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SHARE Atlanta Information about Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS) LAW-

Erin Dickerson, SA mom and Lawyer, and Marcia McGinnis, SA mom and President and co-founder of SA,
teamed together to make this important bill happen in Georgia.

Heartfelt thanks to the families of SA, their friends and relatives who helped motivate 200 of our GA Legislators to vote "YES." Our thanks, too, to our incredible sponsors, Senator Dan Weber and Rep. Fran Millar and Rep. Wendell Willard for all they did to make the passage happen.

Govenor Perdue signing CBRS on May 29, 2008

lt to rt: Rep. Fran Millar, Tammy and Chris Campbell (SA parents), Gov. Sonny Perdue, Erin Dickerson with Sara Grace, Senator Dan Weber, and Marcia McGinnis

Printable GA CBRS Information Sheet by Marcia and Erin - What it is; How to receive it.

No Heartbeat Act/SB 381 - GA CBRS - Officially a LAW!!

Passed by over 200 Legislators!
Click on hearts for links to articles, etc...

Online link to AJC's and Morris News Agency's Article about CBRS

Printable GA CBRS Information Sheet by Marcia and Erin - What it is; How to receive it.

Please Note: Though the CBRS is now established by a law, the actual implementation of issuing the CBRS to those parents who request one must be completed by the State Office of Vital Records (OVR). Please be patient, this is a new law, and it may take time to fully establish the process for issuing the CBRS in the OVR.

CBRS Mini-Newsletter (4 pages)

Includes brief CBRS info., history of bill, pictures, "No Heartbeat" poem by Roger Deane, and implications for larger Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community by Marcia McGinnis

Some Information about CBRS..from the printable CBRS Information Sheet..

The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth:

The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS) is a memorial document that families who have experienced a stillborn (20 weeks or 350 grams) child can request. It recognizes the birth of their baby separate from their baby’s death. It provides a lasting document for recognition of a baby born still. It brings comfort, closure and healing to families.

Information (when available) included on the CBRS:

(1) Name (as provided by parent when requesting a CBRS or on the Fetal Death Record). If no name is provided, the Vital Records will fill in Baby Girl or Baby Boy and the last name of the parents.;

(2) Date and time of delivery;

(3) Gender;

(4) Place of delivery (hospital, county, etc.);

(5) Mother’s name and residence; Father’s name;

(6) The attendant at delivery;

(7) Gestational age and weight at delivery;

(8) Type of delivery (single, twin, triplet, etc.)

(9) “This certificate is not proof of live birth.”


The “No Heartbeat Act” Law Defines Stillbirth:

"Stillbirth" means an unintended, intrauterine fetal death after a gestational age of not less than 20 completed weeks, or of a fetus with a weight of 350 grams or more.

Requesting a CBRS:

Under the new law, the OVR will implement the issuance of the CBRS to parents who request one, and the cost will be $10.00. By law, the delivery hospital or delivery attendant (if birth occurs outside of hospital) shall advise the parent of a stillborn baby of their option to request a CBRS. Such requests must be initiated by phone, 404-679-4702, to the OVR. (As of 7.1.08, the OVR has not made this process available via the internet.) The OVR will then advise the person requesting the CBRS the procedure to follow. You may request a CBRS at any time after your loss.

It is required by law that the OVR issue the CBRS within 60 days after the request is made. As with a live birth certificate and a Fetal Death Certificate, no parent automatically receives the CBRS. 

GA State Vital Records: OR 404-679-4702 (Note: As of July 15, 2008, a phone call brings a response asking for a written note with this information: baby's name, mother's and father's name, date and place of birth plus a copy of ID certified check or money order for $10. Sara Jordan at the OVR has been a spokesperson for OVR.)

Requesting the Fetal Death Certificate:

The parent may request this from the State Office of Vital Records at any time for a cost of $10.00. Fetal Death Certificates-GA State Vital Records: 404-679-4702.

The Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth is not a Fetal Death Certificate: These are two separate documents.  According to Georgia law, every spontaneous fetal death irrespective of the duration of pregnancy must be reported within 72 hours after delivery. This Fetal Death Report is filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred, and becomes the Fetal Death Record.  Information for both the CBRS and the Fetal Death Certificate is generated from the Fetal Death Record. (O.C.GA. 31-10-18 see also 31-10-1)

CBRS Retroactive; Provided that there is a Fetal Death Record

To receive a CBRS, there has to be a Fetal Death Record that verifies the death of the baby. Historically, not all losses have been reported therefore they were not recorded. Reporting is more accurate today. The State Office of Vital Records maintains records dating back to 1919, provided that a Fetal Death Report was filed by the delivery hospital or by the delivery attendant at the time of death. (O.C. GA. 31-10-18)

Pdf Mini-Newsletters about CBRS, Precious Babies Born Still Scroll, and Related Information

CBRS Booklet (6 pages)

Includes CBRS info., longer history of bill, more pictures, and more implications for larger Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community by Marcia McGinnis

Pictures from the General Assembly and the Day of the Signing!! Erin's story about the signing ceremony.

"No Heartbeat" - Stillbirth Parent Booklet - Has No Heartbeat Poem by Roger Deane, Pictures, Poems, Stories about Parents in SHARE Atlanta who have experienced stillbirths

Precious Babies Born Still Scroll as of 4.4.08. These parents participated by calling/emailing their legislators - in memory of their precious babies. They were instrumental in causing the bill to pass.

No Heartbeat Act/SB 381 final copy

The Brief GA Story of and Significance of the CBRS

GA CBRS: Two SA moms; SA parents; friends, family, and GA legislators made it happen.

Marcia McGinnis, president and co-founder of SHARE Atlanta (SA) (a support group for those who have experienced pregnancy and newborn loss) and mom to Catherine, Elizabeth and Seth (all babies who died too soon), felt that Georgia needed the CBRS that 21 other states had embraced since 1999. To ease the process, she wanted to be able to have a draft of a bill ready to hand a would-be sponsor.

Erin Dickerson, after the stillbirth of James Lincoln, on March 30, 2004, expressed interest in a CBRS. In 2007, they researched what should be included in the bill. Then, Erin, a lawyer, drafted the bill. They brought the “No Heartbeat Act” to the 2008 GA General Assembly.

The title for the bill came from a poem, “No Heartbeat,” that Roger Deane, SA dad, had written in memory of Russell Joseph Deane, April 7, 1992. SA moms who helped us at specific times were: Reese Ritter (Dorothy Ellen stillborn ‘87), Tammy Campbell (Aidan stillborn 5.07) and Allie Brokoff (Ethan stillborn in 8.07), and Erin’s friend, Gail Kaley.

The No Heartbeat Act was sponsored by Marcia’s senator and representative: Sen. Dan Weber and Rep. Fran Millar. Marcia and Erin testified for several committees. When action was needed, over 400 emails were sent to families and friends who either are a part of SA or who knew the two women. We encouraged all to set a positive image of the Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community, as we worked to help others understand our issues. Their contacts to their legislators helped pass the bill. GA Legislators were very supportive.

On May 29, in the ceremonial office, Gov. Perdue expressed how pleased he was to sign this important No Heartbeat Act into law so families could have a CBRS. He asked the genesis of the bill, and we briefly told him its history. He spent about 10 minutes with us - a wonderful memory for us!

The Significance of the CBRS

The CBRS is a significant memorial document for closure and comfort. Parents have always had the option to receive a Fetal Death Certificate, but this document provides little comfort for most parents. The CBRS recognizes the birth of a baby and is an important option for healing.

The CBRS also supports the recognition of babies who died too soon.  Until recently, these babies were often denied recognition by their families and friends as well as by the medical community. Gradually, because of advocacy, medical support, and pregnancy and newborn loss grief support groups, a deceased baby's presence has become significant. Today, stillborn children are named and "parented" by their families because they have a place in the family. The family's grief is embraced.

This recognition will bring more understanding of the number of stillborns. Numbers help support the need for research to find reasons why babies die. We remember and honor a stillborn baby’s presence in our families through the CBRS and other loving ways to cherish them. By recognizing all babies, we open the door for ending the heartbreak of loss as answers are found and medical support happens. The CBRS is a significant step in that direction.

Newspaper Articles about GA's CBRS with Online Links

Monday, June 30, AJC has an article about the Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth which includes a picture of SA's Erin Dickerson

It is located on the front page of Section B - "Metro." I had asked Helena Oliviero who did the wonderful article about our Angel Garden in 2001 to do this article. We thank her for it! She did interview, Janice Daniels from Emory, because I suggested that because of advocacy and awareness and recognition there were programs being done for both emotional and medical support for those who experience the death of their baby. Emory's NIH Stillbirth Study is one such program. We have done a few inservices for this program as well as provide our 4 B's packets for parents in their program whose babies were stillborn.

Link to Online Morris News Article that was in numerous newspapers throughout GA (Marietta Daily Journal, Rome News Tribune, Savannah Now, etc and Jacksonville, FL's Time Union). This link includes a picture of Allie and her husband, Andrew. Jake, the newsman who wrote this had talked with Marcia and was at the signing at SA's invitation, but he neglected to include any of SA's information in his article! We hope that you will aid us in getting the word out! Thanks!

SA mom, Allie Brokoff, was interviewed. Their family lives in Richmond Hill. She was a supportive mom during the work for the CBRS! Here is a note from her...

Allie’s Note to Marcia—The Importance of the Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth: The work to achieve this law gave grieving parents a window to help others understand the importance of advocacy: Allie Brokoff (Ethan stillborn in 8.07) wrote:

“Thank you for everything that you did to get the bill passed.  I know that it was a lot of work and worry on your and Erin's part.  Everyone who experiences this heartache in Georgia in the future will now not have the added insult of finding out that to the state, their children didn't matter.  A friend asked me why I was so anxious over the passage of the bill because "it's just a piece of paper."  Thank you so much for recognizing that it is not just a piece of paper, and for making it a reality.  Thank you, too, for allowing me to be a part of the end process.  I felt like I was finally doing something, instead of just watching as events unfold.  The loss of control, of not being able to do anything, was extremely hard for me.  Thank you for letting me do something for Ethan, even if it was something so small as sending emails and calling some people.”  Sincerely, Allie (Allie was interviewed for the article by Morris News that was in several GA newspapers...

Free Adobe Reader for PDFs - Needed to see Booklets and Precious Babies' Born Still Scroll

Below are many of the Connections, Activities, etc that were needed
to make GA's CBRS happen...

The Making of a LAW January through April 2008

Everyone's Support is Needed to pass the No Heartbeat Act Please, always be kind and positive, you are setting a face and model for the Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community. We want our advocacy to be uplifting and informative. People listen better when they see a smile. Thank you...Together, we WILL make a difference!

Click hearts for 3 EASY STEPS TO SEND AN EMAIL to YOUR Legislator To SUPPORT THIS BILL - LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!! This will be needed several times during the months of January through April

Click here to SEE Rep. Willard introduce SB 381/No Heartbeat Act to the House on Legislative Day 40 (the last day of the session). Listen to Rep. Fran Millar's uplifting and inspiring speech as well. He follows Rep. Willard.

Find Friday, April 4 (II) 2008 on calendar. Click on the (II). Click on Launch Application. Fast forward to Green numbering 4:17:20 OR go to the end and work back a little ways to SB 381 being introduced.

Click here to SEE Senator Weber introduce SB 381/No Heartbeat Act to the Senate.

Find Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008 on calendar. Click on the first session - 21 (I). Click on Launch Application. Fast forward to about 1:19 minutes and Senator Weber (blue suit) introduces our bill. "This is one of those bills that I think is a pleasure to introduce and a pleasure to vote for...It will provide for comfort for many families." Sen. Weber

Hear what he said. Watch the senators vote for SB 381 (48 to 0). It happened on 2.21.08 and was recorded on the General Assembly's video!

WHAT a CBRS is...

We are working hard to have a bill passed that would give parents who have experienced a stillbirth the option to request a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth or CBRS. Since 2001, the CBRS has been made available in 21 states. Georgia would be the 22nd state, and it is looking positive for this to happen. At present, parents may request a fetal death certificate. This is not the document that brings much comfort or closure...most parents do not wish it. The CBRS provides a parent recognition for their baby's birth, apart from their death. It is a positive, memorial in nature, document that can help parents to heal. We are pleased to have many parents in Georgia supporting this bill which we are calling the "No Heartbeat Act." Marcia McGinnis

Overall Process:

Erin and I have been working on this for over a year. It is a good bill because we took great care to study passed bills and craft this bill very carefully. We got our sponsors in November 2007 and began the law making process in January 2008. We have had positive and wonderful support with our sponsors (Senator Dan and Rep. Fran Millar) for the bill. Senator Weber, our main sponsor, has been highly focused!! It moves slowly at times and then speeds ahead. It has to move through both the Senate and the House. It moves through committees then finally voted on the floor of each body. The General Assembly ends sometime in April - depending on recesses, etc. We believe the bill will be passed in this General Assembly. We have a very good chance of that happening. So, all support is needed!!

Erin and I have and will testify in the various committee meetings. It is an interesting experience! We have received positive support for this bill from the Senators, Representatives and Legislative assistants. We educate as we move through the process. We do not take for granted any of what we have achieved. Lots of work to understand what is happening has come from us and those in the General Assembly.

Be Kind and Patient as You Open Doors for Understanding the Issues of the Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community.

This is a non-political or religious bill. It is memorial in nature and clearly for a birth that results in a baby born still. We are clear about these facts in whatever discussion we have. We don't assume that others should "just KNOW" what our issues and concerns are. We must educate and encourage them so they better understand what is needed. Before the death of our babies, most of us were "clueless," too. So, please be patient and kind as you advocate and make others aware of these facts that are important to you. Our emotions should include compassion and understanding for others...that is what we are asking of them.

CBRS Updates

Update 2.14.08: Bill passed Senate's Health and Human Resources Comm. ; Update 2.21.08 - Bill Passed 48-0 on Senate Floor; Update 3.27.08 - Passed in House Sub-Judiciary on 3.19.08; Update bill passed House Judiciary Committee on 3.20.08! Headed to House Rules on 3.31.08; Voted out of the House 42.08; Voted on the House Floor 4.4.08 YES!!!! Signed by Gov. Perdue May 12, 2008 then in ceremony on May 29, 2008

Final General Assembly summary of the process for the No Heartbeat Act

Links to on hearts

Draft of CBRS Bill was drafted by Erin after Erin and Marcia had researched the bills from the other 21 states. This bill most closely reflects Florida and SC's wording because the structure of their bills resemble GA's laws and their wording was very concise. This was approved by Senate's legal staff.

"No Heartbeat Act." as amended by Rep. Willard's House's Judiciary Committee 3.20.08. There were two minor word changes: State instead of county vital statistics office will be the place parents request from; and it is a "vital" record not a public. They also changed all of the "must" to "shall." We testified that day as well. We had been present the day before for the sub-judiciary meeting, but did not testify. It was passed out of that committee.

CBRS Senate Sponsors...Background and Who they are...Please read and contact them to thank them for sponsoring the No Heartbeat Act/Senate Bill 381.

No Heartbeat Act/Senate Bill 381's Primary Sponsors:

Primary Sponsor: Senator Dan Weber, District 40 - Dunwoody, GA
Senator Chip Rogers, District 21 - Woodstock, G
Senator Nancy Schaefer, District 50 - Turnerville, GA
Senator George Hooks, District 14 - Americus, GA
Senator Renee S. Unterman, District 45 - Buford, GA
Senator Tommie Williams, District 19 - Lyons, GA

Overview of CBRS Presented to House Judiciary Committee 3.08 almost identical to the one presentated to Senator Dan Weber, Rep. Fran Millar and Senate Committees as of 2.14.08 drawn up by Erin and Marcia

Marcia's Presentation for Senate/House Committees

Erin's Presentation and why she is active with this outreach. by Erin as of 1.08 - Given at Senate/House meetings

Stillbirth Parent Booklet about Parents who have experienced Stillbirth. This is major reason why Marcia is active with this outreach.

Questions-Email Erin or Marcia

Email Erin

Email Marcia

Scroll of Precious Babies Born Still

We are composing a "Scroll of Precious Babies Born Still" to present to the Georgia Senate and House. If your baby was stillborn and you would like for your baby's name to be included please send Marcia these facts: Baby's Name, Date, Length of Gestation OR if you have a Georgian friend or family member who might wish to include their baby on this litany, please contact them and have this information sent to us. Thank you!

Email Marcia Baby's name, date, gestation, thank you!


1. Click on hearts...Find YOUR Representative - On the left hand column there are various ways for you to "find your representative." You will have to pick the one that is easiest for you. Click on their email address.

If you know your Reps name...go here for email, etc.

2. Cut and paste one of the 2 messages below into an email message. Senators, Representatives, and Legislative Assistants DO read these emails. Legislative Assistants take phone calls. Legislative Assistants DO relay this information to the senator or rep. Representatives and Senators DO want to know when a bill is supported by their constituents.


A "THANK YOU" Template or Phone Script from YOU, your Georgian FAMILY and FRIENDS

""Dear Senator/Representative {Your Senator/Representative's Last Name},
"I am a constituent from {TOWN or COUNTY}. Thank you for your consideration in voting yes on the "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381 when it comes to the {Committee/House/Senate Floor} this week. I am a {mother, father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, friend, cousin, etc.) (of a close friend, family member) who has experienced a stillbirth of (our, their) precious child, {Optional: BABY'S NAME and DATE}. This bill would bring (me, them, them and me) and many others much comfort and closure. Thank you for your support. Best Regards, {your name}"

A "THANK YOU" Template or Phone Script from YOU if you are a PROFESSIONAL or a SUPPORTER who wishes to support this bill

"Dear Senator/Representative {Your Senator/Representative's Last Name},
I am a constituent from {TOWN or COUNTY}. Thank you for your consideration in voting yes on the "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381 when it comes to the {Committee/House/Senate Floor} this week. I am a {nurse, social worker, clergy, Stephen's ministry, Hospice Atlanta, Supporter etc.) who supports this important bill. {Its passage will mean a great deal to me because of the work I do with parents who have experienced a stillbirth.} This bill would bring much comfort and closure to the many (1100 each year) Georgian families who have experienced the tragic loss of their baby due to stillbirth. Thank you for your support.
Best Regards, {your name}"

Fill the template in with YOUR name and correct information. Place this in the Subject Line: "Yes"- "No Heartbeat Act"/SB 381

IF you wish, add a positive sentence using your baby's name or a quick uplifting personal thought about what this will mean to you or why.

If your Senator/Representative is a Sponsor or is on a Committee that Bill 381 is in: Please thank him/her for this as well. {Thank you for (sponsoring, voting for) SB 381. I appreciate this very much.)

Please be brief, we want them to read the notes. Our goal is to express our appreciation and our desire for this bill to be passed.

PUSH the SEND button.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THIS BILL!! Together we are making a difference!

Every Senator/Representative Will Vote:

Every legislator will vote for the "No Heartbeat Act"-Senate Bill 381 when it goes to the Senate/House Floor. They need to know that we wish this to become a law...a reality in Georgia! Our numbers alone will help them understand the importance of this bill and the CBRS for the families in Georgia.


So, please watch your email EVERY DAY. We will be sending out Updates "No Heartbeat"/Senate Bill 381. When "URGENT CBRS" comes to your email box, please consider doing what we are asking for that day.

Session Meets in Feb., March and April:

This is a time sensitive manner: February, March and April of 2008 is when Georgia's Session will be determining if Georgia's families will have the CBRS. Please help make this happen. This is one of many causes and advocacy issues that will make a difference for our families.

Advocate in a Positive Manner:

Doing our "homework" to make this bill happen, WILL be important for it TO happen. At all times, we want to set a "positive and kind" image of our Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community. We are advocates for many and we are helping others understand and appreciate our issues and needs.

Staying Connected:

Please let us know if you would like to help us with some of the details of what we are doing...thank you! Also, it would be helpful if you will share with us any responses you might feel would help us with what we are all trying to achieve.

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