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Governor signs bill to provide nonviable birth certificates

(Courtesy, Goveror Ricketts' Office)

Parents of babies who died before birth will have a new way to find closure, thanks to a law that provides commemorative certificates for the baby.

Governor Pete Ricketts hosted a ceremonial signing event for LB1040 on Wednesday. LB1040 provides for the creation of commemorative certificates of nonviable birth for miscarriages that occur before the twentieth week of a pregnancy. LB 1040 was introduced by State Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston. The bill was passed by a vote of 44-1-3 by the Legislature.

“Senator Albrecht’s bill helps Nebraska families recognize the dignity of their baby who passes away before birth,” said Governor Ricketts. “This bill not only affirms the pre-born baby’s dignity, it also provides closure to mothers, fathers, and families who are grappling with the pain and heartache of losing a child.”

With this proposal, the Department of Health and Human Services will provide a form on its website that may be used to affirm the passing of a pre-born child. Once DHHS is presented with the verification of a nonviable birth, a certificate will be issued to the patient. A $17 fee will be charged to cover the cost of issuing the certificate.

“Nebraska is the first in the country to offer this type of certificate that recognizes the existence of pre-born children, and is both retroactive and requires no minimum gestation,” said Senator Albrecht. “It warms my heart to be able to offer this certificate to grieving mothers and families to help with the healing process after the loss of a pre-born child.”

Currently, DHHS provides upon request a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth for babies who pass away at the twentieth week of gestation or beyond.

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