Today, my friends the Kulicks should be celebrating their second daughter's first birthday. But Victoria won't be blowing out a little candle on a cake. ...
Today, my friends the Kulicks should be celebrating their second daughter's first birthday. But Victoria won't be blowing out a little candle on a cake. In fact, she never drew a single breath--having been stillborn at 35 weeks on October 4, 2004.
I just received a package in the mail that included poignant reflections on that devastating event by her parents, David and Yelena, and a crayon drawing by sister Nicole. It also included a fact sheet on stillbirth, a First Candle/SIDS Alliance brochure (funded, I noted with interest, by the New York City Council and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene), and the opportunity to make a donation to a memorial fund.
In looking over the materials, I was surprised to learn of the many public policy issues relating to the 26,000 stillbirths that occur each year in the U.S. For example, according to the National Stillbirth Society, there is no uniform post-mortem protocol at the national, state or local levels nor is there any central repository for autopsy findings and other data that might help researchers identify the causes and reduce the incidence of stillbirths.
And it wasn't until 2001 that Arizona became the first state to issue a "Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth." (Last year, that state also added a $2,300 income-tax exemption to assist families with funeral expenses and other costs incurred with stillborns.) Thirteen states now provide such a certificate on request, and another seven issue a "Certificate of Stillbirth." In the remaining 30 states, families receive only a fetal death certificate.
Some legislators, it seems, are reluctant to address these issues, at least in part out of fear that they will ignite a firestorm of debate about when life begins. But others clearly have seen fit to champion grieving parents' assertions that treating babies who have been delivered, hugged and buried as "nonexistent" or "invisible" defies common sense and hinders the healing process.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Will Florida Gay Couples Really Be Able to Marry on January 6?1 hour ago
Somerville, Mass., Will Issue 'Scarlett Letters' for Unshoveled Sidewalks2 hours ago
The Week in Public Finance: Traffic Cam Drama, Retiree Healthcare and Another D.C. Shoutout3 hours ago
Supreme Court Rules Arizona Must Issue Driver's Licenses to Immigrants10 hours ago
The Woman Obama Picked to Improve Police Relationships with the Public10 hours ago
Ferguson's Inequality Fight Moves into the Courtroom10 hours ago