Monday, October 6, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Ohio Grieving Parents Act

This flew under my radar, but I'm still trying to decide why it bothers me and bites at me so much... any help on why, folks? (From Kevin Coughlin's website here)

SB 175, also known as the Grieving Parents Act, would make changes to state law concerning the disposition of fetal remains, including requiring better information sharing between hospitals and parents as well as greater choice for parents dealing with the unexpected loss of a child.

“The unexpected loss of a pregnancy can be a very difficult, highly-emotional time for expectant parents,” said Coughlin. “SB 175 works to provide a support system for parents so they can begin the healing process, while giving them the information and tools they need to be able to make informed decisions about what to do with the fetal remains.”

Sen. Coughlin noted that according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss. In fact, studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25 percent of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage.

While current Ohio law allows for the burial or cremation of the remains of a fetus that has reached at least 20 weeks of gestation (classified as a stillbirth), there is no such guarantee for women who miscarry prior to 20 weeks (classified as a loss of pregnancy). Also, while hospitals and other health care facilities typically dispose of the fetal remains according to their own policy, there are no standards in Ohio that regulate how or even if a family is informed about the fetal disposition procedures in the hospital or clinic in which they are receiving care.

SB 175 works to remedy this unfortunate disparity by allowing parents, upon request, to seek a death certificate for a miscarried fetus, which would permit them to take possession of the remains and would give them the opportunity to do so before the remains are disposed of according to hospital policy. It would also create uniform standards by which health care providers would be required to inform parents about their right to seek a death certificate, as well as the disposal procedures of each hospital or clinic.
And here he is talking about it. I just don't think I like him.


Jere Keys said...

I know exactly why I don't like this bill - it's another attempt to place the definition of "life" at conception rather than at birth, thus providing more ammunition for the abortion wars. It's also a disturbing reminder of Sen. Santorum's decision to bring the fetal remains of his wife's miscarriage home so his kids could cuddle and say goodbye to their little sibling. I don't know how that doesn't sound psychotic and disgusting.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

People grieve in different ways and should be free to do so.

As I understand, the pro-choice groups signed off on this bill because did not change the definition of a fetal death and did not include fetal remains that are product of an abortion.

I would say it's a good bill with little ideological motive behind it.

kmctoledo said...

My personal response to the Ohio Grieving Parents act (Senate Bill 175):

At 38 years of age I recently experienced my first pregnancy then soon after a miscarriage at approximately 8-9 weeks of gestation. From conception to end this has been an emotional roller coaster.

When at 13 weeks an ultrasound showed our baby no longer had a heartbeat, I learned my options were: to 1) allow my body to naturally deliver or 2) have a D & C. In hopes to minimize the emotional pain of delivering our unborn child I chose a D & C. I also chose to wait a few days for the procedure because I wanted my own OB for the surgery and to date I’d had no spotting or physical symptoms of the miscarriage.

The day before my scheduled surgery my body had caught up to the reality of what had happened and I was soon in the ER with heavy bleeding and cramping/contractions. Within 2 hours my water broke and I began to pass heavy clots of tissue. I was terrified to even go to the bathroom for fear of delivering into the hospital toilet. I was naïve and never could have imagined this was how my pregnancy would end. Regardless of the quick progression of the miscarriage I was unable to have the D & C performed until a minimum of 6 hrs after my admission as I’d eaten breakfast and there was concern I could aspirate during the surgery. I wanted nothing more than for this day to be over so I could start to process all that had happened and to try to begin to emotionally heal.

After a full day in the ER, just prior to finally being wheeled back to surgery, I was told there was one last form I was required to sign. I was prepped by the hospital staff that the form was part of a new Ohio law and a signature was required in order for the D & C to take place. The nurse apologized for what was to follow; I was then presented with a document requiring me to release the 8-9 week old fetal remains of our child to either a funeral home or for disposal as medical waste. I told the staff I couldn’t make that decision and passed the clipboard off to my boyfriend who was standing bed side. We were both in awe of what was happening and I was then told by law, w/out a patient signature, they could not perform the D & C. I felt instantly devastated.

When I first came into the ER that morning the woman who processed my admitting papers shared that she’d also had a miscarriage and told me she was sorry for my loss. Throughout the entire physically/emotionally horrific experience of actively miscarrying in the ER I just kept reminding myself that this could have been worse in so many ways and I started to feel a little bit at peace. Even when being prepped for surgery my nurse told me she had miscarried 30 years ago and though it was hard to experience it would all be okay.

I wanted more than anything for this pregnancy to result in the birth of a healthy child but it didn’t. Instead I was left to choose one of two means to deliver our child to whom we would never hear take its first breath. And now, I was being forced by the state of Ohio to declare if I viewed our 9 wk old fetus/baby as worthy of a proper burial or simply as medical waste.

In a whole new light I am able to empathize with the pain a family may feel when they lose a child during pregnancy. I also respect the decision, previously protected by Ohio law, allowing a family to take their fetal remains for burial. These are all personal, private decisions.

What I can’t accept is the audacity of the Ohio politicians who have deceived it constituents by passing legislation deemed a protective measure for grieving parents. This act is really nothing more than a smoke screen that requires any Ohio woman getting a D & C or an abortion to publicly decide the worth of the child they are spontaneously (involuntarily) or voluntarily aborting.