West Virginia Legislators Propose Bill to Honor Stillborn Babies

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 7, 2011   |   5:34PM   |   Charleston, WV

Eleven members of the West Virginia House of Delegates introduced the West Virginia Grieving Parents Act (HB3043), or “Bobby’s Law,” on Monday.

The proposed legislation would close a legal loophole that has prevented parents of the legal means they need in order to bury, and properly grieve for, their stillborn or miscarried child. 

“Every innocent human life is worthy of respect and recognition,” said Jeremy Dys, president and general counsel of the Family Policy Council of WV (FPCWV), “We are pleased that the House of Delegates appears poised to give every parent the option of having the state recognize their children.”
When Beckley native Cassandra Meador gave birth to her son, Bobby James, 20-weeks before he was due, she had no idea how being refused a birth certificate could extend her grief at losing a child.   She discovered that without a birth certificate, she was unable to obtain a death certificate.  As a result, she was given her son in a box to be stored at home until they could convince a funeral home to exhume the grave of Bobby’s grandfather and lay him to rest there. [related]
Distressed at the loss of her son and motivated to make sure this never happened to mothers like her, Cassandra reached out to the FPCWV for help.  The FPCWV immediately began working on a simple policy solution that closes the legal loophole that prevents the state from recognizing children like Bobby James with a birth certificate, the “Grieving Parents Act.” 
The “Grieving Parents Act” gives parents the option of requesting formal recognition by the state of their children who are stillborn, miscarried, or suffer spontaneous fetal death.  Cassandra and the FPCWV are asking West Virginia’s lawmakers to provide her, and other parents, with a way to have their children recognized under the law.