A new bill proposed in Pennsylvania is looking to redefine when the death of a fetus takes place.
This bill has proposed death certificates and burials for fertilized eggs that didn't implant. In the state of Pennsylvania, fetal death is currently defined as the "expulsion or extraction of the product of conception" after 16 weeks of gestation. But with this new bill- known as the Pennsylvania Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act- that 16-week mark disappears, and therefore includes fertilized eggs in the same category.
It appears that this proposed bill would force doctors and healthcare providers to issue death certificates for both aborted and miscarried fetuses. As previously mentioned, it includes fertilized eggs that were unable to be implanted. They would also be buried or cremated. To put it simply, all fetuses will be defined as unborn children.
The big issue with this bill is that detection is incredibly difficult. Half of a woman's fertilized eggs will naturally implant inside one's uterus. The rest dissolve in the body and are then expelled during a woman's menstrual cycle. The only time a fertilized egg that didn't implant in the uterus is detectable is in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.
Moreover, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists calls non-implanted but fertilized eggs single-cell zygotes. They don't consider this a pregnancy until a fertilized egg is actually implanted in the uterus. It's only when it reaches the nine-week stage inside of the uterus will it finally be referred to as a fetus.
Christine Castro, a lawyer for Pennsylvania's Women’s Law Project, has described this bill as being similar to a "Russian doll". That's because "you have to keep unpacking it to see what’s really inside." She clearly feels that it's troubling.
"The bill is written in a misleading way. No, it does not explicitly mandate a death certificate (but) it explicitly mandates a burial permit, and you need a death certificate to obtain a burial permit," Castro added.
Needless to say, plenty of eyes will be on the state of Pennsylvania to see whether or not this proposed bill actually becomes law.