May 22, 2007
Stillborn fetuses don't get birth certificates, only babies do.
A movement to pass legislation that would give birth certificates to women who deliver stillborn babies is provoking opposition from pro-choice groups.
The New York Times reports,
The birth-certificate laws, often referred to as "Missing Angels" bills, occupy uncertain territory, skirting the abortion debate while implicitly raising the question of fetal personhood.
Many antiabortion groups say the laws fill a need for parents. But some abortion rights supporters see the push for these laws as a barely disguised political move to undermine abortion rights.
In some states, local chapters of abortion rights groups have opposed the legislation. But at the national level, some abortion rights groups are comfortable with the laws, if they are drafted carefully to cover naturally occurring fetal death and not late-term abortion.
One woman recounted receiving a death certificate after her daughter was stillborn. "When I called and asked for my daughter's birth certificate, the woman asked how she died, and when I told her, she said I didn't have a baby, I had a fetus, and I couldn't get a birth certificate."