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New York Recognizes "Birth" of Stillborns

New York Recognizes "Birth" of Stillborns

New York Recognizes "Birth" of Stillborns Pregnancy Loss and Awareness Ribbon

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The state begins issuing certificates for stillbirths.

For years families who suffered stillbirths were not able to receive certificates acknowledging their babies existence.

After years of debate, New York State is now offering those families a new separate certificate recognizing the stillbirth. It also allows parents to name their stillborn child.

Assemblywoman Sandra Galef sponsored the bill that led to the new certificates. She said they'll bring closure to families, "I think for the 17,000 that unfortunately have the experience of having a stillborn, this is just a measure to try and help them with their grief."

Rebecca Morales lost her child during pregnancy, and says she had no idea that she wouldn't be able to get a birth certificate for her son. "When I gave birth to him I really didn't know that I wasn't going to have any acknowledgement that he existed" she said. "So I kept trying to give the nurses and the social workers my paperwork for him, but they kept saying things like 'We don't need that right now' or 'Oh, we'll take it from you later.' Then finally one social worker turned to me and said 'I'm confused, was he born alive?' So I explained to her that no he wasn't, that he was a stillbirth. Then she said 'Oh, well you don't get anything for him.' That's how I learned there would be no acknowledgement for him." 

Morales says the certificate would mean a lot to the memory of her son, "It's comforting to know that he's recognized somewhere, that he existed, he was my son, he is my son."

The bill has been in the legislature since 2003. Governor Cuomo signed it into law last September.

Families in New York State who've already experienced a stillbirth can apply for the certificate retroactively.