Abortion Rights at Issue in Birth Certificate Debate
Abortion rights supporters and a physicians group are voicing concerns about legislation that would authorize California to issue a "certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Senate Health Committee on Wednesday will consider SB 850 by Sens. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) and Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana). Similar legislation has passed in 18 states and is pending in seven other states.
All states issue a death certificate for a stillborn and require the family to bury or cremate the remains.
Abortion rights supporters say they are concerned that the bill could define an unborn fetus as a person, a move that could lead to wider restrictions on abortions.
Yali Bair, a vice president at Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said, "It is important that elective terminations are not included in that definition."
The California Chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also has voiced concerns about the bill.
Maldonado said the bill only would provide certificates for stillbirths. A stillborn is defined by health officials as any fetus born dead after 20 or more gestational weeks (Lelchuck, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/10).