A bill awaiting Governor Bill Lee’s signature could allow grieving Tennessee parents of miscarried children to request a commemorative birth certificate.
If passed, the doctor who confirms the loss of a pregnancy would, at the behest of the parent(s), provide verification of the miscarriage.
Then the Tennessee Department of Health would, within 60 days, issue to the parents a commemorative certificate. It would include the name and sex of the child, if known, and the following statement: “This commemorative certificate is not proof of a live birth.”
The department could not register a birth associated with such a certificate or use it to calculate live-birth statistics; it would have no legal effect and could not be used as a public record. But it would provide something tangible to stand as official confirmation to the parents that their child was, in fact, an actual human life.
The bill defines “nonviable birth” as an unintentional, spontaneous fetal demise occurring prior to the 20th week of gestation during a pregnancy verified by a healthcare practitioner.