not remove the family's grief, it does help to console the family. When a family suffers the death of a child moments before the birth of that child, they experience the same loss as those families that lose a young child. However, those families that lose their children to stillbirth or miscarriage are not given any recognition of their loss. This law creates a "family-friendly" certificate of prenatal death to recognize the loss the family has suffered.
An amendment was added on the House floor by Rep. Triette Reeves which requires that race be included in the abortion reporting data. This will allow the state to have a Michigan-specific picture of the race of women obtaining abortions.
Sen. Loren Bennett
The legislation creates a "family-friendly" death certificate to acknowledge the loss a family suffers upon the death and stillbirth of a child.
Sen. Bennett introduced S.B. 1323 on 5/07/02 and it was referred to the Families, Mental Health, & Human Services Committee. The Committee held a hearing on 5/15/02 and the bill was passed unanimously. S.B. 1323 was passed unanimously by the full Senate on 5/30/02 and sent to the House where it was referred to the Committee on Family & Children Services.
The bill was voted out of committee on 9/17/02. That same day, the House amended the bill with an unrelated amendment so that the bill became a two issue bill. This move caused us to lose the votes of some staunch pro-life legislators, but the bill was still passed as amended by the House with a 69 to 33 vote. On 9/19/02 the Senate concurred in the amended House version with a 26 to 9 vote. The Governor signed the bill into law on 11/12/02.
If a child is born and lives only for a minute or two, the birth and death are legally recognized. The parents receive certificates to recognize those events. When a family suffers the stillbirth of a child late in pregnancy, however, that loss is not legally recognized. The most the families receive now is a copy of a government form the physician must fill out regarding a "fetal death." This bill would recognize a stillborn child with a "stillbirth" certificate. Although this does not remove the family's grief, it does help to console the family by affirming the reality of the child and the family's loss.
You may view the legislation on the Michigan Legislature's website by going to www.michiganlegislature.org