New York law recognizes impact of pregnancy and infant loss

New York law recognizes impact of pregnancy and infant loss (Arina Krasnikova/Pexels)

(NYCF) On October 18, 2023, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Ava’s Law (Bill S.6082-A-Fernandez/A.5734-A-Pretlow), a bipartisan law that requires the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to create informational materials to help and support New Yorkers who have experienced the death of an unborn child or an infant.

Specifically, Ava’s Law directs NYSDOH to provide information to the public on “the potential mental and physical impact” caused by “pregnancy loss or infant loss”, as well as “resources for support and follow-up care.”

Ava’s Law defines “pregnancy loss or infant loss” to include stillbirths, miscarriages, and abortions performed for “medical reasons.”

According to the Governor’s Office, NYSDOH will make this information available on its maternal health website. Also, health care providers who treat women who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant loss will make printed or digital versions of this information available to their patients.

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“‘Far too many parents are forced to deal with the pain and trauma of losing a child to a miscarriage or stillbirth,’ Governor Hochul said. ‘When the worst occurs, it is imperative that we support the mental and physical health of women who are navigating this loss. With Ava’s Law, we can ensure [that] families have access to the support and resources they need as they recover.’”

Sen. Nathalia Fernandez, the Senate sponsor of Ava’s Law, said: “‘Ava’s Law underscores our commitment to accessible resources, ensuring affected individuals have access to vital services like mental health care, milk banks, gynecological support, and postpartum doula services.’”

“New York State Law now recognizes that women suffer loss when undergoing abortions due to medical complications, just as women suffer loss when they experience stillbirths or miscarriages,” said Jason J. McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. “Ava’s Law acknowledges this reality only in the context of abortions received for ‘medical reasons’ because pro-abortion supporters did not want to admit that elective abortions also involve loss of life. However, many New Yorkers will recognize that an abortion, whether for medical reasons or otherwise, is still the loss of a child. Parents may also experience grief following an abortion. It’s an incremental step in the fight for life, but it’s a step in the right direction."

"In a state like New York, any official recognition of in utero life is a win,” he concluded.

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New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks the Governor and the Legislature for enacting Ava’s Law and hopes that the information provided will help families that are struggling to deal with the devastating loss of a child.

Editor's note: This article was published by New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and is reprinted with permission.

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