Family Leave Act A major initiative of the President Bill Clinton’s first term, The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a US federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. Qualified medical and family reasons include: personal or family illness, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption, or the foster care placement of a child. The FMLA was intended “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families.” The Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to the serious health condition of the employee, parent, spouse or child, or for pregnancy or care of a newborn child, or for adoption or foster care of a child.
The issue with the current FMLA is the fact that it doesn’t extend its’ benefits to employees that have experienced the death of a child.
Our friends at the Grieving Dad’s Project, are working hard to encourage congress to pass the Parental Bereavement Leave (The Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA).
“It is my strong opinion that the death of a child is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure. I find it unacceptable that the death of a child is not included as a protected reason to qualify for the benefits that are set forth in the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.” -Kelly Farley, Grieving Dad’s Project
Please click here to sign the petition to Congress to support the Parental Bereavement Leave Act as proposed in both the Senate and House that supports extension of coverage and existing benefits allowed by FMLA to employees that have experienced the death of a child.
Please sign the petition now and share with your family and friends. If you have a website please consider placing the petition widget on your website as well.
SIDS/Stillbirth Bill –
Rep. Lautenburg, NJ is sponsoring this bill. This bill requests money and cooperation to look at gathering data that promotes investigation into cause and prevention among other things. Visit www.firstcandle.org or www.stopstillbirthASAP.org for more information.
Stillbirth Certificate –
It began in Arizona and has swept the country after much work from bereaved parents, their supporters, and the MISS Foundation as well as other supportive organizations. A bill to give parents more than just a death certificate when their baby dies after 20 weeks gestation in the US.
Now 33 states have passed this bill, which grants parents the right to fill out a form (for a fee) which results in a state generated “Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth.” Much comfort has come from this for so many parents. In virtually all states it is retroactive.
To see which states have this law in place and which ones need more help from you and others…visit www.missingangelsbill.org
Some states like Missouri and Arizona also offer a State Tax exemption for families whose child died prior to birth (stillbirth). This MissingAngelsBill.org site does provide information on this initiative also.
Boycott of Mental Health Ruling by the American Psychiatric Association
The MISS Foundation has organized a boycott of the DSM5 (this is a Diagnostic Manual for clinicians - therapists, doctors, psychologists… to use in determining patients’ illnesses and prescribing treatment which can include anti-depression and other drugs). In the latest version they have categorized the symptoms of grief allowing clinitians to categorize symptoms longer than two weeks after a loss as mental illness.
Dr. Cacciatore writes in part, “We are saddened and disappointed by the recent announcement that the DSM-5 task force has finalized the decision to eliminate the bereavement exclusion from the Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis in the upcoming edition of the manual. This move will allow clinicians, including counselors, general physicians, social workers, and psychiatrists, to diagnose a major mental disorder in bereaved parents and other grieving individuals as early as two weeks following the death of a loved one should they meet the DSM-5’s criteria for depression. Importantly, many of you will recognize these criteria which include sadness, feelings of emptiness, crying, sleep and weight changes, guilt and regrets, and loss of interest or energy. Yet, all of these symptoms are quite common in grief, and particularly after the death of a baby or child which evokes enduring and intense reactions in parents…read the rest at here.
Please sign and share this petition to boycott the DSM5 for its position that significant grief symptoms, common amongst bereaved parents, beyond two weeks can be diagnosed as a mental illness. Sign the petition and share.
Save Lives - Count Movements
February 2013, See Me, Feel Me Campaign
This is a proactive campaign that goes beyond explaining that babies do NOT slow down before birth and teaching moms to take monitoring movements seriously. With references added, there are a number of potential baby and/or mommy risk factors that pregnant women may wish to know about. Obtain free brochures and 'Kick/Movement' Charts from Star Legacy,
February 2013, Kicks Count
This First Candle driven campaign is meant to arm pregnant mothers with information and a kick chart to count movement toward the end of pregnancy. The goal is to prevent stillbirth and raise awareness about the patterns of the baby.
February 2013 – One Kick, Two Kicks
Healthy Birthday.org has a cute Dr. Seuss style campaign to promote kick counting to help save babies.
Jean and Mike M.and Cecilia M. are parents who were told they could not have the remains of their babies after they miscarried early in pregnancy. All three fought to take their baby home to bury, were denied that right and chose to fight to change the system in their hospitals and in their entire state. Read more at:
Each year thousands of families experience miscarriages. How each one is handled in that facility is of lifelong impact. Over the years, and especially recently, it has come to light that parents are not being treated appropriately - this clearly is their baby and they have the legal rights to see, hold, name, authorize testing/autopsy, and take the body (even after a D & C) to bury or cremate - or they can choose not to do any of these things.
The parents are the executors of the body and the ultimate authority; the hospital is merely the custodian. They must ask for direction from the parents about what should be done, then they carry out the directions of the family/executors. This should be true in all hospitals unless there is a state law to the contrary (highly unlikely) or the parents/patient has signed away rights on the Admittance or Informed Consent Paperwork. These forms may say that you are authorizing the hospital to take control of all tissue. We encourage families to be very careful about what is signed.
Yet, this doesn't always happen in today's hospitals and clinics. And most patients don't even know their rights. Why would this occur? In a desire to protect the families, and maybe protect themselves as well, some staff take over the decision-making process. Or they assume that treating the miscarried remains like tissue instead of treating it as a baby, which is how most parents feel. Many staff have suggested that encouraging hospital disposition (sometimes group cremation or burial and sometimes incineration in the hospital furnace with other medical waste) will cause less pain and financial burden for parents. In fact, treating miscarried babies in this way tends to cause more pain for the majority of miscarriages.
For many reasons, parents may not be told exactly what will happen and/or staff doesn't feel comfortable fully informing families about their rights and what happens if the hospital takes charge of disposition. Lack of training and understanding is a part of the problem. These are caring people who wouldn't purposely harm someone, but they do need to learn how to better prepare parents and to care for them during such a traumatic time.
How can you help at this time?
1. Learn more about these two visible cases where parents' rights were violated. Find out what they did and are doing about it, including articles in the Chicago Tribune and Time Magazine and a visit to Good Morning America. Read more at:
2. Read materials on the subject to learn more about patient/parent rights after a miscarriage. Go to wintergreen press catalog page and the www.aplacetoremember.com as well as Amazon.com for books on this subject.
3. Hold an inservice on this topic in your local community or at your hospital. Visit the speaker's bureau at www.aplacetoremember.com or any of the other websites listed on our Link page if you need speakers.
4. On behalf of those parents who will have a miscarriage at your hospital, find out the policies and if needed offer to educate them by sharing websites, written materials and the stories of families such as the McGregors
and the Morrisseys.
5. Pray for the families who are in pain and hospital administrators and caregivers whose hearts and minds could be opened.