Lily’s Law signed protecting rights of grieving families

Mike Seals - April 23, 2021 12:48 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation was signed Wednesday to better protect the rights of grieving families after the loss of a pregnancy. Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, and Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany, are the authors of Senate Bill 647. Lily’s Law extends to all families, regardless of when a stillbirth or fetal death occurs, the right to request their child’s remains for private burial.

Pugh said the legislation was requested by a mother, who after losing two children to miscarriage, discovered through her work for a pregnancy and infant loss ministry that many families are not aware of their right to request their children’s remains.

“Under current law, healthcare providers only have to let those families who suffer a loss after 12 weeks of their right to request their child’s remains. Losing a child at any stage of pregnancy is heartbreaking for families, but can be even worse when medical facilities dispose of the infant’s remains without first checking with the parents,” Pugh said. “Given that around 80% of pregnancy losses occur within the first trimester, Lily’s Law will ensure that families experiencing a loss have the opportunity to properly grieve and honor their child however they choose.”

Lily’s Law defines fetal death and stillbirth and subjects birthing centers and medical facilities to the same requirement to maintain a written policy for the disposition of a child’s remains from such an event as licensed hospitals.

“I want to thank Governor Stitt for his support of grieving women and families,” Stark said, who worked as a registered nurse for 15 years. “Lily’s Law will hopefully open up the discussion and allow women to process the loss of their babies in a more positive way.” The bill is named in honor of an Oklahoma family who lost their daughter, Lily Gianna, early in the first trimester in 2012. The couple was unaware they could ask for their daughter’s remains and the facility did not offer the option. Had they known, they said they would have chosen to recover Lily’s remains and bury her. The new law will go into effect on November 1, 2021.

 

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