2018 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Chapter 8
Section 26:8-40.27 - Findings, declarations relative to stillbirths.

Section: 26:8-40.27: Findings, declarations relative to stillbirths.

1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Stillbirths are unintended fetal deaths and are traditionally identified as those which occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy or involve the unintended death of fetuses weighing 350 or more grams;

b. Approximately one in every 160 pregnancies in the United States ends in stillbirth each year, a rate which is high compared with other developed countries;

c. Families experiencing a stillbirth suffer severe anguish, and many health care facilities in the State do not adequately ensure that grieving families are treated with sensitivity and informed about what to expect when a stillbirth occurs, nor are families who have experienced a stillbirth always advised of the importance of an autopsy and thorough evaluation of the stillborn child;

d. While studies have identified many factors that may cause stillbirths, researchers still do not know the causes of a majority of stillbirths, in part due to a lack of uniform protocols for evaluating and classifying stillbirths, and to decreasing autopsy rates;

e. The State currently collects some data related to fetal deaths, but full autopsy and laboratory data related to stillbirths could be more consistently collected and more effectively used to better understand risk factors and causes of stillbirths, and thus more effectively inform strategies for their prevention; and

f. It is in the public interest to establish mandatory protocols for health care facilities in the State, so that each child who is stillborn and each family experiencing a stillbirth in the State is treated with dignity, each family experiencing a stillbirth receives appropriate follow-up care provided in a sensitive manner, and comprehensive data related to stillbirths are consistently collected by the State and made available to researchers seeking to prevent and reduce the incidence of stillbirths.

L.2013, c.217, s.1.

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