Florida considers issuing certificates after miscarriages

Published: Mar. 24, 2017 at 6:13 PM EDT
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By: Associated Press

April 5, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida could begin issuing what's essentially a birth certificate to women who've had miscarriages.

The House voted 115-1 Wednesday for what's called the "Grieving Families Act."

At a parent's request, the state would issue "certificates of nonviable birth" to women whose pregnancies end after nine weeks and before 20 weeks of gestation.

Pregnancies that end at 20 weeks or later are considered stillbirths and death certificates must be issued. Parents can also request a birth certificate in such cases.

A similar Senate bill has one more committee stop before it's ready for a full chamber vote. It has been unanimously approved in its first two committee stops.

By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

March 24, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Legislation allowing grieving families to receive what is being called a "Non-Viable" Birth Certificate was approved by a House Committee on a 15-0 vote, but Pro Choice advocates worry the bill is a backdoor attempt to change the concept of when life begins.

Florida law currently allows a family which has miscarried a fetus 20 weeks or older to apply for and receive a certificate of Fetal Death.

State Rep. Bob Cortes wants to cut the time in half, to ten weeks.

“They can take that child right now and bury it, give it proper burial and give it a headstone and everything else to recognize that that child was there. They should have a certificate to recognize that child was part of their life,” Cortes said.

Sponsors believe as many as 50,000 parents could apply each year.

As the bill was cruising to a 15 to nothing committee vote, The National Organization for Women expressed it’s opposition, “Waive in opposition” they chimed from the back of the room.

While the Florida Catholic Conference said it supported the bill.

N.O.W. believes the bill is a backdoor attempt to influence future abortion rulings.

"Is this in your mind about abortion? Is that what this is about?" we asked.

"Yes, its about giving a death certificate to a fetus,"said Barbara Devane.

Charo Valero of the Latino Advocacy Network went even further, “I think this gets us into really tricky territory when it comes to the start of life.”

So we asked Ingrid Del Gado of the Catholic Conference about their intent.

"”Nothing to do with abortion?" we asked.

"Nothing to do with abortion, just the value of the loss of an unborn child," Del Gado said.

And Cortes says the bill has nothing to do with changing the definition of when life begins.

“As a matter of fact, if someone aborts a fetus, they will not be eligible to apply for a non viable birth certificate,” he told us.

While fetal death certificates have been around in Florida for a decade, the suspicion about them has never subsided.

The legislation is ready for a floor vote in the House, and it’s up before a Senate committee on Monday.