(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana Governor Mike Pence held a ceremonial signing at the Indiana State House for HB 1190, a new law that entitles parents in the Hoosier State the right to determine what happens to the body of their miscarried child.
The new law requires Indiana health care facilities to inform the parent or parents of that right both verbally and in writing within 24 hours of any miscarriage and also to provide the parents with information regarding counseling that may be available concerning the loss of their child.
Christina Cook, former Thomas More Society intern, was instrumental in the drafting of HB 1190 and participated in the ceremonial signing. Cook first became aware of the issue of miscarriage burial legislation while working at the Thomas More Society last summer, which led her to draft an article for Loyola University Chicago Law Journal on the topic, slated for publication this year. Cook, who hails from the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, is currently the Civitas ChildLaw Fellow at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is expected to earn her Juris Doctor next spring.
"We are very proud that Christina Cook's very fine work at Thomas More Society has borne fruit in the form of this positive, pro-life reform legislation in her home State of Indiana," said Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society. "We hope that more states will follow suit in adopting similar laws that accord due respect to the dignity and humanity of the unborn child and to the rights of grieving parents after a miscarriage."
According to Cook's research, Indiana is the sixteenth state to pass legislation requiring health care facilities to notify parents of their right to bury a miscarried child, regardless of gestational age. An additional seven states afford parents the right to bury a miscarried child, but only upon the parent's request, and many parents remain unaware of their rights in this respect. The remaining 27 states make no explicit mention of parents' right to notice, nor do they entitle parents to bury or otherwise arrange what happens to the body of their miscarried child, even if they have requested to do so.
Indiana Representative Hal Slager (R) authored the bill in January. Indiana Senator Ed Charbonneau (R) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The legislature passed the bill with a nearly unanimous vote, and Governor Pence officially signed the bill into law, which will become effective on October 1 of this year.
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