New Texas Law Gives Parents The Rights To Deceased Unborn Children
18 August 2015No Comments
Under new Texas law in effect on September 1, parents are now guaranteed the right to the remains of their deceased unborn children, no matter how small they are. The new law, House Bill 635, will make it possible for parents who experience a miscarriage to give their unborn child a proper burial.
For legal purposes, most Texas hospitals previously did not release the remains of a child younger than 20 weeks. Though some Texas hospitals will give the remains of stillborn infants to parents if asked, some interpret state law to classify fetal remains less than 350 grams as “medical waste,” said Charles Bailey, lawyer and senior vice president with the Texas Hospital Association. Covenant and UMC have worked with parents in similar situations so they could have a proper burial.
State Rep. Walter “Four” Price, R-Amarillo, authored the House Bill 635, stated, “There were some established laws with respect to how you would handle fetal remains above a certain age and above a certain weight. But it was not as clear and hospitals had different policies with respect to anything that fell outside those ranges.”
Parents Want Rights to Properly Grieve
Lubbock Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness founder Suzy Emre wishes this law was an option for her when she had miscarried 16 years ago, and than a second time in 2004. “You lose a lot of what could’ve been,” she said. “I didn’t get a first cry, I didn’t get the first steps. I didn’t get to send them to high school. I didn’t get to do the basic things that every parent gets to have with their child.”
Emre believes that if the hospital would have given her the rights to her babies’ bodies, she could have reached closure through a funeral. “It’s like not being able to take your loved one home, not being able to take your grandmother, your mom home once they passed away,” she said, “but now, you can take that baby home and you can bury them and they can have a grave marker, and I think that’s very important.”
She is grateful that the parents she counsels will now have a chance to get some closure and heal from such difficult moment in their lives. “They are our babies, they just didn’t make it home from the hospital,” she said, “but they are our babies, and we don’t mind talking about it.”