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Series

Columbia Law School

Stillbirth

2011

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Full-Text Articles in Law

"The Birth Of Death": Stillborn Birth Certificates And The Problem For Law, Carol Sanger Jan 2011

"The Birth Of Death": Stillborn Birth Certificates And The Problem For Law, Carol Sanger

Faculty Scholarship

Stillbirth is a confounding event, a reproductive moment that at once combines birth and death. This Article discusses the complications of this simultaneity as a social experience and as a matter of law. Traditionally, stillbirth didn’t count for much on either score. Legally, a dead infant was nothing for purposes of descent; culturally, stillbirths were regarded as insignificant; after all, what was lost? This is no longer the case. Familiarity with fetal life through obstetric ultrasound throughout pregnancy has transformed stillborn children into participating members of their families long before birth. This in turn has led to a novel ...