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Galef Bill Creates Certificate for Stillbirth

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York State Senator Bill Larkin (R- Cornwall-on-Hudson) and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed their legislation creating a Certificate for Stillbirth, on September 26. Currently, couples who experience one of 1,700 stillbirths in New York are issued only a fetal death certificate.

“This new law is critical to parents who suffer through the trauma of having a stillbirth,” Assemblywoman Galef said. “The bill validates their loss, providing them with a formal acknowledgement of the process of gestation and labor. It will help to ease parents’ pain and aid them in the healing process. I believe this legislation will give the families who experience this tragedy one small means to help assuage their grief.”

The law allows couples who experience a still birth the option of requesting a stillborn certificate from the Department of Health. The new certificate would allow couples to record a name for their stillborn fetus on the form.

"This will make such a huge huge difference in people’s lives," said Debbie Aglietti, of Northeast Doulas. Doulas are birthing professionals who work closely with midwives, Northeast Doulas is located in Cortlandt, and work largely with the Hudson Valley Hospital Center.

"To them it’s a big loss, and to not be able to put a name on it, it’s not fair. To them it’s a life, and it’s their baby," said Aglietti.

"It is my sincere hope that this new law will bring families a sense of closure during this difficult time," said Senator Bill Larkin.  "I thank the governor for signing this important legislation into law and for recognizing its importance to the families of New York state."

“Thousands of New York families will now get the respect for their stillborns they should have had at the time they needed it,” said Jeff Tieger, co-founder of Daniel’s STAR, (The Daniel Ian Tieger Fund for Stillbirth Awareness and Research), a foundation advocating for still birth awareness and research.  “This bill is about providing comfort to families through recognition of the birth process.  They were born still, but they were still born."

The new law goes into effect 180 days after being signed into law and will apply to instances of stillbirth regardless of whether they occurred before or after this date.

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