Florida Issues Birth Certificates For Parents Grieving Miscarriages

Babies Lost Due To Miscarriage Are Now Recognized

Floridians who have suffered a miscarriage may request a birth certificate for their lost child starting July 1 thanks to the “Grieving Families Act”.

Labeled the “Grieving Families Act” (GFA), a bill proposed by Rep. Bob Cortes recently passed unanimously by the Florida Senate. This bill takes into account those parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage between 9-20 weeks of gestation. (A miscarriage is defined as the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy that ends on it’s own.)

"You have parents that have had miscarriages at 19 weeks and they find out after the grieving process that one more week and they could have gotten a certificate, and now they can't get it." Rep. Bob Cortes said.

Honoring Life

Currently those parents who suffer the passing of their child after 20 weeks are issued a death certificate for their stillborn child. Now, they may also request a birth certificate. However, prior to this bill’s passing, parents losing a child before the 20 week mark have been left with no options.

"Right now, the state recognizes stillborn births," Cortes said. "If it's 20 weeks or more and it dies, it's deemed stillborn. They can get a certificate. But if it's a miscarriage at 18 or 19 weeks, the parents walk away with nothing. They walk away completely dejected, with nothing at hand. This is a way to memorialize the child they were expecting. This is a way to grieve properly."

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Many parents are turning to expensive online resources to have a fake certificate created. They want the peace of mind knowing that their child’s name and life, though short, is recognized. The pain of suffering through the loss of a child is overwhelming. The hope is that this bill will give those mourning parents a way to tangibly connect with their lost child, if they request it.

"The parent can name the child if they have a gender or they can just name it Baby Smith," said Republican Rep. Bob Cortes, the bill’s House sponsor.

Requested Birth Certificate Is Not About Viable Life Argument

While some are questioning if this is a stab at reassessing when viable life begins, the bill’s sponsors are firm. The language of the bill was deliberately kept non-partisan to thwart such arguments.

"This has nothing to do with personhood," said Democratic Sen. Lauren Book, who said she received calls from people concerned about the bill. "It rather gives families that are grieving during a very difficult time some closure."

RELATED: 12 celebrities who know the pain of a miscarriage

Another concern voiced is whether this bill will cause legal ramifications in the future. The certificates will be deliberately worded to state that they are not to be used for proof of live birth. It also states it may not be used "to establish, bring, or support a civil cause of action seeking damages against any person or entity for bodily injury, personal injury, or wrongful death for a nonviable birth."

"If a mother tries to trap a father in a paternity suit," Cortes said. "If she says ‘you had a baby and it died.' This is not proof of a live birth. It cannot be used for any civil action."

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Peace For Those Who Have Lost

Parents who have suffered a miscarriage before this bill goes into effect will find the GFA covers them as well. According to the bill, they may also request a birth certificate for their lost child “regardless of the date on which the nonviable birth occurred”.

Holding a birth certificate listing their child’s name is a tangible way to work through the grieving process. Many parents are hoping that other states will follow suit and soon begin issuing these certificates when requested. This measure is expected to give parents a helping hand through the sadness of miscarriage.

H/T: Florida Politics

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