Health

Kansas Republican Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook Amends Bill to Require Doctors to Report All Miscarriages to State

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Legislation meant to give birth certificates to the parents of still-born babies, first labeled a “feel-good” bill by Kansas lawmakers, will now require all miscarriages to be reported to state agencies.

ThinkProgress reports that HB 2613 was intended to provide a stillborn certificate that did not place as much emphasis on the child’s death, as an emotional relief to parents. Pro-life Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, added the requirement to report miscarriages last week, leading the bill’s original author to withdraw his support.

"There are some things in life we can truly separate politics from," said Rep. John Doll, R-Garden City, who introduced the bill. "I felt strongly this was one of those bills. I can get as political as the next person, but this isn't the bill to do it with."

Doll proposed the bill on behalf of one of his constituents who said that a “certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth” would help with the trauma of a child’s death. He said he regretted the political cast the bill had taken, considering the positive response it had received.

"I put it in my newsletter, and I had three people write back telling me their story and telling me how meaningful this piece of legislation as written would have been for those who had gone through this," Doll said.

Pilcher-Cook, who has also lobbied for outlawing surrogacy and charging a sales tax on abortion, spearheaded a committee effort to attach the miscarriage reporting amendment. If it passes, any medical facility that oversees a miscarriage or physician that sees a woman after she has had a miscarriage at any state of pregnancy would have to report it to the state health department.  

Elizabeth Nash, the states issue manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told ThinkProgress that the bill “is really taking this idea of reporting fetal death a step further in a really strange way.”

Nash called it a step on the way to further state impositions on women's bodies.

"At the end of the day, this is not the way to go to provide support for a woman who has had a later miscarriage," Nash said. "This doesn’t make up for the loss of a wanted pregnancy, and could also end up infringing on abortion rights."

Sources: ThinkProgress, Topeka Capital-Journal

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