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Health Law and Policy Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2012

Columbia Law School

Missing Angel Acts

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Full-Text Articles in Health Law and Policy

"The Birth Of Death": Stillborn Birth Certificates And The Problem For Law, Carol Sanger Jan 2012

"The Birth Of Death": Stillborn Birth Certificates And The Problem For Law, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

Stillbirth is a confounding event, a reproductive moment that at once combines birth and death. This Essay discusses the complications of this simultaneity as a social experience and as a matter of law. While traditionally, stillbirth didn't count for much on either score, this is no longer the case. Familiarity with fetal life through obstetric ultrasound has transformed stillborn children into participating members of their families long before birth, and this in turn has led to a novel demand on law.

Dissatisfied with the issuance of a stillborn death certificate, bereaved parents of stillborn babies have successfully lobbied state ...