In A Flash

Louisiana will start issuing commemorative certificates for miscarriages

By: - June 27, 2023 4:39 pm
Raymond Crews

Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Bossier, sponsored a law that allows people to receive a commemorative certificate after a miscarriage. (Allsop/LSU Manship School News Service)

Louisiana will start offering “commemorative certificates” – a document similar to a birth certificate – for miscarriages under a new law approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards and state lawmakers this month. 

The measure encourages doctors to tell people who lose pregnancies at 20 weeks or earlier that they are entitled to a government-issued certificate in remembrance of the event. 

Like a government-issued birth certificate, the miscarriage certificate will be required to list the name and gender of the lost fetus if known.

If no name is given, state records will be required to list Baby, Baby Girl or Baby Boy in the first-name slot on the document. The last name of the person who lost the pregnancy will be automatically assigned to the fetus and put on the certificate.

People going through a miscarriage may not have a choice about whether they are offered the miscarriage certificate. The law leaves it up to doctors and other medical professionals to decide whether a person should be offered the document — not the person who lost the pregnancy. 

The certificate will also have the disclaimer that it is not “proof of a live birth,” and the state will be prohibited from using it when calculating live birth statistics. 

The measure was overwhelmingly supported in the Legislature, with a 97-5 vote in the House and a 34-2 vote in the Senate.

Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Bossier City, is the sponsor of the law.

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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press.