When a pregnant woman goes to the doctor, he is treating two patients. When he aborts one, it’s called ‘the product of conception’ or ‘fetal tissue’. When miscarriage ends the life of the child….what to say on the records may depend on which state they’re in.
This case in West Virginia points out the problem.
Cassandra Meador was delighted to learn that she and her husband Jason were expecting their second son. But at about the midway point of her pregnancy, this Beckley native rushed to the hospital. Around 20 weeks into her pregnancy, she discovered the baby’s umbilical cord hanging out.
The doctors worked quickly to save Cassandra’s pregnancy – and the life of her son, Bobby James. But, despite their best efforts, they could not hold back Bobby’s early arrival into this world.
Her son had been born, 20 weeks before he was supposed to. Though fully formed, he was too weak to survive.
Faced with an agonizing loss, Cassandra and her family began making plans for mourning little Bobby James. But, due to a loophole in West Virginia’s law, they were stuck.
Because Bobby did not weigh enough, the law did not allow for the hospital to issue a birth certificate. Because they could not get a birth certificate, they could not get a death certificate. Without a death certificate, Cassandra and Jason would not be able to bury their son.
It’s a jarring thought, but the reality is they’ve appealed to state lawmakers to recognize that their son was a human being who died. The Family Policy Council of West Virginia drafted the “Grieving Parents Act,” otherwise known as Bobby’s Law.
The Grieving Parent’s Act gives parents the option of requesting formal recognition by the state of their children who are stillborn, miscarried, or suffer spontaneous fetal death. Not only does this legislation support the notion that all human life is worthy of respect and recognition, it also allows parents the legal means they need in order to properly bury, and grieve for, their children.
This is unreal, and sad. But when grieving parents act, things happen. More and more, parents grieving the loss of unborn human lives are speaking out and being heard. That dialogue is clarifying.
At the end of UnPlanned, former abortion clinic director Abby Johnson tells the tale of counseling a young woman, from the other side of the fence when she turned pro-life, as the woman walked back out the clinic to learn more before getting the abortion.
As we walked, I asked her “So what’s your situation?”
“Well, I went for a checkup. They told me I’m eighteen weeks pregnant.”
“Is that what they gave you?” I asked, pointing to the brochure in her hand. I recognized it as a flyer from the National Abortion Federation. On the front was a sticky note with their 1-800 hotline, which refers callers to clinics that do late-term abortions.
“Yes.” She looked down.
“Is that what you are going to do?” I asked her gently.
“I already have six children,” she answered. “How can I have another baby?”
“I smiled. “You just called this newest child a baby, so I can see you already know you’re his or her mother.”
She smiled in acknowledgement.