Miscarriage is an unfortunate and tragic event, and often, closure is needed through proper burial or cremation. Fortunately, Louisiana parents do have options, and the right to know them.
In 2016, Louisiana Right to Life worked with former Rep. Tom Wilmott and the Louisiana Legislature to pass the Compassionate Burial Options Act (HB 618). The bill protects the rights of parents and gives them the option to obtain the remains of their miscarried child in order to have a proper burial or cremation. This right allows parents to properly grieve the loss and can facilitate the healing process for their family.
Here is how it works:
- Prior to the final disposition of a miscarried child, but not more than 24 hours after the miscarriage occurs in a health facility, the facility must notify the patient (or if the patient is incapacitated, the spouse or legal guardian) both orally and in writing of the parent’s right to arrange for final disposition of the child. The facility must also notify the patient of the availability of a chaplain or other counseling services concerning the death of the child, if services are provided by the health facility.
- The health facility will provide the patient with the Notice of Parental Rights Form, which must be signed and returned to the health facility within 48 hours if the patient chooses to make arrangements for burial or cremation of the fetal remains through a licensed funeral home of the patient’s choice, at the patient’s expense. If the form is not signed and returned within 48 hours, the health facility will arrange for final disposition of the remains according to state law.
- If the patient signed the form and chose to make arrangements for burial or cremation, the health facility will notify the patient or a designee (which may be a funeral home) that the fetal remains may be obtained from the facility. If the patient or designee fails to pick up the remains within 72 hours from notification, the health facility will make final disposition of the remains according to state law.
Louisiana Right to Life hopes this law will provide you and others the opportunity to give your miscarried baby the respect he or she deserves. We have already seen hospitals approach miscarriages with additional sensitivity since the law passed, and we hope this trend continues. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our office.